Mechanical Engineering is an engineering discipline that involves the application of principles of physics for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It requires a solid understanding of key concepts including mechanics, kinematics, thermodynamics and energy. Mechanical engineers use these principles and others in the design and analysis of automobiles, aircraft, heating & cooling systems, watercraft, manufacturing plants, industrial equipment and machinery, medical devices and more.
Mechanical engineering could be found in many ancient and medieval societies throughout the globe. In ancient Greece, the works of Archimedes (287 BC-212 BC), and Heron of Alexandria (10-70 AD) deeply influenced mechanics in the Western tradition. In ancient China, there were also many notable figures, such as Zhang Heng (78-139 AD) and Ma Jun (200-265 AD). The medieval Chinese horologist and engineer Su Song (1020-1101 AD) incorporated an escapement mechanism into his astronomical clock tower two centuries before any escapement could be found in clocks of medieval Europe, as well as the world's first known endless power-transmitting chain drive.
During the early 19th century in Britain mechanical engineering developed as a separate field to provide manufacturing machines and the engines to power them. The first British professional society of civil engineers was formed in 1818; that for mechanical engineers followed in 1847. In the United States, the first mechanical engineering professional society was formed in 1880, making it the third oldest type of engineering behind civil (1852) and mining & metallurgical (1871). "The first schools in the United States to offer an engineering education were the United States Military Academy in 1817, an institution now known as Norwich University in 1819, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1825. An engineering education is based on a strong foundation in mathematics and science; this is followed by courses emphasizing the application of this knowledge to a specific field and studies in the social sciences and humanities to give the engineer a broader education.
Electromechanical Engineering is an¬ integration of mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering. It lays emphasis on the use of advanced electronics technology and computers in product design and manufacturing such as computer-aided design (CAD), computer aided manufacturing (CAM), computer aided process planning (CAPP), flexible manufacturingsystem (FMS), computer integrated manufacturing system (CIMS), materials requirement planning (MRP) and management information system (MIS).
These technologies form a new discipline called Mechatronics. The degree offers education and training which would enable the graduates to work in product design, manufacturing, process control and automation, quality assurance and control, production systems, planning and control. Graduates can engage in service and maintenance for transportation and building industry as well as in sales, marketing and management.
Bachelor of Engineering or Science degree in Mechanical Engineering is offered at many universities in the United States, and similar programs are offered at universities in most countries.
In Canada, India, Japan, Pakistan, South Korea, Taiwan, U.S., and a number of African countries, Mechanical Engineering programs typically take 4 to 5 years and result in a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSc)or a Bachelor of Technology (BTech), Bachelor in Engineering (B.E or BEng), or a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.).
In Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary and many other central and east European countries (Romania, Serbia, Croatia, etc) the (BSc) and (BTech) are available as an intermediate (or final) 4 years degree, however the 5-6 years "Diplomas";(Dipl), (Dipl-Ing), (Dipl-Tech); are still the most relevant degrees.
Some countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and Nigeria offer a 4 or 5 year Bachelor of Science (BSc) / Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) degree with Honors (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering. In Spain, Portugal and most South America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Venezuela, among others) the (BSc) or (BTech) programs have not been adopted, the formal name for the degree is just "Mechanical Engineer" and the course work is based on a 5-6 years training. In Australia and New Zealand, requirements are typically a 4 years Bachelor of Engineering (BE or BEng) degree, equivalent to the British MEng level. A BEng degree differ from a BSc degree in that the students obtain a broader education consisting of information relevant to various engineering disciplines.
Most undergraduate Mechanical Engineering programs in the U.S. are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) to ensure similar course requirements and standards between universities.
Some Mechanical Engineers go on to pursue a postgraduate degree such as a Master of Engineering, Master of Science, Master of Engineering Management (MEng.Mgt, MEM), a Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (EngD, PhD) or an Engineer's degree. The Master's and Engineer's degrees may consist of either research, coursework or a mixture of the two. The Doctor of Philosophy consists of a significant research component and is often viewed as the entry point to academia.
Mechanical engineering programs generally cover the same fundamental subjects. Universities in the United States offering ABET-accredited programs in mechanical engineering are required to show their students can "work professionally in both thermal and mechanical systems areas." This is to ensure a minimum level of competence among graduating engineers and to inspire confidence in the engineering profession as a whole. The specific courses required to graduate, however, may differ from program to program. Universities will often combine multiple subjects into a single class or split a subject into multiple classes, depending on the faculty available and the University's major area(s) of research. Fundamental subjects of mechanical engineering include:
* statics & dynamics
* strength of materials & solid mechanics,
* instrumentation and measurement,
* thermodynamics, heat transfer, energy conversion, and refrigeration / air conditioning,
* fluid mechanics/fluid dynamics,
* mechanism design (including kinematics and dynamics),
* manufacturing technology or processes,
* hydraulics & pneumatics,
* engineering design,
* mechatronics and/or control theory,
* drafting, CAD (usually including Solid modeling), and CAM.
Mechanical engineers are also expected to understand and be able to apply basic concepts from chemistry, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering, and physics. Most mechanical engineering programs include several semesters of calculus, as well as advanced mathematical concepts which may include differential equations and partial differential equations, linear and modern algebra, and differential geometry, among others.
In addition to the core mechanical engineering curriculum, many mechanical engineering programs offer more specialized programs and classes, such as mechatronics / robotics, transport and logistics, cryogenics, fuel technology, automotive engineering, biomechanics, vibration, optics and others, if a separate department does not exist for these subjects.
Most mechanical engineering programs also require varying amounts of research or community projects to gain practical problem-solving experience. Mechanical engineering students usually hold one or more internships while studying, though this is not typically mandated by the university.
Engineers may seek license by a state, provincial, or national government. The purpose of this process is to ensure that engineers possess the necessary technical knowledge, real-world experience, and knowledge of the local legal system to practice engineering at a professional level. Once certified, the engineer is given the title of Professional Engineer (in the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea and South Africa), Chartered Engineer (in the UK, Ireland, India and Zimbabwe), Chartered Professional Engineer (in Australia and New Zealand) or European Engineer (much of the European Union). Not all mechanical engineers choose to become licensed; those that do can be distinguished as Chartered or Professional Engineers by the post-nominal title P.E., P. Eng., or C.Eng., as in: Ryan Jones, P.Eng.
In the U.S., to become a licensed Professional Engineer, an Engineer must pass the comprehensive FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) exam, work a given number of years as an Engineering Intern (EI) or Engineer-in-Training (EIT),¬ pass the Principles and Practice or PE (Practicing Engineer or Professional Engineer) exam.
In the United States, the requirements and steps of this process are set forth by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), website, a national non-profit representing all states. In the UK, current graduates require a MSc, MEng or BEng (Hons) in order to become chartered through the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
"In most modern countries, certain engineering tasks, such as the design of bridges, electric power plants, and chemical plants, must be approved by a Professional Engineer or a Chartered Engineer." In the USA and Canada, only a licensed engineer may seal engineering work for public and private clients.". This requirement is written into state and provincial legislation, such as Quebec's Engineer Act. In other countries, such as Australia, no such legislation exists; however, practically all certifying bodies maintain a code of ethics independent of legislation that they expect all members to abide by or risk expulsion.