Mechanical engineering is one of the oldest branches of engineering. It is also referred to as the ‘mother’ branch of engineering.
Another appealing feature of mechanical engineering is that the application base of this field of study is extremely broad and diverse. Almost all inventions during the ancient period and a vast majority in the modern era are direct contributions of one or the other application of mechanics
Mechanical engineering is a diverse subject that derives its breadth from the need to design and manufacture everything from small individual parts and devices (e.g., microscale sensors and inkjet printer nozzles) to large systems (e.g., spacecraft and machine tools). The role of a mechanical engineer is to take a product from an idea to the marketplace. In order to accomplish this, a broad range of skills are needed. The mechanical engineer needs to acquire particular skills and knowledge. He/she needs to understand the forces and the thermal environment that a product, its parts, or its subsystems will encounter; to design them for functionality, aesthetics, and the ability to withstand the forces and the thermal environment they will be subjected to; and to determine the best way to manufacture them and ensure they will operate without failure. Perhaps the one skill that is the mechanical engineer’s exclusive domain is the ability to analyze and design objects and systems with motion.
To put it simply, mechanical engineering deals with anything that moves, including the human body, a very complex machine. Mechanical engineers learn about materials, solid and fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, heat transfer, control, instrumentation, design, and manufacturing to understand mechanical systems. Specialized mechanical engineering subjects include biomechanics, cartilage-tissue engineering, energy conversion, laser-assisted materials processing, combustion, MEMS, microfluidic devices, fracture mechanics, nanomechanics, mechanisms, micropower generation, tribology (friction and wear), and vibrations
Since mechanical engineering is the broadest of all engineering fields, the job prospects on offer for skilled mechanical engineers are aplenty and unending. Mechanical engineers are required to design, test, manufacture, install, operate and maintain a wide array of machines and mechanical systems that are used in countless industries. These professionals can find employment both in the government and private sector undertakings.
Major industries that employ mechanical engineers include automobiles, space research, aeronautical, energy and utilities, air conditioning, bio-mechanical industry. Other major employers include giant manufacturing plants, air conditioning and refrigeration industry, turbine manufacturing plants, oil and gas exploration and refining industries and the agricultural sector.
In the government sector, mechanical engineers can provide their knowledge to various government run projects in the role of technical experts and consultants. They can also work in private engineering companies that provide technical consultancy to both government and corporate firms.