Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of engineering, physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the design, production, and operation of machines and tools. It is one of the oldest and broadest engineering disciplines.
Mechanics - The study of forces and their effect upon matter. Typically, engineering mechanics is used to analyze and predict the acceleration and deformation (both elastic and plastic) of objects under known forces (also called loads) or stresses. Several of these subdisciplines which are typically taught at the undergraduate level are listed below.
Subdisciplines of mechanics include
- Statics and Dynamics (or kinetics), the study of non-moving bodies under known loads, how forces affect static bodies. The study of how forces affect moving bodies.
- Mechanics of Materials, the study which deals with the behavior of solid objects subject to stresses and strains. The complete theory began with the consideration of the behavior of one and two dimensional members of structures, whose states of stress can be approximated as two dimensional, and was then generalized to three dimensions to develop a more complete theory of the elastic and plastic behavior of materials.
- Fluid Mechanics, the study of how fluids react to forces.
- Kinematics, the study of the motion of bodies (objects) and systems (groups of objects), while ignoring the forces that cause the motion. Kinematics is often used in the design and analysis of mechanisms.
- Continuum Mechanics, a method of applying mechanics that assumes that objects are continuous (rather than discrete).
Mechatronics - An interdisciplinary branch of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and software engineering that is concerned with integrating electrical and mechanical engineering to create hybrid systems.
Robotics - The application of mechatronics to create robots, which are often used in industry to perform tasks that are dangerous, unpleasant, or repetitive.
Thermodynamics - An applied science used in several branches of engineering, including mechanical and chemical engineering. At its simplest, thermodynamics is the study of energy, its use and transformation through a system. Typically, engineering thermodynamics is concerned with changing energy from one form to another.
Drafting & Design - Drafting or technical drawing is the means by which mechanical engineers design products and create instructions for manufacturing parts. A technical drawing can be a computer model or hand-drawn schematic showing all the dimensions necessary to manufacture a part, as well as assembly notes, a list of required materials, and other pertinent information. A U.S. mechanical engineer or skilled worker who creates technical drawings may be referred to as a drafter or draftsman.