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what is mechanical engineering

What Is Mechanical Engineering?

What is mechanical engineering? Mechanical engineering is the use of engineering principles and problem-solving techniques to design, manufacture, test, market, etc. any product or object. But this definition of mechanical engineering doesn’t fully encompass just how much a mechanical engineer can do.

They use the principles of physics, motion, energy, and force, to design a safe and reliable product with optimal performance. Mechanical engineering spans a wide range of industries and is responsible for the way our society currently operates.

Why Mechanical Engineering Is Important

If you’re wondering why mechanical engineering is important, the role of mechanical engineers is extensive. Mechanical engineers contribute to every industry you can think of — automotive, aerospace, transportation, medical, energy, environmental, and much much more.

The work of mechanical engineers can be found in almost every aspect of our daily lives, from the toaster you used for breakfast to the car you drive to work in. Overall, the mechanical engineering importance cannot be overstated, and their skills can benefit almost any company or project.

Mechanical Engineering Branches

Because there are so many different applications, there is a wide array of different types of mechanical engineering that people choose to study and work in, including automotive, nautical, HVAC, and more.

#1 Power Plant Engineering

Every operation or system uses energy and power, which can be found in power plants. There are different types of power plants, such as hydropower plants, nuclear power plants, thermal power plants, and more. This branch of engineering often utilizes the principles of thermodynamics and equipment like boilers and alternators. 

#2 Automotive Engineering

what do mechanical engineers do

One of the most popular mechanical engineering fields, automotive engineering has been around for decades and deals with vehicles for the road rather than air or sea. It also has several sub-disciplines like design engineering, safety engineering, and so on — so mechanical engineers handle the whole process, from design to manufacturing to testing.

#3 Computer-Aided Engineering CAE

One of the most important facts about mechanical engineering is how much it utilizes CAD or Computer Aided Design. Computer-aided engineering utilizes computers and software like Solidworks and Creo to create complex designs and run simulations of different machines and mechanisms. CAD is used in everything from architecture to vehicle design.

#4 HVAC Engineering

An overview of mechanical engineering cannot be complete without mentioning HVAC engineering. This branch focuses on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning in indoor spaces. It utilizes thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, physics, and other fields of study. Without HVAC engineers, we would all be freezing in the winter and sweltering in the summer.

#5 Aerospace Engineering

One of the most popular mechanical engineering branches is aerospace, which focuses on anything flying through the sky or space. The former is aeronautical engineering which deals with airplanes, while the latter is astronautical engineering which designs and manufactures spacecraft. Aerospace engineering is often classified as a separate discipline, but in reality, it finds its basis in mechanical engineering.

#6 Nautical Engineering

definition of mechanical engineering

Of the many applications of mechanical engineering, nautical engineering is one of the longest-running, as this discipline deals with propulsion and motors, and other machinery on ships. This machinery could include pumps, purifiers, auxiliary generators, boilers, and main propulsion plants.

#7 Mechatronics

Mechatronics is a relatively new branch of mechanical engineering. It is a combination of mechanical, electronic, and computer engineering and is often called a hybrid because of how many fields it falls under. Its primary goal is simple — to create smart, better systems. Some examples of mechatronics are robots, self-adaptive tools, automated vehicles, digitally controlled engines, and more. 

#8 Fire Protection Engineering

Fire protection engineering (link to fire protection page) is a branch defined by the SFPE (Society of Fire Protection Engineers) as the use of engineering and science principles to keep people and the environment safe from the destruction of fires. Fire protection engineers analyze potential hazards and mitigate fire damage through carefully constructed design. Some examples include sprinkler systems, fire suppression systems, fire doors, etc.

What Do Mechanical Engineers Do?

What do mechanical engineers do? As we have mentioned above, there are so many mechanical engineering examples to choose from. From automotive and aerospace to fire protection and nautical engineering, mechanical engineer responsibilities span a wide range. 

What problems do mechanical engineers solve? They leverage their creativity, accumulated knowledge, and problem-solving skills to find innovative solutions to real-world problems — whether that be a new and improved engine for a car or an automated robot, or a sprinkler system.

The Future of Mechanical Engineering

We never really know exactly where innovation will take us, but certain fields are gaining demand. 

Biomedicine and nanotechnology are both up-and-coming disciplines that incorporate the skills and knowledge of mechanical engineers. Combining the principles of physics, biology, and engineering, the nature of medicine in the future will be directly impacted by mechanical engineering. 

Mechanical engineering will also most likely go in the direction of electronics and mechatronics. Working with electrical engineers, mechanical engineers will play a major role in the advancement of many technologies.


With all of this information about mechanical engineering, it’s clear that they play a vital role in our everyday lives, and their skills and expertise can be utilized in many fields. If you’re looking for a team of experienced mechanical engineers, contact us at MNA Quality Consulting to speak with one of our engineers!

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