A Brief Definition
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that requires the application of physics analysis, manufacturing, maintenance, and design of mechanical systems. Education in this field basically allows you to have a substantially firm understanding of the core concepts of kinematics, mechanics, thermodynamics, energy, and fluid mechanics.
Typical Tasks of a Mechanical Engineer
There are a lot of things that mechanical engineers do. Below is a list of some of their various major tasks:
- The design and analysis of vehicles such as planes, boats, cars, and rocket-propelled crafts.
- Analysis and design of robotics for industrial equipment and machinery usage (manufacturing plants).
- Analysis and design of heating and cooling systems (refrigeration, air-conditioning, water heating, etc.).
- Analysis and design of medical devices.
- Analysis and design of construction tools and related devices.
- Research and development of engines, electric generators, and other power-production mechanisms.
- Through the use of computers, mechanical engineers design and develop products with the help of simulations and software applications like CAD (Computer-Aided Design) and CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing).
A mechanical engineer's work depends upon the kind of industry that one is situated in. There are many industries that increasingly look towards mechanical engineers for the success of their company. Here are some examples of industries that need specialists like mechanical engineers: Energy Systems, Applied Mechanics, Manufacturing, Automotive Design and Maintenance, Plant Engineering Design and Maintenance, and Agriculture.
As of 2002, over 215,000 mechanical engineers were estimated to have stable jobs. Half of these were situated in manufacturing jobs such as computers, electronic products, transportation equipment, fabricated metal products, and other machinery work. The other half was employed in the architectural, constructional, and government-related engineering industries.
The average annual salaries of mechanical engineers have been estimated as nearing $70,000. The lowest earnings were reported to be nearly $40,000 and the highest around $80,000. The highest earnings seem to have been in the government-related industries and the lowest in the General Purpose Machinery Industry and Manufacturing.
Although it's projected that the job growth for the usual industries of manufacturing and machinery will slightly decrease, it's estimated that new job opportunities will increase for mechanical engineers towards the years leading up to 2012. With Barack Obama's proposed Green Economy Plan, industries that focus on fields such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, and materials science will contribute to the job growth.