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During the 17th century, important breakthroughs in the foundations of mechanical engineering occurred in England. Newton was reluctant to publish his works for years, but he was finally persuaded to do so by his colleagues, such as Sir Edmond Halley , much to the benefit of all mankind.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz is also credited with creating Calculus during this time period. During the early 19th century industrial revolution, machine tools were developed in England, Germany , and Scotland. This allowed mechanical engineering to develop as a separate field within engineering. They brought with them manufacturing machines and the engines to power them. Education in mechanical engineering has historically been based on a strong foundation in mathematics and science. Degrees in mechanical engineering are offered at various universities worldwide.
Mechanical engineering programs typically take four to five years of study and result in a Bachelor of Engineering B. In Italy the course work is based on five years of education, and training, but in order to qualify as an Engineer one has to pass a state exam at the end of the course. In Greece, the coursework is based on a five-year curriculum and the requirement of a 'Diploma' Thesis, which upon completion a 'Diploma' is awarded rather than a B. In the United States, most undergraduate mechanical engineering programs are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology ABET to ensure similar course requirements and standards among universities.
In Australia , mechanical engineering degrees are awarded as Bachelor of Engineering Mechanical or similar nomenclature, although there are an increasing number of specialisations. The degree takes four years of full-time study to achieve. To ensure quality in engineering degrees, Engineers Australia accredits engineering degrees awarded by Australian universities in accordance with the global Washington Accord.
Before the degree can be awarded, the student must complete at least 3 months of on the job work experience in an engineering firm. In India, to become an engineer, one needs to have an engineering degree like a B. Tech or B. A similar system is used in Nepal. The master's and engineer's degrees may or may not include research. The Doctor of Philosophy includes a significant research component and is often viewed as the entry point to academia. Standards set by each country's accreditation society are intended to provide uniformity in fundamental subject material, promote competence among graduating engineers, and to maintain confidence in the engineering profession as a whole.
Engineering programs in the U. Universities and Institutes of technology 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. Mechanical engineers are also expected to understand and be able to apply basic concepts from chemistry, physics, tribology , chemical engineering , civil engineering , and electrical engineering. All mechanical engineering programs include multiple semesters of mathematical classes including calculus , and advanced mathematical concepts including differential equations , partial differential equations , linear algebra , abstract 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 control systems , 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. In the United States it is common for mechanical engineering students to complete one or more internships while studying, though this is not typically mandated by the university. Cooperative education is another option. Future work skills  research puts demand on study components that feed student's creativity and innovation. Mechanical engineers research, design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal devices, including tools, engines, and machines.
Mechanical engineers design and oversee the manufacturing of many products ranging from medical devices to new batteries. They also design power-producing machines such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines as well as power-using machines, such as refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. Like other engineers, mechanical engineers use computers to help create and analyze designs, run simulations and test how a machine is likely to work.
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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. In the U. The requirements and steps of this process are set forth by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying NCEES , a composed of engineering and land surveying licensing boards representing all U.
In the UK, current graduates require a BEng plus an appropriate master's degree or an integrated MEng degree, a minimum of 4 years post graduate on the job competency development and a peer reviewed project report to become a Chartered Mechanical Engineer CEng, MIMechE through the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. In most developed 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 other countries, such as Australia, and the UK, 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.
The total number of engineers employed in the U. Of these, , were mechanical engineers The field of mechanical engineering can be thought of as a collection of many mechanical engineering science disciplines. Several of these subdisciplines which are typically taught at the undergraduate level are listed below, with a brief explanation and the most common application of each. Some of these subdisciplines are unique to mechanical engineering, while others are a combination of mechanical engineering and one or more other disciplines.
Most work that a mechanical engineer does uses skills and techniques from several of these subdisciplines, as well as specialized subdisciplines.
Specialized subdisciplines, as used in this article, are more likely to be the subject of graduate studies or on-the-job training than undergraduate research. Several specialized subdisciplines are discussed in this section. Mechanics is, in the most general sense, 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.
Subdisciplines of mechanics include. Mechanical engineers typically use mechanics in the design or analysis phases of engineering. If the engineering project were the design of a vehicle, statics might be employed to design the frame of the vehicle, in order to evaluate where the stresses will be most intense. Dynamics might be used when designing the car's engine, to evaluate the forces in the pistons and cams as the engine cycles. Mechanics of materials might be used to choose appropriate materials for the frame and engine.
Fluid mechanics might be used to design a ventilation system for the vehicle see HVAC , or to design the intake system for the engine. Mechatronics is a combination of mechanics and electronics. It is an interdisciplinary branch of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and software engineering that is concerned with integrating electrical and mechanical engineering to create hybrid systems.
In this way, machines can be automated through the use of electric motors , servo-mechanisms , and other electrical systems in conjunction with special software. Mechanical systems open and close the drive, spin the CD and move the laser, while an optical system reads the data on the CD and converts it to bits. Integrated software controls the process and communicates the contents of the CD to the computer.
Robotics is the application of mechatronics to create robots, which are often used in industry to perform tasks that are dangerous, unpleasant, or repetitive. These robots may be of any shape and size, but all are preprogrammed and interact physically with the world. To create a robot, an engineer typically employs kinematics to determine the robot's range of motion and mechanics to determine the stresses within the robot.
Robots are used extensively in industrial engineering. They allow businesses to save money on labor, perform tasks that are either too dangerous or too precise for humans to perform them economically, and to ensure better quality. Many companies employ assembly lines of robots, especially in Automotive Industries and some factories are so robotized that they can run by themselves. Outside the factory, robots have been employed in bomb disposal, space exploration , and many other fields.
Robots are also sold for various residential applications, from recreation to domestic applications. Structural analysis is the branch of mechanical engineering and also civil engineering devoted to examining why and how objects fail and to fix the objects and their performance. Structural failures occur in two general modes: static failure, and fatigue failure. Static structural failure occurs when, upon being loaded having a force applied the object being analyzed either breaks or is deformed plastically , depending on the criterion for failure.
Fatigue failure occurs when an object fails after a number of repeated loading and unloading cycles.
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Fatigue failure occurs because of imperfections in the object: a microscopic crack on the surface of the object, for instance, will grow slightly with each cycle propagation until the crack is large enough to cause ultimate failure. Failure is not simply defined as when a part breaks, however; it is defined as when a part does not operate as intended. Some systems, such as the perforated top sections of some plastic bags, are designed to break. If these systems do not break, failure analysis might be employed to determine the cause.
Structural analysis is often used by mechanical engineers after a failure has occurred, or when designing to prevent failure. Engineers often use online documents and books such as those published by ASM  to aid them in determining the type of failure and possible causes. Once theory is applied to a mechanical design, physical testing is often performed to verify calculated results.
Structural analysis may be used in an office when designing parts, in the field to analyze failed parts, or in laboratories where parts might undergo controlled failure tests. Thermodynamics is 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.
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As an example, automotive engines convert chemical energy enthalpy from the fuel into heat, and then into mechanical work that eventually turns the wheels. Thermodynamics principles are used by mechanical engineers in the fields of heat transfer , thermofluids , and energy conversion. Mechanical engineers use thermo-science to design engines and power plants , heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning HVAC systems, heat exchangers , heat sinks , radiators , refrigeration , insulation , and others.
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.
Drafting has historically been a two-dimensional process, but computer-aided design CAD programs now allow the designer to create in three dimensions. Optionally, an engineer may also manually manufacture a part using the technical drawings. However, with the advent of computer numerically controlled CNC manufacturing, parts can now be fabricated without the need for constant technician input. Manually manufactured parts generally consist spray coatings , surface finishes, and other processes that cannot economically or practically be done by a machine.
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Drafting is used in nearly every subdiscipline of mechanical engineering, and by many other branches of engineering and architecture. Many mechanical engineering companies, especially those in industrialized nations, have begun to incorporate computer-aided engineering CAE programs into their existing design and analysis processes, including 2D and 3D solid modeling computer-aided design CAD.
This method has many benefits, including easier and more exhaustive visualization of products, the ability to create virtual assemblies of parts, and the ease of use in designing mating interfaces and tolerances. Other CAE programs commonly used by mechanical engineers include product lifecycle management PLM tools and analysis tools used to perform complex simulations.
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