What Does a Mechanical Engineer Do

From inventing the wheel to perfecting flight, mechanical engineering has been responsible for major inventions that have shaped the world as we know it. 

Mechanical engineering revolves around motion and energy transfer and uses mathematics, science, and technology to solve real world problems. 

Read on to find out more about what mechanical engineers do.

What is mechanical engineering?

Mechanical engineers investigate how things move, work, and interact with each other. Mechanical engineers design machines and systems with moving parts that start, stop, transfer, sustain, and dissipate movement or energy. 

Mechanical engineers are integral to industries such as automotives, aeronautics, mechatronics, robotics, and electrotechnics. 

What do mechanical engineers design and build?

Mechanical engineers design products that make our lives easier, safer, more efficient, and more enjoyable.

Throughout history mechanical engineers have been responsible for developing new and inventive modes of human transport, from bicycles to space rockets. Some mechanical engineers design equipment used in manufacturing, while others focus on building bridges and skyscrapers. 

Mechanical engineers design and construct devices which could be as giant as a cruise ship, or as tiny as a pocket watch (or even smaller). They might also use mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology to understand how these devices function. 

What tools do mechanical engineers use to do their job?

In order for mechanical engineers to understand how things move and interact with each other, they also need to be able to visualise what will happen when something moves. Back in the day, they drew their visualisations by hand, assisted by special drawing instruments and large drawing boards. 

Today, all they need is a simple laptop and an internet connection to work from site, home, or even on holiday. Advanced 3D modelling software allows mechanical engineers to create virtual models of the components or devices they are designing. This allows them to test the efficiency of their designs before they are constructed and reduces the margin for error. In the past, designing new equipment and systems often required engineers to develop prototypes multiple times before the final version. In today’s world, this is no longer necessary.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a tool used by mechanical engineers to model the mechanical systems and energy transfers in a building. 

How has mechanical engineering shaped our world?

Many of the machines that support the lifestyles we enjoy today, would not be possible without mechanical engineering. Mechanical engineering is responsible for some of the greatest inventions in human history that have changed the way we live our lives. Some examples include:

  • Wheel and axle
  • Steam turbine
  • Windmill
  • Printing press
  • Flight
  • Locomotives (trains)
  • Gas engine
  • Diesel engine
  • Electrical motor

How will mechanical engineering influence our future?

As important mechanical inventions have changed the way people have lived and moved throughout history, it is likely that similar shifts will take place in the future. 

Some trends which will influence mechanical engineering in the future include: artificial intelligence and machine learning, internet of things, green technologies, and electric vehicles.

At Lithon, we’re excited to see how mechanical engineering is going to support and shape the future, and we’re grateful to be a part of making that happen.

Find out more about Lithon’s mechanical engineering services: info@lithon.com