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Name: Ng
Status: Student
Age: 18
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A


Question:
I would like to know whether mechanical engineering is only mainly about engines ?

I am interested in physics but i am not sure whether to pursue my studies in mechaniocal or electrical engineering. Could you tell me about both the courses and some guidelines to me so that I am able to make a decision?



Replies:
I can assure you that mechanical engineering is much more than just engines.

I have been a mechanical engineer for about 10 years now, and I have yet to design an engine. I have, however, been involved with design of mechanical components, worked with CAD and finite element analysis software for design and heat transfer problems, and I have design and implemented data acquisition programs just to name a couple of high lights. If you were to go into mechanical engineering, you would be introduced to a broad range of subjects including design, mechanics of materials, fluid flow, heat transfer, thermodynamics, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), computer programming, control systems, and engineering economy. From that point it would be up to you to "concentrate" in an area, but you are by no means bound to it. For instance, I started in fluid mechanics when I got out of school, but now I do mainly design and data acquisition for research purposes. The job I had before this, I used finite element analysis for verification of designs along with building of components for testing of the models.

So, you can see that there is a wide range of options available. I think you will also find this the case in electrical engineering as well. But, it will ultimately be up to you to find what you are comfortable with and interested in when you get to school. For the first 1 to 1.5 years, you will take the basics in that all engineers take. Maybe by that time you will have a better idea that interests you. Good luck.

Dr. Murphy


A simple answer to your question regarding mechanical engineering and engines- No. Mechanical Engineers deal with everything from "A"irplanes to "Z"ippers. Mechanical Engineers cover the entire spectrum- another aspect is Heating ventilation and air conditioning- which deals with thermodynamics as opposed to mechanical systems. As a mechanical engineer I am slightly biased but will try and give an overall perspective to help you choose.

M.E.'s tend to stay towards the material end of physics with such courses as dynamics, statics, thermodynamics, vibrations, strength of materials etc etc. Mechanical engineering also deals a lot with electrical engineering so you would take many courses along with electrical engineers. Electrical engineering seems to stay more towards the non-physical end of physics dealing more with electrons, charge, voltage etc.

I chose Mechanical Engineering since I feel it is easier to comprehend and understand the physical side of physics much easier. Choose what you feel you would like to do, in the end you will find that both Mechanical and Electrical Engineers work very close together. Although I am a mechanical Engineer, I also do electrical work and control systems. Just because you receive a degree in a certain discipline doesn't mean you have to stay in that profession the rest of your life! I hop this has helped somewhat.

Dr. Baldwin



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