MyStemKits.com’s S.T.E.M. job of the week: Mechanical Engineer

 In S.T.E.M Careers

Ever wondered what a mechanical engineer does? Keep reading to find out as we give you a glimpse into the life of a mechanical engineer.

Mike Moulton, Senior Machinist at Bainbridge Machine Company in Bainbridge, Georgia, expresses his thoughts on mechanical engineers, stating that “Mechanical Engineers design everything humanity needs or wants from the smallest watch spring to the satellites orbiting our planet. Without them we would have a society that exists little beyond subsistence farming. If it moves, or interacts with anything else, chances are a Mechanical Engineer designed it using Mathematics, Physics and Materials Science. In my 25 years as a Machinist, I’ve worked closely with Mechanical Engineers to help design, modify and repair the things they designed. They will often come to people like us in the manufacturing industry to verify that what they designed on paper, or these days on computer, will actually work in the real world. It is a grand feeling to see a machine come to life made of smaller components that you had a hand in building to a Mechanical Engineer’s specifications.”

Mechanical engineering is the discipline that applies the principles of engineering, physics, and materials science for the design, analysis, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is one of the oldest and broadest of the engineering disciplines.

Mechanical engineering made its emergence as a field during the Industrial Revolution in Europe in the 18th century. Its development can be traced back several thousand years around the world. Mechanical engineering emerged in the 19th century because of developments in the field of physics. The field has continually evolved to incorporate advancements in technology, and mechanical engineers today are pursuing developments in such fields as composites, mechatronics, and nanotechnology. Mechanical engineering overlaps with aerospace engineering, metallurgical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, manufacturing engineering, chemical engineering, industrial engineering, and other engineering disciplines to varying amounts. Mechanical engineers may also work in the field of biomedical engineering, specifically with biomechanics, transport phenomena, bio mechatronics, bio nanotechnology, and modeling of biological systems.

Like other engineers, mechanical engineers use computers quite a bit. Mechanical engineers are responsible for the integration of sensors, controllers, and machinery. Computer technology helps them create and analyze designs, run simulations and test how a machine is likely to work, interact with connected systems, and generate specifications for parts.

Mechanical engineers are also expected to understand and be able to apply basic concepts from chemistry, physics, chemical engineering, civil engineering, and electrical engineering. This expectation becomes an asset when dealing with structural analysis. Structural analysis is the branch of mechanical engineering (and civil engineering) devoted to examining why and how objects fail and how to fix the objects and their performance. Just like civil engineers (who we covered in last week’s article), mechanical engineers have to be very diverse in their knowledge of all STEM fields. We at MyStemKits seek to prepare students for various STEM careers by creating engaging, applicable kits tied in to real-world problem-solving. We pride ourselves on providing a catalog that is influential and appealing to the many tastes of our consumers. Check out some of the kits relevant to preparing future Mechanical Engineers for the challenges they would face on the job.

Pantograph Kit
Integrating art, technology, and engineering, this pantograph provides a visually-stimulating experience to help generate understanding of ratios and proportions. By drawing with the pencil nearest the fulcrum, students will see the pantograph draw a replica at twice that size, making this the perfect kit to investigate scale and transformations, as well as proportional reasoning. The overlapping bars on this pantograph also serve as an ideal platform for understanding parallelograms and angles.

                                                   

Angular Momentum Kit
This model allows for a visual-spatial exploration of torque and the relationship of mass distribution and rotational motion. Featuring a quick-release pushing mechanism, students can easily generate consistent data across repeated trials. Designed to work with or without the Mantis Force Motion Sensor.

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