What is Mechanical Engineering?
Mechanical engineers design and develop everything you think oI as a machine - Irom
supersonic Iighter jets to bicycles to toasters. And they inIluence the design oI other products as
well - shoes, light bulbs and even doors. Many mechanical engineers specialize in areas such as
manuIacturing, robotics, automotive/transportation and air conditioning. Others cross over into
other disciplines, working on everything Irom artiIicial organs to the expanding Iield oI
nanotechnology. And some use their mechanical engineering degree as preparation Ior the
practice oI medicine and law. The mechanical engineer may design a component, a machine, a
system or a process. Mechanical engineers will analyze their design using the principles oI
motion, energy, and Iorce to insure the product Iunctions saIely, eIIiciently, reliably, and can be
manuIactured at a competitive cost.
Mechanical engineers work in the automotive, aerospace, chemical, computer, communication,
paper, and power generation industries. Mechanical engineers will be Iound in virtually any
manuIacturing industry. Increasingly, mechanical engineers are needed in the environmental and
bio-medical Iields. Indeed virtually every product or service in modern liIe has probably been
touched in some way by a mechanical engineer.
In the ME-EM department these activities are reIlected in the way we organize our teaching and
research eIIorts. Faculty are organized in the Iollowing technical areas:
Design and Dynamic Systems Area --This area emphasizes modeling and control
dynamic processes in engineering systems. Current research activity is in enginee
acoustics and noise control, NVH, vibrations and modal analysis, system modelin
and identiIication, control systems, system dynamics, computer simulation oI
material-Iorming processes, oII-line programming oI robots, automobile
crashworthiness, computer-aided strain analysis, soItware sensor development,
optimal control oI automated manuIacturing, application oI artiIicial intelligence
interactive design soItware, environmentally conscious design, and design oI orth
devices Ior gait rehabilitation.
Energy Thermo-Fluids Area --Emphasizes thermodynamics, heat transIer, and Ilu
mechanics. Current research activity is in combustion processes, internal combus
engines, transmissions, heat and mass transIer, Iluid mechanics, computational Il
dynamics, and emissions and air quality control.
ManuIacturing/Industrial Area--Current research activity is in metal cutting, meta
Iorming (with speciIic thrusts in sheet metal deIormation), grinding, tribological
aspects oI Iorming and machining, computer-aided design oI dies Ior Iorming me
and polymers, robotics and automation, metrology, data-dependent system analys
industrial engineering, and environmentally conscious manuIacturing. The
manuIacturing systems engineering program emphasizes the integration oI design
materials, computers, and manuIacturing with an exposure to business and
engineering administration, and is particularly suitable Ior those who have a bach
degree in mechanical, electrical, metallurgical, or chemical engineering.
Solid Mechanics Area--Emphasizes topics in mechanics and materials science.
Current research activity is in mechanics oI materials with microstructure,
experimental mechanics, plasticity, wave propagation and dynamic Iracture,
biomechanics, micromechanics, ceramics, crashworthiness, polymer matrix
composites, and computational mechanics.
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What do Mechanical Engineers do?
Up-Sized Tractor Variant Prototype: Elmer`s Crane
& Dozer was Iormed in 1956. They currently have
15 locations in Michigan`s Lower Peninsula. They
This Senior Design Team won 2nd place in the
Undergrad Research Expo. They developed an
automatically Indexing Insert Toolholder design
have built 20 current Du-More tractor models. The
current Du-More has a 1.5 yard bucket and 115 HP
engine. Our team is designing a larger, more
powerIul and more capable tractor Ior Elmer`s Crane
and Dozer, based on the current Du-More model.
The new machine will incorporate existing
components while preserving the Iunctions oI the
project that Iocused on the design, prototyping,
and testing oI a toolholder Ior turning operations.
The key Ieature that separates this toolholder
Irom others on the market is its ability to
automatically rotate an indexable insert Irom a
dull to Iresh edge via an electrically actuated
mechanism. Doing so saves signiIicant machining
downtime associated with the current method oI
manually indexing an insert. The projected
savings in time allow the end user to reduce the
costs related to machining parts, especially iI the
components being turned are made Irom hard
materials that wear the insert rapidly.
Mechanical Engineers study:
O Statics: How are Iorces transmitted to and throughout a structure?
O Dynamics: What are the velocities,accelerations and resulting Iorces Ior a system in
O inematics: How does a mechanism behave as it moves through its range oI motion?
O Strength oI Materials: Is the component strong enough to support the loads? Is it stiII
O Materials Science: Which material has the optimum properties?
O Thermodynamics : How does energy get converted to useIul power? What are the losses?
O Fluid Mechanics: What is the pressure drop due to the Iluid Ilow? What are the
aerodynamic drag Iorces?
O Heat TransIer: How do you calculate heat transIer rates Irom temperature data? How do
you predict the temperature distributions?
O ManuIacturing: What manuIacturing processes do you select?
O Machine Design: How do you synthesize all oI the above?
O Electrical Circuits: How do you integrate electronic controls into your design?
O Laboratory Methods: How do you make and interpret both thermal and mechanical
O Vibrations: How do you predict and control vibrations?
O Engineering Economics: How do you estimate manuIacturing costs?