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.
Mike Moulton, Senior Machinist at Bainbridge Machine Company in Bainbridge, Georgia, expresses his thoughts on mechanical engineers, stating -
“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 will 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.”
Mechanical engineering has existed for thousands of years and has continually evolved to incorporate advancements in technology. Mechanical engineers today are pursuing developments in such fields as composites, mechatronics, and nanotechnology. Mechanical engineering overlaps with many other engineering fields including aerospace engineering, materials engineering, and biomedical engineering. In biomedical engineering, they help develop biomechanics, transport phenomena, bio mechatronics, bio nanotechnology, and model 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. Just like civil engineers, mechanical engineers must be very diverse in their knowledge of all STEM fields.
- Design efficient systems.
- Evaluate every aspect of complex machinery and how it all works together.
- Determine possible fail points in a system and circumvent.
- Determine client goals, expectations, and priorities.
- Establish and communicate project timelines.
- Implement and provide constructive feedback on designs.
- Clearly communicate possibilities, advantages, and disadvantages of different solutions.
- Provide regular status updates.
- Develop multiple solutions to a given problem.
- Work through iterative design to finesse the product.
MyStemKits, a MimioSTEM curriculum solution, has kits that support mechanical engineering skills. These include:
- Stacking Blocks Kit: Engineering Expansion
Subjects: Mathematics, Science, Engineering
Grade levels: K-12
Strand: Physical Sciences
Students become their own structural and civil engineers with this kit designed with multiple real-world scenarios in mind. Challenge students to build bridges or skyscrapers. Then, test using fans and weights to see how well their creations stand up to the forces of nature!
To watch a video, click here: Stacking Blocks Kit & Engineering Expansion
- Pantograph Kit
Grade levels: 6-12
Strand: Algebraic Thinking, Geometry
Integrating art, technology, and engineering, this pantograph provides a visually stimulating experience to help generate an understanding of ratios and proportions.
To watch a video, click here: Pantograph Kits
- Angular Momentum Kit
Subjects: Mathematics, Science
Grade levels: 9-12
Strand: Physical Sciences
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.
To watch a video, click here: Angular Momentum Kit