Mechanical Engineering and the Emerging Fields Within It
Since mechanical engineering is so diverse and overlaps with many other fields of engineering, like chemical, civil, and industrial, mechanical engineers can be found on a large variety of projects in different industries. The flexibility of this field has given mechanical engineering bountiful job prospects and it doesn’t seem like that’s going to change anytime soon. In fact, it’s expected to grow. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for mechanical engineering will have a predicted annually growth of around 4% for the next decade. It’s also important to mention that this trend will probably prefer those who stay up to date with the current technologies. Not to say that the core principles of mechanical engineering, like machine design, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics aren’t important anymore, but there has been huge spike in demand for proficiencies in nanotechnology, composites, and mechatronics. Here’s a look at some of these emerging fields below.
Transportation is currently the highest producer of greenhouse gas emission in the United States, contributing to nearly 30 percent of all emissions. From the high demand to find an alternative source of energy for transportation arose electric vehicles. The automotive industries has always relied on skilled mechanical engineers, but now they need them more than ever. The addition of a battery-powered system instead of a combustion engine introduces a whole new set of hurdles surrounding the design of the new electrical system’s mechatronics. In addition to the design of the vehicle, mechanical engineers will be needed to oversee the robotics and assembly lines, as vehicle manufacturing heads towards automation.
Another field that has exploded with an abundance of mechanic engineering opportunities is nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is the manipulation of the smallest level of materials. In the coming years, mechanical engineers will be crucial in creating biomedical devices, durable composite materials, and better energy storage systems.
With the rise of biomechatronics, mechanical engineers have become critical for robotics. In order to join body and machine, engineers must design the complicated architecture to mimic human muscular and skeleton structure. Mechanical Engineers will be useful for the design of controllers, sensors, actuators for medical prosthetics and implants. There is also a ton of research being conducted in the military industry, in addition to the medical industry on biomechatronics.
With the ever-increasing demand to cut operation costs, while still increasing efficiency, the manufacturing industry is constantly changing strategies and looking for cutting edge innovative technologies. One area that has been of great interest to the manufacturing industry and in which mechanical engineers are critical for success is robotics and automation. Even though the industry has seen huge amounts of growth, there are still a lot of manufacturers having trouble finding skilled engineers to fill empty positions. This means skilled mechanical engineers have a lot of opportunities to choose from in the field of manufacturing.
Even with the ever-changing field of engineering, the future of mechanical engineering still looks bright. Practicing Professionals will have to keep up with the current technologies and advancements in order to stay ahead of the wave of engineering graduates, who are being taught these new emerging fields of study.
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