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Mechanical engineering robotics

What Is Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical engineering is broadly concerned with energy, manufacturing, and design of machines. Mechanical engineers conceive, plan, design, and direct the manufacture, distribution, and operation of a wide variety of devices, machines, and systems—including complex human-machine systems—for energy conversion, biofuel production, environmental control, materials processing, transportation, materials handling, and other purposes.

Major subspecialties include:

Thermal-fluid phenomena occur in many engineering systems and devices, such as aircraft; automobiles; off-road vehicles; ships; gas turbines; heat exchangers; material processes; heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and refrigerating systems; hydraulic and wind turbines; airbag inflators; fuel cells; biofuel processes; environmental control devices; and biomedical systems.

Machines and mechanical systems are the foundations of human technology. Mechanical systems are found in mechanical engineering systems and devices such as manufacturing equipment, medical equipment, ground vehicles, heavy equipment, farm equipment, aircraft, ships, home appliances, packaging machinery, wind turbine blades and gearboxes, robots, and biomedical systems.


Mechanical engineers find a wide variety of career opportunities in industry, government, and education. Mechanical engineers form an integral part of most industries, including aerospace firms, energy companies, automobile manufacturers, health care providers, food- and metal-processing industries, petroleum refineries, electronic and computer manufacturers, heavy construction and agricultural vehicle manufacturers, wind turbine manufacturers, thermal comfort equipment firms, farm equipment firms, and consulting companies.

Principal employers of our recent graduates include:

  • Consulting—Accenture, Siemens Transportation, Shive-Hattery, Stanley Consultants
  • Energy—Alliant Energy, MidAmerican Energy
  • Food—General Mills, Nestle-Purina, Quaker Oats
  • Government—Department of Defense, Oakridge National Lab, NASA, Rock Island Arsenal
  • Manufacturing—Alcoa, Allsteel, Boeing, Caterpillar, Centro, John Deere, Emerson Process Management, General Electric, Hon, IBM, Maytag, Micron Tech., Pella, Rockwell-Collins, Silgan Plastics, 3M

"Witnessing the application of CAD modeling and 3D printing was exhilarating. Understanding the applications of reverse engineering is an important skill for my future because it empowers companies to overcome challenges."

— Ken Reichert, student employee at the Driving Safety Research Institute 

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