Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Applications for Mechanical Engineering - Reasoning

  1. Feb 16, 2010 #1
    Howdy big timers. I need some stouthearted mechanical engineers to help me out with my reasoning here. Since I graduated some five years ago I’ve have found that there is a gap between what you know as a college graduate, and what that knowledge does and means in the real world. In the field mostly we do what we are told in the way we are told to do it regardless of what you have learned. Then work and grow from there. Fine. But when I am home, and I feel like doing or inventing something for myself I am lost.

    So my question is what relationships have you been able to establish between our mechE skill set and a tangible application? i.e. I've used my heat transfer knowledge to upgrade my home insulation.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2010 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Very few times will you be asked in life or your profession to solve for the efficiency of an ideal cascading Rankine cycle. Does that mean that doing it, learning it, and practicing it was useless?

    While much of the actual knowledge you learned isn't directly applicable, what you learned was a way and methodology to go about solving any problem. In that way, I use my engineering skillset on a daily basis.

    p.s. Although I do in fact perform a lot of textbook-type analyses too.
  4. Feb 16, 2010 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Everything we do SHOULD, in some way, be grounded in the basics you learned in school. Granted, things may look drastically different, but if you take the time, I would bet there are glimpses of what you learned in there. That is definitely true in my case.
  5. Feb 16, 2010 #4
    Hey minger, I think you are right on the money.

    I think very much the same and goes hand in hand with my experience. It was not only useful, but enjoyable. Besides, the scope of the career is to vast to consider using everything, no doubt.

    Maybe I should put it in another way. If you tell me that you make furniture and that's how you use your knowledge, then that's the answer I am looking for. That's an application. It's not a job title, but how you use what you learned and to what end.
  6. Feb 16, 2010 #5
    Dude I use it every day. I'm a vibes guy in UAV wing design. I can't tell you how often I boil things down to analytical solutions to get some insight into what's going on.
  7. Feb 16, 2010 #6
    Sweet. That's a nice job man.
  8. Feb 17, 2010 #7
    It's cheating somewhat I'm sure, but I work as a researcher in the mechanics of materials in a mechanical engineering department of a university. I use the skills I learnt every day :)

    Before this I spent a while working for a design and engineering consultancy, where I was responsible for developing products, applying for funding, mechanical testing, designing production methods...all very varied and fun and very much open ended, insofar as my boss would give me a goal and a rough priority/timescale, and I could use almost any way I could think of to achieve that. As well as many of my tasks being directly related to my previous experience from my degree (e.g. CAD, experimentation, machining, some accounting) there was also a large component of lateral thinking, analysis and planning that was largely honed by the years of project work on my course.
  9. Feb 18, 2010 #8
    It seems that management and lateral thinking are big parts of the process of creating engineering and science applications.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook