Best subject to take for Mechanical Engineering major?

In summary, the conversation discusses a student's decision between two science electives: Thermal and Classical Physics or Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity. The student is majoring in Mechanical Systems and is unsure which subject would be most beneficial for their major. The group consensus is that Thermal and Classical Physics would be the better option as it is a prerequisite for other courses and has more practical applications in mechanical engineering. While Quantum Mechanics may be interesting, it is not as relevant to the student's major.
  • #1
rafehi
49
1
Hello all,

I'm currently entering my second year of a Bachelor of Mechanical Systems degree, hoping to move into Masters of Mechanical or Mechatronics engineering.

I've got to decide on a science elective and I've got it down to two:

Thermal and Classical Physics:
This subject extends knowledge of fundamental thermal physics principles and introduces the powerful and elegant Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of classical mechanics. Topics from thermal physics include thermal equilibrium, ideal gas and kinetic theory, equipartition of energy, heat and work, heat capacity, latent heat, enthalpy, thermodynamic processes; thermal systems and statistics, interacting systems, statistics of large systems, entropy, temperature and heat, pressure, chemical potential; heat engines, Carnot cycle, refrigerators, throttling process; Helmholtz and Gibbs Free energies, and phase transformations. In classical physics, topics will include elementary principles (Newton’s laws, momentum and energy conservation, mechanics of systems of particles), Lagrange’s equations (constraints and generalized coordinates, Lagrange’s equations, velocity dependent and dissipative forces, applications, symmetries and conservation laws, stability and oscillations) and Hamilton’s principle (calculus of variation, applications, Hamilton’s principle, Legendre transformations)

or

Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity
This subject introduces students to two key concepts in physics: quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of special relativity. Quantum mechanics topics include the quantum theory of light, the particle nature of matter, matter waves, quantum mechanics in one dimension and tunneling phenomena. Special relativity topics will include the foundations of special relativity, spacetime invariance, simultaneity, and Minkowski diagrams, relativistic kinematics, the Doppler effect, relativistic dynamics, and nuclear reactions.​

My question is, which subject would be most beneficial for my major? I'm guessing the Thermal/Classical Physics will be beneficial for a mech engineering major, but you hear a lot these days of nanotech and such things, and I'm thinking that quantum mech could be of some use or other.

Any help greatly appreciated. I know I posted this in the Academic forum, but as yet I've gotten no reply, and with semester fast approaching, I need help urgently.
 
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  • #2
Unless you are sure you are going into nanotech or have an unquenchable thirst for QM - definitely take the thermal and classical option. It is very hard to find practical applications of quantum mechanics in mechanical engineering (afaik) whereas the applications of the other course are extremely plentiful.
 
  • #3
I second Thermal and Classical Physics ... by far.

In most programs, a 1 semester of basic physics would be required as a prereq before you take Statics and also before you take Thermodynamics (which is a whole 1 semester class on its own). I almost can't see how the first class you mentioned wouldn't be required as a rereq.

Im sure they take even more courses that build upon Thermo after that... I had to take Thermo as a Civil because its on the EI exam and also its likely to do with the ABET accreditation.
 
  • #4
Go for thermodynamics and Mechanics... (might be a little repetitive of Mechanics).
 
  • #5
QM will be totally useless for ME, so the other is your only bet. It may prove to be less than really useful, but it is your only hope at this point, I'd say.
 

Related to Best subject to take for Mechanical Engineering major?

1. What are the core subjects in Mechanical Engineering?

The core subjects in Mechanical Engineering include Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Solid Mechanics, Materials Science, and Dynamics.

2. Which subject is the most important for a Mechanical Engineering major?

It is difficult to determine the most important subject as all the core subjects are essential for a well-rounded understanding of Mechanical Engineering. However, many would argue that Thermodynamics and Solid Mechanics are crucial for designing and analyzing mechanical systems.

3. Are there any specific subjects that are useful for a career in Mechanical Engineering?

Yes, there are several subjects that can be particularly useful for a career in Mechanical Engineering. These include Machine Design, Control Systems, and Manufacturing Processes.

4. Is it necessary to have a strong background in mathematics for a Mechanical Engineering major?

Yes, a strong foundation in mathematics is essential for success in Mechanical Engineering. Concepts such as calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra are used extensively in various courses throughout the major.

5. Is it possible to specialize in a specific subject within Mechanical Engineering?

Yes, many universities offer concentrations or specializations within the Mechanical Engineering major. These can include areas such as Aerospace Engineering, Robotics, or Energy Systems. It is important to research the specific options available at your university.

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