Mechanical engineers often create simulations of the operation of objects, as well as the manufacturing processes to be used,in order to optimize performance, cost effectiveness, and energy efficiencies, before settling on a particular design.
Engineering drawings of the objects to be fabricated arethe end product for a design engineer. They serve a dual purpose; to contain all information required for fabrication, and as acontrol mechanism for revision levels. Prior to the late 20th Century most engineering drawings were drawn by hand with the aidof mechanical draftingboards . The advent of the digital computer with graphical user interface made the creation of models anddrawings using computer-aided design (CAD) programs possible.
Most CAD programs now permit creation of three-dimensional models which may be viewed from any angle. State-of-the-art solid modelling CAD programs are a virtual reality for machinedesign. Such solid models may be used as the basis for finite element analysis (FEA) and / or computational fluid dynamics (CFD) of the design. Through the application of computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), the models mayalso be used directly by software to create "instructions" for the manufacture of objects represented by the models, through computer numerically-controlled (CNC) machining or other automated processes, without theneed for intermediate drawings.
Fundamental subjects of mechanical engineering include: dynamics , statics , strength of materials , heat transfer , fluid dynamics , solid mechanics , control theory , pneumatics , hydraulics , mechatronics , kinematics , andapplied thermodynamics . Mechanical engineers are also expected tounderstand and be able to apply concepts from the chemistry and electrical engineering fields. At the smallest scales, mechanicalengineering becomes molecular engineering - onespeculative goal of which is to create a molecular assembler to build molecules and materials via mechanosynthesis . For now thisgoal remains within exploratory engineering , and someconsider it science fiction .
Related disciplines include; electrical engineering , industrial engineering , systems engineering , civil engineering , nuclearengineering , aerospace engineering , and other engineering disciplines.
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