Mechanical engineering has transformed and with it so have its business prospects. Nanotechnology and the many elements of electric vehicles and its related infrastructure are considered to be potential areas for mechanical engineering of the near future.
Mechanical engineering will evolve and collaborate as a global profession over the next 20 years through a shared vision to develop engineering solutions that foster a cleaner, healthier, safer and sustainable world, states a report by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). There is no doubt that the current mechanical engineering industry has transformed from its earlier traditional processes but in this background which are the potential areas that the industry can look forward to in the coming years? Let’s find out.
Nanotechnology is an area which can offer huge benefits for mechanical engineers. Nanotechnology will provide the foundation that future engineers will use to solve issues in numerous fields such as medicine, energy, water management, aeronautics, agriculture and environmental management. The Global Summit on the Future of Mechanical Engineering conducted by ASME a decade ago had mentioned that many of the nanotech projects mechanical engineers will work on in the years ahead and will resemble their efforts in other areas (such as automotive manufacturing), only on a much smaller scale.
Nanotechnology is often considered to be a game changer in medicine as it has proved beneficial in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Hence, the development of biomedical devices can be seen as a potential segment. In addition to this, the world is undertaking diverse measures to create and store renewable power. Mechanical engineers can be of help here as they can harness nanomaterials such as enhanced cathode materials and create more efficient batteries as well as photovoltaic cells for storing excess solar energy.
Today we are already witnessing the emergence of cleaner and sustainable modes of transport such as electric vehicles (EVs) across the globe owing to unique engineering solutions. EVs eliminate the use of internal combustion engines (ICE) and instead utilise lithium-ion batteries.
Mechanical engineers have also adopted new materials to make the vehicles lightweight and stronger. Apart from this, many other segments such as the development of rugged mechatronics hardware to accompany AC/DC inverters and high-amperage/voltage motor controls; the design, testing and installation of the different infrastructures supporting EVs can also be considered as potential areas for mechanical engineers of the future.
Mechanical engineering still going strong
With changing times, there will be a need for new and innovative solutions and mechanical engineers are the ones who will be spearheading this evolving transformation. Hence, the field of mechanical engineering will continue to be a dominant force in the industry and will still and rightly demand respect from all the other branches of engineering.