What is Mechanical Engineering?

Examining a strain sample

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Engineering, in general, deals with the design and development of new things, be it a tablet, a bridge, or a football helmet.  The difference between an engineer and a technician is that a technician will use common methods to solve a problem, whereas an engineer will incorporate new methods and scientific principals into a design and optimize the design (hence the need for calculus) to make the most effective product.  The mechanical engineer (ME) evaluates a design based on energy and mechanics.  As one example, the ME will be involved in the design of various parts of a refrigerator, such as the design of the compressor and the structure (will the doors, shelves and knobs be strong enough). 

MEs can find occupations in many fields.  Some technical specialty areas (and some example products) are:

  • biomechanics (joint replacements, medical instrumentation)
  • transportation (planes, trains, automobiles, ships, submarines)
  • manufacturing (vibratory feeder bowls, cranes, CNC machines)
  • mechatronic systems (printers, copy machines)
  • heating and cooling (stoves, refrigerators, air conditioners)
  • aerospace (rockets)
  • acoustics (speakers, noise cancellation, musical instruments)
  • packaging design (covers, hinges, buttons for cell phones)
  • energy systems (power plants, wind turbines, solar panels)
  • engine design (compression ignition, spark ignition, turbine)

The employment outlook for mechanical engineers is strong.  Some of the many companies that hire our graduates are:

  • John Deere
  • Kimberly-Clark
  • Hormel Foods
  • Kohler
  • Trane
  • Honeywell
  • 3M
  • Miller Brewing
  • Oshkosh Corporation (Pierce)

The difference between UW-Platteville and other universities is our dedication to the practical aspects of engineering education.  Almost all of our courses have either a lab or a project associated with them.  Internships and co-ops are also strongly encouraged and many of our students participate in them.  This practial aspect allows our students to enter the workforce and have an immediate, positive impact.

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ME: Contact

Contact Information

Department Chair

Dr. Dave Kunz
Dept. of Mechanical and
Industrial Engineering
UW-Platteville
1 University Plaza
Platteville, WI 53818

Tel: 608.342.1431
E-mail: kunzd@uwplatt.edu

Admissions Office

Office of Admissions and Enrollment Management
University of Wisconsin-Platteville
1 University Plaza
Platteville, WI   53818

Tel: 608.342.1125
Web: www3.uwplatt.edu/admission

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