Mechanical Engineering vs. Mechanical Engineering Technology
Yeah, okay, got it, thank you. So I'm Dr. Aimee Frame. And today we're gonna talk about the mechanical engineering and mechanical engineering technology programs that are housed in the Mechanical and Materials Engineering Department. And hopefully give you a better idea of what these are and what the differences are, so you can make your decision on what major might fit best for you. So a little bit about me, I am a 20 plus year Bearcat at this point. So started here in the 90s as an undergrad first and then did get my PhD from here.
So a few fun pictures. I still do a lot of alumni bands events, cuz I did march when I was an undergrad. And then one of the pictures on the bottom of the screen is me on the last student trip that I went. So I took a set of students to Germany over spring break, that's attached to one of the classes taught as a elective in the College of Engineering. So that was a fun trip.
Hopefully, when COVID dies down, we'll be able to get back to things like that. So a little bit about me and what I do here. My email is up on the screen and it is at the end as well.
So if you do have any questions that don't get answered today or in a couple of days, you have something. I'm always willing to answer questions. Email is definitely the best way to get hold of me, okay? So first, before we get into the differences between the two majors, just a little overview of what mechanical systems are, because these are the systems that both majors are going to work on.
So when we think mechanical systems, often it is basically anything that moves and doesn't fly, although we work on pieces of aircraft. So anything that moves is gonna do some kind of work. So if you see the pictures there, it could be anything from automobiles, planes, down to just gears and bearings, HVAC systems, lots of different types of moving parts and things. We typically get, a lot of people hear that we are some of the broadest and oldest. I argue that there's a set of engineering that are fairly broad, we just use different math. And I'll show you kind of what broad means here in the next few slides in pictures cuz I think that helps explain what broad in the sense of mechanical engineering means.
And we'll learn about a lot of different things that you can do with this degree and where our students go in both degrees and kind of what you can do with these degrees and what kind of career opportunities you would have. So you're saying what does broad mean, right? So one big area of mechanical systems, whether it's technology or engineering, is what we dub structural dynamics. So if you wanna think of what you see on the upper right hand picture there, is kind of your struts and shock system on your car. So what keeps you from bouncing around when you go over a bump? All these pictures that you see are either from textbooks we use, or actual labs in students of ours. So we do have a big lab here in the high bay where we can literally shake cars or other things to verify that our models are correct and see how they behave.
So this is one big thing, I think this is one that's easy for students to kind of picture cuz it's like rollercoasters and a whole bunch of other structural things. And it's some of that physics that you may have learned or will be learning. And this, come on, robotics is a big draw, right? A lot of students come in with robotics.
When we're talking robotics from mechanical point of view, it's gonna be mostly the linkage systems, the motors, if you see here the arm, right? Some of our students might get a CS minor or certificate because they want the programming part of that too. But the programming part sometimes is these are groups of students that are from various majors and the mechanical engineering students are gonna work mostly on the moving actual pieces, parts to this, right? And the ones on the right here are from a cool co-op from one of our students that worked for a government lab. So once they got declassified, she was able to share them. Big part that some people don't think about is heating and cooling and thermal power, fluid power. So your refrigerator, here Caterpillar and a lot of heavy machinery, so this is one of our fluids labs. How do you use hydraulics, jet engines, turbo engines.
And that does lead us to also power and energy, some nuclear or wind farms. So you see now, like in Ohio, you see all of the wind turbines that are generating power for us. So if you wanna get into renewable energy, often we're into that realm, those kinds of things for renewable as mechanical.
And again, kind of down here is just a little bit of the math and stuff if you're wondering why you have to take calculus or physics. If you notice, physics is a big part of what you're gonna see as far as science wise for the mechanical systems. And then we do get into modeling and simulation, not necessarily the coding, cuz, again, that's gonna be more computer science.
But you have to know what you're getting out of that computer code makes sensors, right? So that's often where mechanical engineers come into play. If you wanna think about using your calculator. If you put in two plus three, you have to know that six is wrong, right, that you accidentally pressed multiply not plus.
So same thing goes with these really big systems like ANSYS. Does that answer make engineering sense? And if not, what might be wrong in the code? What do you have to correct? So we do get students that work for those kinds of companies, doing that work. And then we get a lot that are in manufacturing. So we have additive up here, fancy word for 3D printing. Both in metals and plastics, plant layout type things.
This was a project that one of our MIT students did on co-op, saved the company lots of money. So we still do get in a lot of how do we manufacture, how do we make things. And I think this is where we get in broad in this respect that we're in a lot of companies cuz every company needs to have their product made, right? And so how do you make those products? And so a lot of the companies our students work for are not consumer companies where you would know their names. They're gonna be what we call tier one or tier two companies, where they make products that they sell to a Toyota or a Coca Cola to make their parts, right, or make their products. So that's kind of in pictures what mechanical systems are.
I know what you guys are here for, is what is the difference between engineering and engineering technology? So I'm gonna start getting into those differences now that we have a general sense of what mechanical systems are. And again, we're gonna use math and physics in both of these majors to describe these types of systems. So that's the basic framework we're using. How we use it is different.
So engineers are gonna use a lot more higher level calculus and do a lot more analysis theoretical work. It's a little bit more abstract. Some of the courses are taught a little bit more abstractly or full fledged modeling because that's the way we're gonna approach things in that major. And technology the way we approach things is more application based. Still can use calculus some of the lower level calculus definitely physics but we have this theory how do we apply it to mechanical systems. How do we get a design or a product result with these known applications known theories known principles.
So that's the overarching big difference between the two, so what does this really mean in practice. So with that right emphasis again and for all of these slides left hand column is always gonna be mechanical engineering right-hand column is always gonna be mechanical engineering technology. So we can kinda do a side-by-side comparison. So again, the focus for engineering majors are to develop new, potentially things. So fundamental theories abstract concepts are the emphasis of the program. Whereas technology is implement solutions potentially quickly, especially in a manufacturing environment.
The more time that a line is down the more money that that's costing that company. So may not have to be the most efficient solution they just want a solution, and so there's established methods to do that to come up with those and so how do we apply them to engineering problems. Curriculum wise then this shows up in coursework for the engineers that is a lot more we're gonna model systems, we're gonna analyze them, we're gonna look at them from a theoretical maybe three dimensional point of view. Where's the technology curriculums as less abstract we're gonna often simplify if we can to algebra trig, or count one type topics and really stressing application and implementation of these concepts and how do we do that? And so this can be kind of hard to kind of wrap your head around because they're still design and they're still math and engineering involved in technology. Some things to easily wrap your head around is mechanical and aero are often very similar. So but with aerospace versus mechanical and mechanical we're simplifying that gravity is constant and mass is constant.
So we can use F equals MA. Whereas aerospace actually can't make those simplifying assumptions because a mass of an airplane changes drastically because fuel is their heaviest thing. And same with gravity as you get up into space gravity changes.
So, right even aerospace through versus mechanical, mechanical make simplifying assumptions because we're close to the ground and cars typically right or the machines that were making don't change their mass very much. So the same thing with mechanical and mechanical technology a lot of things can be two dimensional, bridges actually can be designed two dimensionally for the most part, a lot of those things. So there's a lot of things that can be simplified down, that don't need the full blown three dimensions or a lot of the extra calculus to be described well. So that's kind of where that differences and where there's still engineering, still some analysis but it's definitely less abstract than what engineering may get.
So what are these transfers after graduation, right? So in the workplace, some titles that our students get right I'll write from graduation, mechanical does vary pretty drastically, but a lot of them will be design testing. They'll still get into manufacturing, you'll see a lot machinery design, automotive design, design of products. So other products, they'll get into technical sales often be that bridge between the engineers and the company they're selling to. So technical sales does not necessarily consumers again, they're gonna go into say Coca Cola and see what Coca Cola's problem is and say, hey, we have a machine or a robot or something that can solve that problem for you. So you can get more pop in the cans quicker, right kind of thing technology students who are generally off the bat will be hired by manufacturing companies construction companies.
More fabrication plants product packaging companies that kind of thing again sometimes more in the field. You see some of that some production planning, because some of their curriculum is a little bit more geared towards manufacturing in some ways. Does that mean they all go into manufacturing? There's definitely some differences there, especially with the co-op experience. Some of them will start into design and other things like that. So that's kind of short term, long term, both will end up in management positions.
And this I know might not help with your decision making long term if you want to be management or professional engineers or some of these that cross borders then I would say how are you going to learn best. Are you going to learn best with abstract concepts or more concrete concepts are met our technology students because they're they take a little more subtle statistics, and a little bit more production planning and control type stuff. Will tend to move into the quality and inspection, and quality control type areas a little more often than our engineers.
Engineers if you grad school is the thing that you definitely want to do grad school being a master's of science or a PhD, MBA is both. But if you definitely wanna kind of work for NASA or Los Alamos research lab, or even write pat and Dayton, those engineers typically have their masters of science or PhD. But if you definitely wanna kind of work for NASA or Los Alamos research lab, or even write pat and Dayton, those engineers typically have their masters of science or PhD. So that would be something that a mechanical engineering degree is gonna do for you.
Because you're doing the theoretical stuff in your undergrad, you're better set up for research. And then if you go to grad school, that's where we become like I'm a professor here at UC or a lot of the people that I went to grad school with our national labs, or other corporate research facilities. So those are the long term career things that can happen with both degrees, curriculum wise how this shows up first years, and so these are the this is the first year again columns for me is on the left and it is on the right and each semester is the same. So kinda just showing here quickly I'm not gonna kinda go in detail unless there are questions about curriculum.
But both will take calculus in the first year first semester is pretty common but as you see it starts to branch out where the calculus based physics and sciences. Versus the algebra based and again IMTS calc one is about the limit of math that they take. So you won't see much more calculus in their degree plan. Again because it's not necessary.Then when we're talking labs you
can see where okay, there's some similarly titled courses like manufacturing what you see on the AMIT side. They have that manufacturing and they also have a lab that goes with it so that they can kind of see and action what they're learning in the classroom. Same down here with something a little more abstract like strength of the materials. Strength of materials solid mechanics similar topics but again this is gonna come at that theory based, this has a laboratory again. With that more how do we apply these principles seeing them in action? There's a little bit more calculus, many calculus down here as you get farther in the program to help with the later half and that's later in the semester.
Again, because they don't need as much higher level calculus like the [INAUDIBLE] Q and multivariable, you see NME. And then this is your middle year they're all kind of you can see where it kind of branches out into some of these modeling and controls classes, so a lot more abstract where's then technology gets into a little bit of motion controllers like robotic controller. How do we plan path plan some of these things, product development, how do you you, figure out how we're going to manufacture parts a little bit so a little bit more into that industrial area, manufacturing area of stuff. And then senior year is pretty open for both majors there's a lot of electives on here. So it doesn't look like a lot of classes it's actually 15 credit hours every term for both majors, and then we help you with those electives later on. So then kind of wrapping up I'm leaving a lot open for questions so that way I can answer what you guys have questions wise we have both programmes mechanical engineering is that more abstract theoretical programme.
There's definitely if you want that masters of science that then leads into PhD that's one of the big things on differences that they're typically going to set you up a lot better for that technologies more application based definitely gets a little bit more into the industrial manufacturing areas, manufacturing plants. How do we make things right? It's great to design some things, but if you can't actually make them, it doesn't matter. So that's the areas that don't get into more ss programs go and like I said, I wanted to leave plenty of space for questions.
I can always go back to slides if you have them all my information was right here on the screen for you. That is not me that is actually one of my partners in crime. I'm actually in that picture but Well, I'm in the room when this happened, but really don't fear failure. This was test taken three years ago when Professor Mays and myself were learning how to use that piece of equipment you see behind you and we did not do well.
And if you can see there is a pool of oil on the floor because the valve came loose and Shot oil all across the room and drenched us both. We learned a lot that day. We also failed a lot that day. But that's part of engineering right in trying to figure things out. So I kinda like the quote from Einstein.
And yeah, with that, I guess I'll open it up to questions for whoever's here. No questions, I answered all of your questions. >> I mean, I will ask the question [INAUDIBLE].
>> Yeah, that's fine, you can do yeah. [LAUGH] if I miss something. >> No, I don't think you miss anything at all.
I think a lot of students like basically what I wanna ask is if a student is in one major, but they want to get a little exposure like if they're in any tea, but they're hoping to get experience and design like how are they like are the companies that students come up with very different. Or can they kinda like how can they kinda cross those barriers if at all during the coop search can you just speak to that a bit. >> Yeah, so some of that is student dependent on their strengths. But there's definitely crossover in some companies.
And actually probably in at least half the companies I would say, of any versus MIT of getting design experience. What that design experience looks like will vary by company. Because GE is a like a bigger company like GE, you might see a smaller aspect of design because it's broken down a little bit more a smaller startup, you might see a larger part of that process. So some of that can be company based. There's definitely though, are some of our committees that have been able to try design and manufacturing and kinda see what fits better for them as well. And they get treated at that company like an engineer just like mechanical would.
And that's what makes I think this hard choosing the major because there is an overlap in what both majors can do out in industry? There's definitely industries that want a mix of both. Or don't care which one they have because you have enough background with either major. So then if those are the kind of careers you're hoping to go for, then looking at the way you learn is a good deciding factor. Right? Where are you going to have that better fit of learning style? Does that help answer that question? >> Yeah, that was awesome, thank you. >> No problem and I get this is a hard distinction to make.
What other questions do you all have for me? >> If there are no other questions we can go ahead and call it a wrap for the day. >> Okay, I always, yeah, have it in my back pocket. Yeah, I always have a back pocket for clients times. >> This is coo yeah please. Yeah so maybe this will jog some questions maybe not and this is independent of what major you ultimately choose but some advice I just have and these are all different things across you see, right? There's a lot of stuff that you see to get involved in. I was not involved in anything engineering related as an undergrad, you don't have to be or you can be I have friends that were only engineering stuff but get involved on take advantage of stuff.
Minor certificates research travel. I wish I traveled north and undergrad. It's harder to do now that I full time job. And then biggest thing time management.
You have time to get involved and do these things but you can't sleep until noon and then do this. So managing your time figuring out where to put your effort utilizing we are here to help you, right? Utilize my office hours, right? If I have you in class right and that's our most successful students figure that out early, right, they go get the help they need early and often. Whether that's in your freshman year with learning commons and the mass center and some of those things, as you get up in your later times professor office hours are going to be the best thing because we all start teaching those specialized classes. So there's not a lot of tutoring that's available because they're so specific to your major. Right? Your academic advisors peer tutors, all those things caps, right? Get help, we're here, you're paying for it, you might as well get the most out of it.
So that's always my advice in general. Like I said, I've been a Bear Cat for 20 plus years so if you don't have questions about this and have questions about something else, I'm willing to answer that as well, or we can just call it like Corinne said either or. >> I have a question miss.
>> Okay. >> [LAUGH] All right, so let's say I'm a recent transfer student so how can I be more involved in the MET program since I was in my previous colleges? >> So what were you involved in? What kinda groups were you involved in in your previous college? Was it just an MET general group or was there something specific to it? >> It was a MET major so it was an honest major in both colleges. >> Okay, cuz we're pretty big. So MET students, there's a several groups they'll get involved in so we have BattleBots club, thanks Corinne for the organizations.
But you can look at BattleBots, a lot of the car clubs so we have formula car, we have BV, we have Baja, solar car, I'm probably missing a car one, I hate cars, so I don't think about them. Cars are great engineering system and so there's a lot of that that gets involved, Robotics club. So those are the big ones that a lot of METs will get involved in and ways to meet students. In MET, engineering tribunal, that's kinda the general student government body for the college, that's a great way to start getting involved in seeing what's out there. And then there's all the professional organizations like ASME or you have at NSBE or the Society Women Engineering, you don't have to be female to be part of that organization, right? So there's some of those other organizations as well to meet people and get involved.
So it kinda depends on what your interest is. If I were to do that one personally, I'd probably pick robotics cuz that's what my interest would be. And TEA, some people don't know what that is but that's the Themed Entertainment Association and that's actually across university, you get to meet people from like CCM and DAP in engineering, it's an amazing group too. But they advertised and it looks like it says T but because it is an abbreviation to TEA, that's another a big group that a lot of students get interested in. Does that help? Cuz we don't have just a here's MET student group kind of thing. >> Yeah, I kinda hope so.
I was just also curious because I took multiple classes in my previous school, so schools and those were transferred in here but I guess there's some kind of complications, so I don't honestly know [LAUGH] >> I mean and we can always talk offline about your transfer credit and stuff if you wanted to, right? Or Corinne can help probably with that as well. >> Yeah, I'll put a email address in the chat box. And what I would just have you do is send us a question and I'll connect with your advisor and we can kinda look at what's going on with some of that credit. We'd be happy to dig into that for you. >> Okay, thank you. >> Of course.
>> Good question. >> I don't have any questions but thank you guys. >> No problem. And again, if you come up with one, I know Corinne put her email in the chat, mine's up on the screen, right. So if you come up with something else later that's fine too, okay.
>> Yep, thanks. >> No problem. So I guess Corinne that seems to be it. >> Yeah that was wonderful. >> [CROSSTALK] I guess, no problem.
>> Thank you so much. >> No problem. >> And cut the recording and.