When most people hear the term “mechanical” or “mechanical engineer,” they immediately think of physical moving parts. Unlike electrical engineering where electricity moving through wires comes to mind, or chemical engineering where you might think of chemical reactions happening in beakers, mechanical engineering is all about designing things to work together to achieve a certain purpose.
The mechanical design of something can span a large variety of categories. There are the static bodies, dynamic bodies, kinematics of the bodies in motion, fluid mechanics, and mechanics of materials. All of these different categories and more need to be considered in a complex mechanical design. It’s not as simple as just coming up with the idea for how one of these categories might work for the desired design. It also requires all of the categories to be evaluated for the design to be completely thought through.
With technology advancing every day, solid modeling, or computer-aided design (CAD), has become much more popular in the world of mechanical engineering. Software has become advanced enough to not only give you the ability to design and continuously adjust your design in an easy manner, but also analyze your design in the categories as discussed earlier.
- Structural Analysis
- Stress/ Strain Analysis
- Fluid Dynamic Analysis
- Mass Properties
In terms of making it easier and faster to go through all of the categories necessary to fully validate a mechanical design, solid modeling software has come a long ways in putting those features right at your fingertips. As you design your product in solid modeling, the software is already preparing for what extra information you may want to know about your design. It is usually as simple as plugging in a material already stored in their database or adding some forces to different parts of your design. With a click of the mouse, you’ve got the material properties that you’ve chosen and a stress analysis of how your design will hold up under forces. With all of the simple ways to check and validate your design by creating it in solid modeling software, mechanical design work can become much more advanced in the years to come.