Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more specialized fields of engineering, each with a more specific emphasis on particular areas of applied mathematics, applied science, and types of application. See glossary of engineering.
The term engineering is derived from the Latin ingenium, meaning “cleverness” and ingeniare, meaning “to contrive, devise”.
The American Engineers’ Council for Professional Development (ECPD, the predecessor of ABET) has defined “engineering” as:
The creative application of scientific principles to design or develop structures, machines, apparatus, or manufacturing processes, or works utilizing them singly or in combination; or to construct or operate the same with full cognizance of their design; or to forecast their behavior under specific operating conditions; all as respects an intended function, economics of operation and safety to life and property.
Engineering is a broad discipline that is often broken down into several sub-disciplines. Although an engineer will usually be trained in a specific discipline, he or she may become multi-disciplined through experience. Engineering is often characterized as having four main branches: chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering.
Main article: Chemical engineering
Chemical engineering is the application of physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering principles in order to carry out chemical processes on a commercial scale, such as the manufacture of commodity chemicals, specialty chemicals, petroleum refining, microfabrication, fermentation, and biomolecule production.
Main article: Civil engineering
Civil engineering is the design and construction of public and private works, such as infrastructure (airports, roads, railways, water supply, and treatment etc.), bridges, tunnels, dams, and buildings. Civil engineering is traditionally broken into a number of sub-disciplines, including structural engineering, environmental engineering, and surveying. It is traditionally considered to be separate from military engineering.
Main article: Electrical engineering
Electrical engineering is the design, study, and manufacture of various electrical and electronic systems, such as broadcast engineering, electrical circuits, generators, motors, electromagnetic/electromechanical devices, electronic devices, electronic circuits, optical fibers, optoelectronic devices, computer systems, telecommunications, instrumentation, control systems, and electronics.
Main article: Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is the design and manufacture of physical or mechanical systems, such as power and energy systems, aerospace/aircraft products, weapon systems, transportation products, engines, compressors, powertrains, kinematic chains, vacuum technology, vibration isolation equipment, manufacturing, robotics, turbines, audio equipments, and mechatronics.
Main article: Aerospace engineering
Aerospace engineering studies design, manufacture aircraft, satellites, rockets, helicopters, and so on. It closely studies the pressure difference and aerodynamics of a vehicle to ensure safety and efficiency. Since most of the studies are related to fluids, it is applied to any moving vehicle, such as cars.
Main article: Marine engineering
Marine engineering is associated with anything on or near the ocean. Examples are, but not limited to, ships, submarines, oil rigs, structure, watercraft propulsion, on-board design and development, plants, harbors, and so on. It requires a combined knowledge in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering, and some programming abilities.
Main article: Computer engineering
Computer engineering (CE) is a branch of engineering that integrates several fields of computer science and electronic engineering required to develop computer hardware and software. Computer engineers usually have training in electronic engineering (or electrical engineering), software design, and hardware-software integration instead of only software engineering or electronic engineering.