Metals & Electronics

Engineering is the use of science and math to design or make things. People who do engineering are called engineers. They learn engineering at a college or university. Engineers usually design or build things. Some engineers also use their skills to solve technical problems. There are different types of engineers that design everything from computers and buildings to watches and websites.

Engineering is a big subject. Here are a few of the many types of engineers:

  • Aerospace engineers design space vehicles or airplanes.
  • Biomedical engineers design and work with medical equipment.
  • Chemical engineers use chemicals to make products like drugs and medicines or fertilizers for crops.
  • Civil engineers work on roads, bridges, buildings and other public structures.
  • Computer engineers design and build computers and the parts that computers are made of.
  • Electrical engineers work with electricity and design electrical equipment, from small things like radios and computers to large things like the wires that carry electricity across the country.
  • Electronic engineers work with electronics, which are used to build computer parts and electrical equipment.
  • Environmental engineers design and implement solutions to remediate and restore the environment.
  • Manufacturing engineers design and improve the machines and assembly lines that make things. They work with robots, hydraulics and air-operated devices to help companies work faster and better with fewer mistakes.
  • Mechanical engineers design machines or things that move, like cars and trains. A mechanical engineer also might help design electricity generating stations, oil refineries, and factories.
  • Mechatronics engineers work in multiple fields of engineering that include mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, telecommunications engineering, control engineering and computer engineering.
  • Marine Engineers design, build, test and repair boats, ships, underwater craft, focusing primarily on their internal systems.
  • Nanotechnology engineers study very small things, like strings of atoms and how they are put together.
  • Nuclear engineers design and build nuclear plants. They also study the characteristic behaviors of certain radioactive or unstable elements.
  • Structural engineers are dealing with design and analysis of buildings and large non-building structures to withstand both the gravity and wind loads as well as natural disasters.
  • Software engineers design and write programs for computers.
  • Systems engineers look at how complicated things work and try to make them faster and smarter.

Engineers do not only work with machines. They also work a lot with other people. Many engineering projects are large and very complicated. Often different kinds of engineers work together and help each other. As an example, computer engineers need help from electrical engineers to build a computer. The computer needs programs written by software engineers. The computer could be used by aerospace engineers to control an airplane. An airplane is a big mechanical system with many parts, so a mechanical engineer and a systems engineer are also needed.

Electronic devices have many electronic components such as - resistors, capacitors, coils of wire called inductors, integrated circuits, connection wires and circuit boards.

Older devices used glass or metal vacuum tubes to control the flow of electricity. With these components a low power voltage can be used to change another, and that's why they are useful in amplifiers and switches.

By the late 1960's and early 1970's the transistor and semiconductor began replacing vacuum tubes. Transistors can be made much smaller than vacuum tubes and they can work using less energy.

At about the same time, integrated circuits (circuits that have a large numbers of very small transistors placed on very thin slices of silicon) became commonly used. Integrated circuits made it possible to reduce the number of parts needed to make electronic products and made the products much cheaper in general.

People interested in physics study how and why these electronic components work, and in addition they discover, invent, or improve them.

People who design, construct and maintain electronic components and circuits are called electrical engineers. They work in electrical, electronics and computer engineering .