Bridging Disciplines: The Interdisciplinary Approach of Mechanical Engineering

Bridging Disciplines: The Interdisciplinary Approach of Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineers can often be misunderstood. Their role is seen as technical and linear, with no scope to experience different skill sets. 

However, this is not the case. Mechanical engineering often involves a range of skills and knowledge. Many find it exciting to use ideas from different fields in their work. This mix of knowledge is what makes their work as mechanical engineers rewarding.

Youssef Aoun is a leading mechanical engineer who has created innovative energy solutions for multi-million dollar companies. He has worked in multiple countries and speaks three languages: English, French and Arabic.

He works for Roeslein & Associates, a global engineering, modular fabrication, and industrial plant construction leader.

A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Lebanon, Youssef was inspired to pursue a career in mechanical engineering because he was passionate about maths and physics.

He is also a member of the EDAS review committee, where he peer-reviews scholarly publications in mechanical engineering. 

Here, Youssef discusses how an interdisciplinary approach is integral to developing suitable and practical solutions in various aspects of the mechanical engineering field.

“As a mechanical engineer, I have always been fascinated by the diverse knowledge and skills required in this field. 

It’s a discipline that bridges various areas, allowing engineers like myself to tackle complex problems and develop innovative solutions. This interdisciplinary approach is one of the most exciting aspects of my job.

While I work specifically in the canning industry, this approach can be applied several different fields. 

For example, interdisciplinary collaboration is evident in the field of biomedical engineering. Consider the development of prosthetic limbs. Mechanical engineers work closely with medical professionals and researchers to design and develop prosthetics that mimic the function and movement of natural limbs. 

By collaborating with experts from different disciplines, prosthetics can be ensured to meet the specific needs of individual patients and improve their quality of life.

Another fascinating example of interdisciplinary collaboration in mechanical engineering is in the field of aerospace engineering. 

Designing and building aircraft and spacecraft requires a deep understanding of mechanics, aerodynamics, materials science, and control systems. 

For instance, mechanical engineers work with aerospace engineers, electrical engineers, and materials scientists to optimize the design, reduce weight, improve fuel efficiency, and enhance safety when developing an aircraft. 

By combining the expertise of different disciplines, we can push the boundaries of flight and contribute to advancing aerospace technology.

The automotive industry is another domain where mechanical engineering thrives through interdisciplinary collaboration. Designing and developing safe, fuel-efficient, and technologically advanced vehicles requires the input of experts from various fields. 

Mechanical engineers work closely with electrical, computer, and materials scientists to create innovative features such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), electric powertrains, and lightweight materials. 

This collaboration ensures that vehicles meet stringent safety standards, optimize energy usage, and integrate cutting-edge technologies for a more comfortable and connected driving experience.

The interdisciplinary approach in mechanical engineering extends beyond specific industries or applications. It is embedded in the very essence of our field. 

As mechanical engineers, we are trained to think holistically, considering the interconnectedness of various factors in problem-solving. 

We draw upon physics, mathematics, materials, and computer science knowledge to analyse and design systems. 

As a result of this interdisciplinary mindset, we can tackle complex problems that need a multidimensional approach.

For myself, and I am sure many of my peers, it makes our profession rewarding and interesting.”

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