Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringINTRODUCTION
Mechanical Engineering covers the broadest range of engineering amongst all related disciplines. It is associated with energy generation and distribution; renewable energy systems; transportation (air, sea, land); water supply and sewage distribution; built environments; environmental engineering; precision engineering; engineering materials design, testing, and production; engineering mechanics and dynamics; design and manufacture of engineering components and systems; sensors and actuators, and robots. Examples of aspects of mechanical engineering which have transformed our society include air-conditioning systems, wind turbines, novel material coatings, offshore structures, automobiles, aeroplanes, rockets, ships and submersibles, material handling systems, and robots.

As a large branch of Mechanical Engineering and other engineering disciplines, Aerospace engineering deals with the design, development, construction, testing and all technological aspects of flying objects, vehicles and systems, such as aircrafts and spacecrafts. It includes broad disciplines of aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering, covering the operation of these vehicles both within the earth’s atmosphere and outside it.

Nowadays, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering embraces many hi-tech areas such as:
  • Silicon-based sensors and actuators in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS)
  • Micro-fluidics for chemical and biological mixing Robotics and system control for system automation
  • Advanced materials and their manufacture, such as biomaterials, photovoltaic materials, composite materials, coating materials
  • New energy systems such as battery, fuel cell, wind and wave energy
  • Intelligent green buildings with sensor networks and low carbon footprints. Advanced heating and cooling systems for a wide range of applications
  • Environmental monitoring, treatment and control
  • LED lighting systems and advanced lighting distribution systems
  • Green aviation with low energy consumption wing design and propulsion systems
  • Manufacture and packaging of computer chips, disk drives, biomedical devices. Design and manufacture of precision engineering systems
  • Advanced transportation systems such as high speed trains and yachts
  • Computer-aided-engineering and information systems to support design, analysis, manufacturing, and management of production systems.
  • 5-axis machining of parts with complex geometry such as turbine blades
  • Rocket and space launch vehicle technology.
  • Smart intelligent aircraft structures, morphing structures.
  • Aerodynamics and propulsion for vehicles.
  • Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and drone.

In practice, mechanical and aerospace engineers conceive, plan, design and direct the manufacture, distribution, and operation of a wide variety of devices, machines, systems used for energy conversion, environmental control, materials processing, transportation on land and in space, and consumer products.

In Hong Kong, mechanical and aerospace engineers are in strong demand, covering a wide range of sectors, including utilities, transportation, infrastructure, the built-environment, environmental planning and treatment, precision design and manufacturing, and automation. Mechanical and aerospace engineers not only participate in the technological side of the operation but also take up strategic planning, management, investment and leadership position within the organization. The career of the mechanical and aerospace engineer is global. While starting their initial training and exposure in Hong Kong, they can then be engaged in projects locally, regionally, and beyond. Typically young engineers will move into project management within five years and then into senior management within ten years. They could be managing significant international projects, or in strategic management, or even be successful entrepreneurs.

In the light of Hong Kong being the Asian aviation hub and rapid expansion of the aerospace industry in Asia-Pacific region, aerospace engineers have tremendous opportunities not only in Hong Kong, but also in the Mainland China and the Asia Pacific Region. Hong Kong as the major hub for air transportation has four major airlines and a strong presence of many related companies, such as HAECO, HAESL, CASL, Boeing and Rolls Royce. All of these businesses have strong demand for graduate engineers. In line with that the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers has worked with the industry to set up a recognized training scheme for aircraft engineers.

The broad coverage of mechanical and aerospace engineering applications has given its practitioners a bright and promising future. These new applications have demonstrated the exciting evolution of mechanical and aerospace engineering as a driver of new innovations and the entrepreneurial spirit.