Mechanical engineering is a branch of engineering that combines physics and mathematics principles with materials science in order to design, analyse, manufacture, and maintain mechanical systems. It is one of the oldest and broadest of the engineering branches and is a very wide discipline due to, in part, its need to cover the design and manufacture of almost everything in a moving system.
This design and manufacture can range from a system’s smallest components up to the completed, sometimes huge, machine as a whole. Throughout history, some specific inventions and innovations have come to define mechanics and the modern machine as we know it, from the most simple of components to intricate mechanisms. Here we are going to outline 10 mechanical engineering innovations that have truly helped define mechanics as we know it today and are integral to the work we do ourselves at CAL International.
1. Wheel and Axle
There are very few innovations that have had as much influence as the wheel and axle in mechanical engineering and the modern world would definitely look very different without them. The first depictions of wheeled vehicles to appear date to around 4000BC on an earthward Bronocice pot from Poland which depicts a wagon with four wheels set on two axles.
The earliest actual evidence of a physical wheel-axle combination comes from Slovenia and is dated to around 3360-3030 BC.
The invention of the wheel and axle literally changed the world, and has been an enduring feature of human transport devices for the past 6,000 years, and is likely to remain so well into the future.
Windmills are able to convert wind power into useful mechanical energy using large ‘sails’ to impart a rotational force to the main shaft. This can then be used to do work, making it an incredibly ingenious device.
The Persians were some of the first people to harness the power of the wind to do work when they began building early forms of windmills around the 7th Century AD. These early windmills consisted of sails radiating from a vertical axis within a building, with two large openings for the inlet and outlet of wind, diametrically opposite each other. The mills were used to directly drive single pairs of millstones without the use of gears.
Pulleys are one or a number of wheels on an axle or shaft that supports the movement and a change of direction of a cable or belt that is (usually) taut. They transfer power between the shaft and cable and provide a mechanical advantage that is ideal for lifting heavy objects. They come in various types including:
– A fixed pulley – an axle mounted on bearings attached to a support structure
Motors are electronic machines that convert electrical current into rotational movement, most commonly working through the interaction between a magnetic field and current to generate a force.
Ampere’s Force Law is the basic principle behind electric motors and was first described by Ampere in 1820. One of the first practical motors was created by Hungarian physicist, Anyos Jedlik in 1828.
Motors can be found in a wide variety of applications, including power tools, industrial fans and computer disk drives.
These 10 mechanical engineering inventions are just a few of many amazing innovations which have shaped mechanical engineering as we know it today, and ultimately the way we live our lives. Mechanical engineers and engineering organisations such as ourselves at CAL International use many of these ancient engineering principles and simple devices which have stood the test of time on a daily basis to design and manufacture many modern systems and engineering solutions.
CAL International are modern engineering consultancy that combines high-quality traditional engineering principles with cutting edge technology to provide innovative solutions.
For more information about our services or to begin your next engineered project, contact us today by;
calling +44 (0)151 315 0490