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Mechanical Engineering

Looking for a career that lets you design and control mechanical devices and thermal systems? From wheelchairs to solar collectors to refrigerators, you could make your living on the forefront of mechanical innovation. Developing new technologies to help people thrive and live fuller lives.

If that sounds like you, then it’s time to consider a mechanical engineering concentration from Dordt University. Yes, you’ll develop new ways to help people. But you’ll also learn how your faith weaves into every aspect of your career.

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Program Overview

In the mechanical engineering concentration, you'll explore and improve technologies to move energy and information. Whether you’re developing microprocessors or electric power grids, you’ll be ready to do important, meaningful work.

State-of-the-art labs. Dedicated faculty. Stellar internship opportunities. It’s all here for you at Dordt. And when you leave, you won’t simply impact the world as a mechanical engineer. You’ll impact it as someone ready to serve Christ through every aspect of your work.

A Top Undergraduate Engineering Program

Dordt's engineering program was listed as a top program within the "Undergraduate Engineering Programs (No Doctorate)" list by U.S. News and World Report. To qualify, a school must have an undergraduate engineering program accredited by ABET.

What You'll Learn

As an engineering major, you’ll take foundational classes in math and science. You’ll work with classmates on practical, real-world projects. And you’ll apply new tools and technologies to your assignments and internships. Coursework includes focused classes such as machine design, computational mechanics, and sustainable energy systems design.

What You Can Do With A Mechanical Engineering Emphasis

When it comes to mechanical engineering, you can choose from a variety of different career options such as the ones listed below. Whatever you choose to do, with your identity firmly rooted in Christ, you’ll be equipped to live out your faith every day.

Mechanical Engineer

A Mechanical Engineer develops different types of power-producing machines and systems.

Aerospace Engineer

An Aerospace Engineer designs different types of aircraft and space related machines and makes sure they meet necessary principles.

Automotive Engineer

Automotive Engineers design and assemble different vehicles, vehicle parts, and systems.

Students who choose the mechanical engineering emphasis will complete 12 engineering courses and one elective from a selection of engineering options. This coursework will include at least four additional credit hours of lab work.

  • Dynamics: A mechanics course that examines the kinematics and kinetic analysis of particle systems and rigid bodies.
  • Mechanics of Materials: A solid mechanics course that examines the stresses, strains, and deformations that develop when various loads (tension, compression, torsion, bending, or any combination of these loads) are applied to deformable bodies. Elements of structural design are introduced using safety factors and failure criteria for ductile materials. The mechanics design laboratory provides an introduction to experimental methods, hands-on experience applying and using strain gages and investigating beam loading, and an introduction to finite-element analysis (FEA) software.
  • Mechatronics and Instrumentation: An introduction to engineering mechatronics with applications of engineering measurement, data acquisition, instrumentation, sensors, actuators, digital and analog signal fundamentals, automatic control, and other electro-mechanical system interfacing.
  • Thermal-Chemical Systems: Engineering thermodynamics applied to chemical, energy, and environmental systems. Students will study cycles and efficiencies, mixtures and solutions, chemical reactions, chemical and phase equilibrium, combustion thermodynamics, availability analysis, gas mixtures and psychrometrics, and thermal-fluid systems analysis. Applications to chemical reactors, combustion systems, emissions measurement, efficiency assessment, and indoor/outdoor air quality will be explored.
  • Fluid Mechanics: A comprehensive, introductory course in fluid mechanics covering: hydrostatics; control volume approach to the continuity, momentum, and energy equations; dimensional analysis, similitude, and modeling; introductory boundary layer theory; fluid drag and lift; flow through conduits, pumps and compressors; and hydraulics and open channel flow. All students participate in team design projects involving design of water supply, irrigation, air handling system, or other complex fluid dynamics system.
  • Heat Transfer: Studies of the three modes of heat transfer (conduction, convection, and radiation) with application to heat exchangers. Computer methods are used extensively for heat transfer design and analysis. A formal heat exchanger design project is included in this course.
  • Thermal-Fluids Lab I: A fluid mechanics and advanced thermodynamics lab with an emphasis on experimental design, the acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of data, along with technical communication and report writing.
  • Thermal-Fluids Lab II: A thermal-fluids and heat transfer lab with an emphasis on experimental design, the acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of data, along with technical communication and report writing.
  • Machine Design: A senior-level design course in the analysis and design of machine elements. The first half of the course covers materials processing; stress-strain analysis; as well as failure criteria for static and dynamic loading. The second half of the course applies these fundamentals to the specification and design of several machine elements such as, shafts, bearings, gears, springs, fasteners, clutches, brakes, and slider cranks, four-bar linkages, cams. Students will complete an open-ended mechanical design project. Familiarity with computer software capable of solving iterative design problems is required.
  • Sustainable Energy Systems Design: A senior-level design course that focuses on designing energy systems for conservation, sustainability, and efficiency. Methods of auditing energy utilization and design principles for energy conservation are addressed as are solar and renewable energy technologies for meeting residential, commercial, and industrial energy needs. A variety of computer tools will be used for system analysis. A design studio component may incorporate tours, community service projects, and design projects relating to energy utilization and conservation.
  • Dynamic Systems and Process Control: A study of the dynamics and automatic control of systems. Topics include dynamic system modeling, feedback, steady-state operation, transient response, root loci, state-space representation, frequency response, stability criteria, and compensation. A variety of system types are modeled and analyzed, including mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, thermal, and chemical systems. Structured modeling approaches using Laplace transform methods and state equations are explored.
  • Control Systems Lab: A laboratory course in the dynamic modeling and automatic control of mechanical and electrical systems.
  • Process Control Lab: A laboratory course in the dynamic modeling and automatic control of thermo-chemical processes.
  • Computational Mechanics: A senior-level computational modeling and design course focused on the application of finite element analysis (FEA) and other computer simulation tools for stress, deflection, thermal, kinematic, or dynamic modeling.
  • Structural Analysis: A study of the analysis of trusses, beams, and framed structures. Students will learn how to determine loads on structures, including dead loads, live loads, and environmental loads. Shear, moment, and deflected shape diagrams will be considered. Deformation calculations, approximate analysis methods, flexibility methods, and stiffness methods for the analysis of indeterminate beams and frames will be considered. Influence lines for determinate and indeterminate beams will be introduced.
  • Biomechanics: An introduction to applying the principles of mechanical engineering – primarily solid mechanics and dynamics – to living systems. The course will focus on the biomechanics of human movement, particularly the process of inverse dynamics during locomotion, and also on the mechanical properties of biological tissues. Open-ended project work will be a significant component of the course. No prior biological knowledge will be assumed.
  • Introduction to Power System Analysis: An introduction to the design, planning, and operation of electric power utilities. Includes principles of economic dispatch and politics that impact design and operating strategies. Topics include power transmission lines, transformers, generators, system modeling, load flow
    analysis, faults, and system stability.

*Students interested in a mechanical engineering concentration with an interdisciplinary mechatronics concentration may substitute three courses from Engineering 204, 304, 322, 323 for Engineering 300, 303, 312, 313, 350.

See the course catalog for more information.

Mechatronics Option

Students who are passionate about robots and other computer controlled systems should consider taking the alternative mechatronics engineering track for the mechanical engineering concentration. Mechatronics engineers use their knowledge of mechanical and electrical engineering to design systems such as anti-lock breaks or industrial robots that will be used in vehicles or factories. As technology continues to advance and our world continues to shift toward automation, mechatronics engineers will play an important role in fueling that development.

See the course catalog for more information.
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Faculty

With experience in a variety of fields, our faculty members are equipped and ready to help you succeed.

Science and Technology Center

While studying mechanical engineering, you'll have the opportunity to spend time in Dordt's Science and Technology Center. Informally known as the "Science Building," the Science and Technology Center is home to labs for mechanical engineering, electronics, electrical engineering, and computer-aided design.

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Student Stories

Dordt students and alumni use their gifts to make a difference in the world. Check out their stories to see how Defender Nation lives out our mission to work effectively toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life.

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Connected by Jesus

Steven Delawyer

Steven's education from Dordt not only prepared him with the knowledge he needed for any engineering position but also shaped him into a conscientious steward.

Steven Delawyer

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A picture of Nicholas Kuperus

Emotional Engineering

Nicholas Kuperus

During his time at Dordt, Nicholas learned invaluable skills that prepared him to enter the field of engineering and grew in many areas, especially in his spiritual life.

Nicholas Kuperus

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