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Is anyone skilled in metallurgical engineering? Answered

*Yes, I know, another question involving college and my future life.*

I am kind of split between mechanical engineer and metallurgical engineer. They both have some great benefits and trades that I'd love to go into, but it's difficult deciding which would be better for me.

I do aspire, no matter what field I go into, to weld and do other metalworking, although I don't just want to weld for people. I know it sounds weird, but I like to take the time to know about what I am working on, and not work at "face value", if you will.

So, any mechanical or metallurgical engineers who want to try to sway me one way or another, please do so now. ;-) Thanks,




10 years ago

Mechanical engineering (and these days, electrical engineering) is far more general purpose than metallurgical engineering. You can easily be a mechanical engineer specialized in metalworking or metallurgy, but it wouldn't make much sense to label someone a metallurgist who "specializes in mechanical engineering". By the way, metalworking is not necessarily the same as metallurgy. One specifies the medium in which you prefer to work, the other deals with the physics and chemistry of that medium. Similar to being a painter versus being a specialist on pigments.

Ohh damn tough choice indeed, I was tempted by metallurgy but mech eng. is winning and if I can get on the course motorsport engineering is what I want to do, means moving to Oxford though...

Hello Brian. I will give you the input of an "old graybeard" metallurgist. I started out my college career in mechanical engineering. Great field. The widest variety of possible professional positions doing everything because all things need design and that's what mechanical engineers do. In my junior year I took my first course in metallurgy and "fell in love". Now I must add that some 35 years later I found that my last name Jerner comes from Swedish. Jern in Swedish means "low carbon steel or iron" (so it may be that I was programmed by my ancestors to be a "metallurgist". I went on to get a BS and MS in metallurgical engineering and a Ph.D. in Metallurgy. Metallurgists do more than welding and welding design. Metallurgists and metallurgical engineers do everything from "winning the metal from the ore" to secondary recovery. I taught at the University of Oklahoma for 11 years and then went out into the business world as a consultant. There are very few metallurgists/metallurgical engineers graduated each year. I do not know the present statistics but back when I was teaching there were only from 600 to 950 BS's in Metallurgical Engineering awarded each year. The year I received my Ph.D. there were only about 10-12 Ph.D.'s in Metallurgy/Metallurgical Engineering awarded that year. This makes for "few and far between" and very good for consulting opportunities. Most companies today only need a Metallurgical Engineer very rarely and thus many Metallurgical Engineers become consultants and each and every day you are working on a different project. I do Litigation Consulting. That is, after an accident, (truck, automobile, air plane, cranes, anything made from metal) there will be "broken metal" (or plastic/non-metallic). The question is did the metal break and cause the accident or did the accident cause the metal to break?? That's what I do. For more info go to www.metallurgist.com or for much more detail of the type of accidents that I have worked on for the past 40 years go to www.metallurgist.com/CV Hope this helps. R. Craig Jerner, Ph.D., PE

So my University offers three tracks for Mech. Engineers 1. Mechanical Systems 2. Energy Systems 3. Materials And keep in mind... You can always do graduate work in materials sciences. Personally, I'm doing mechanical systems - but I really enjoyed my materials classes :)

I would suggest mech. engineering. You could be part of a r&d; team that is in the shop all day long.

what does a mechanical engineer do? Do they like make engines or bikes or stuff like that? Welding is always needed, buildings go up every day, countries keep on making taller and taller buildings just so they can say they have it, which includes thousands of welders. but welding all day, you'll get hot.

From what I can tell, if it is made, and it moves, a mechanical engineer designed it. They do engines, boats, transportation etc.. True, welding is needed, but I'm not sure if a straight-up welding job is right for me. All I know is, I don't want to be stuck in front of a desk all day. I want to get my hands dirty, if you will.

Well, to my knowledge, engineers do the thinking / paperwork (computer work) most of the time. Now, not that they don't "try or experiment" with things ( For instance.... )


Reply 10 years ago

Thanks, btw!