There are several types of engineering : civil, chemical, mineral, among others. This diversification is due to the great breadth of this discipline. The word “engineering” dates back several centuries, specifically to the times of ancient civilizations, which were characterized by their great constructions. It has its origin in the Latin word ‘ingenium’, which means ingenuity.
The first definition of engineering was made by Thomas Tredgold in 1828. The engineer and writer defined it as the way to direct great energy resources of nature so that they can be used at the convenience of man.
In a very general way, it can be said that it is a science that is oriented to the study and application of technology in order to satisfy the needs of man.
On the other hand, it can also be said that this profession makes use of both mathematical and natural sciences, which are learned through study, experience and practice, in order to develop ways in which those who can use materials and forces of nature for the benefit of people.
Engineering must diversify by obligation in order to fulfill its function of applying scientific knowledge for the development of technological solutions to practical problems. Regarding the most outstanding fields, 11 types of engineering are distinguished.
The 11 types of engineering and their characteristics
1- Civil engineering
Civil engineering is one of the broadest branches. This covers the field that goes from the structures, the construction and the administration of works to the transport, hydraulics, geotechnics, environment and topography.
The professional in this area is in charge of carrying out feasibility, projection and management studies, as well as inspection, construction of works, operation and maintenance of structures.
Among the tasks of a civil engineer are to be in charge of civil works such as resistant structures, buildings, houses, bridges, sewers, among others. But also hydraulic, road and rail works.
It is also dedicated to urban planning works and others related to river, maritime and air navigation. On the other hand, civil engineering is also the branch that deals with hydrological, seismic and other studies related to the mechanics of soils and rocks, among others.
2- Mineral engineering
One of the oldest fields of engineering is that which has to do with mining and metallurgy. This branch comprises four subfields: mining engineering, metallurgical engineering, petroleum engineering, and ceramic engineering.
This field of mineral engineering is one that includes all aspects of mining extraction: exploration, location, development and operation of these.
The objective of this work is the drilling and obtaining of fossil fuels such as lignite, coal, metallic ores of copper, iron, silver, gold, among others. But also the extraction of other minerals such as bauxite, borax, sulfur, calcite, among others.
To carry out this work it is necessary to have scientific knowledge and special training in the use of equipment such as seismographs and geophysical devices, as well as heavy and complex machinery.
Professionals in this area must be trained to carry out tasks of management, organization and execution of search for deposits and exploitation of reserves, among many other things.
Metallurgical engineering comprises two broader areas which are, extractive metallurgy and physical metallurgy. The first is the one in charge of producing metals from the ore extracted from the mine.
To carry out this procedure, mechanical, thermal and chemical processes are used. Mechanical processes are carried out to eliminate undesirable materials that accompany the mineral. And later in order to obtain the pure metal, elements such as fire or electricity are used
The second area is physical metallurgy. This is the process in which metal alloys are obtained from the refined metal produced in extractive metallurgy. These alloys have special physical properties thanks to the procedures to which they are subjected.
This engineering is the one in charge of all the work that includes crude oil and natural gas. This field is specifically dedicated to the exploration, drilling and production of these two elements, but also their storage and transportation.
It is worth noting that the refining and processing of oil and its derivative products are no longer part of petroleum engineering but rather chemical engineering.
A petroleum engineer must take care of everything that concerns the drilling of wells. From the location and mapping of the oil formations to the decision of the site where the drilling will take place.
It is one that is applied to the products obtained as a consequence of the processing of non-metallic minerals and by their treatment at high temperatures. Experts in this area can perform in virtually any activity that requires the creation of objects resistant to high temperatures.
An example of these items can be spark plugs for internal combustion engines, jet engine parts, grinding wheels, fire bricks, window glass, tableware, etc.
Ceramic engineers are responsible for the formulation, grinding and mixing of the starting materials, as well as the molding of the paste obtained. From this it is that the objects can be obtained with the desired shapes.
The specialist in this area is basically responsible for the entire process: from the design and operation of the equipment, to obtaining the final product.
3- Chemical engineering
Chemical Engineering is the branch that is responsible for everything that has to do with the production of compounds and products that for their elaboration requires physical and chemical transformations of the matter that composes them.
It deals with the manufacture of substances on an industrial scale from raw materials. This has a close link with some of the subfields of mineral engineering such as petroleum, ceramics and metallurgy. But it is also related to industrial and food engineering.
Professionals in this area work in a wide variety of industries ranging from chemical products, including drugs, perfumes, cosmetics, salts, insecticides, food additives, etc., to petrochemicals, which include lubricants, fuels, paints, etc. enamels, solvents, synthetic fibers etc.
4- Mechanical engineering
This is the branch of engineering that is responsible for applying the principles of mechanics, physics, materials science, thermodynamics, among others, in the design and analysis of different mechanical systems. That is, in thermal, hydraulic, manufacturing, transport machinery, ventilation systems, among other applications.
The specialist in this field is dedicated to working with both engines and machinery, as well as automobiles, airplanes, heating, ventilation and cooling systems, among others.
In addition, the mechanical engineer is a professional who is trained to carry out activities such as study, planning, construction, direction, installation, operation, maintenance, repair and inspection of thermal and mechanical systems. It is also dedicated to the development of new processes and technologies.
5- Electrical engineering
Electrical engineering is the branch that is responsible for the generation, transmission and distribution of electrical energy. The work of the engineers in this field has to do with the supervision of the operation of power generation plants and the voltage change that occurs between the elements of large transmission networks.
Therefore, the professional in this area has the ability to perform in all fields that have to do with the production, transportation and commercialization of electrical energy.
This implies the industries that manufacture components and those that are dedicated to the electrical installations. But they can also be dedicated to the planning and operation of electrical power supply systems.
6- Electronic engineering
Electronic engineering is related in a way to electrical engineering. Both engineering firms are in charge of the study of the electrical phenomenon, as well as of the mathematical and physical foundations, the study of electromagnetism, circuit theory and project planning.
However, electronic engineering focuses on the study of the use of electrical energy for the transmission, reception and processing of information. This means that it is the basis for other sub-branches such as telecommunication engineering, computer engineering and automatic control engineering.
The specialist in this field uses electronics to solve some engineering problems such as the transformation of electricity, so that telecommunications devices work, the control of industrial processes, telecommunications, among others.
7- Food engineering
Food engineering, also known as food engineering, is the branch that is responsible for studying the way in which raw materials for human consumption can be transformed to become products that have a longer useful life.
They do this through processes that comprise food chemistry, physics, and biology. The objective of this field is to ensure that these materials can be preserved for longer without this implying a loss of their nutritional value.
The tasks of the professional in this branch have to do with the improvement of the food supply, specifically with regard to three aspects: quantity, quality and cost. It is worth noting that food engineering can be developed in a wide variety of fields.
8- Industrial engineering
Industrial engineering is responsible for the entire process that has to do with the production of goods or services.
The professional in this area is dedicated to the development of cost control and reduction programs, process design, value analysis, human productivity, material handling, information systems, work evaluation, among many others.
This branch develops in various fields such as method engineering, cost studies, quality control, human resources, economic engineering, and information.
9- Sound engineering
Sound engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with studying the sound phenomenon. This involves all fields of application of this such as acoustics, electroacoustics, recording and production, sound reinforcement and the design of electroacoustic systems.
This branch interacts with other disciplines such as physics, mathematics, electronics, computer science, musical grammar, among others.
The professional in this area must have both artistic, scientific and technological training, since only then can they offer solutions to transdisciplinary problems.
In addition, they must be able to have a broad and unifying perspective that allows them to understand, transform, create and manage projects around the sound phenomenon, all from a scientific-technological perspective.
10- Military engineering
This branch of engineering is the one that has to do with the application of engineering principles and techniques to different military situations.
It is in charge of supporting both the combat and logistics activities of the armies. This is done through an MCP system, acronyms that stand for mobility, counter-mobility and protection.
Among the tasks of professionals in this area, who must be military, is the construction of bridges, walkways, minefields, shelters, fortifications and tasks of water supply, communications and transportation, among many others. But not only this.
Military engineering consists not only in the creation but also in the destruction of any element that can facilitate the advance of the enemy. By doing this, defensive power is increased.
11- Systems engineering
This is a branch of engineering that deals with the development of information systems and technologies. To achieve this, you must make use of a specific IT infrastructure. Systems engineering differs from other branches of this field as it does not deal with tangible products but with logical products.
For this, professionals in the area must have different notions, especially mathematics. Since only then can they translate their ideas in a practical way in real life.
- Alunni, J. (No date). Definition of engineering. Chair: Fundamentals of Engineering. Recovered from ing.unne.edu.ar.
- Introduction to Engineering. (without date). Chemical engineering department. FI UNSJ. Branches and functions of engineering. Recovered from fi.unsj.edu.ar.