mechanical engineering requires physics? (solved)

Yes, mechanical engineering requires physics and here is how.

Does mechanical engineering require physics?

Mechanical engineering is it pure physic major,  the principal subjects that mechanical engineering studies involved physics and math.  so if you aren’t good or have a solid foundation in physics mechanical engineering will be very hard for you.

 mechanical engineering studies a lot of physics subjects the principal ones are:

  • Kinematics
  • Mechanics statics
  • fluid mechanics
  • thermodynamics
  • mechanics of materials

Also to study this subject you need to be good at math, especially calculus. In general mechanical engineer study advanced math calculus especially calculus 3 which includes some important subject mechanical engineering use such as:

  • lagrangian
  • Gibbs notation
  • tensor 
  • Stokes equation

So it is a domain that is heavy in math and physics. For this reason, you must have solid basics in mathematics, especially calculus, and in physics courses like physics 1 and physics 2.

5 principal physics subjects that mechanical engineering study

1 – kinematics

Kinematics is subject to responsible to study moving objects like how cars are moving, their trajectory, and their accelerations. In kinematics, you will study the first and second laws of Newton That bass on studying the motion of objects.

 kinematic is a pure Physics subject, So you will be treating with a lot of  physic rules that relate about:

  •  determining the speed of objects
  •  determining the acceleration of an object
  •  finding the relation between speed and acceleration
  •  gravitation  Laws that relate to a wait enforce

In addition, Dynamics has a lot of math subjects, especially calculus, so you will be needing a lot of calculus rules like derivatives integrals and limits.

For instance, if you have the speed of a car and do you want to determine its acceleration you will need to use calculus especially derivative.  That is to say, you will be derivating The speed equation of a car or any other object moving.

exactly you will be using this equation 

a = dv/dt 

a is an acceleration

dv is speed variation 

dt is time variation

2 – Mechanics statics

the second and principal physic subject that mechanical engineers study is statics, which is determining the law physics of a fixed or non-mobile object like:

  • Bridge
  • Building
  • desk, etc

In other words, you will be studying the all responsible forces that make a bridge or a building stand out without collapsing. In this case, you will be using and focusing a lot on algebra subject which is vectors.

In mechanics statics, you will need to apply a lot of physics and math, especially the newton laws and friction laws.

Principally you will be dealing with the 3  principal physics mechanics Statics subjects:

  • Types of external loads 
  • types of structural supports
  • equilibrium of an object and its equations 

in statics mechanics, mechanical engineers study the following subjects:

  • Forces 
  • Couple
  •  Moment 
  • Static Equivalency
  •  Equilibrium
  • Newton Laws
  •  Inertia  F=m.a 
  •  Pa = – Pr 
  • Parallelogram law 
  •  Principle of transmissibility Free Body Diagrams
  • Free Body Diagrams
  •  Mathematical Models 
  • Principles of physics
  • Internal Forces/Effects 
  •  Axial Force  
  • Shear Force
  •   Bending Moment
  •  External Forces/Effects  C
  • concentrated Force  Distributed Forces 
  •  Friction Supports/Connections  
  • Roller Support  
  • Pinned Support 
  •  Fixed Support
  • Center of gravity
  •  Moment of Inertia
  •  Virtual work

3 – fluid mechanics

In fluid mechanics, you will study all systems that run with oil or water. you will learn how oil can lift tons of weights and understand the concepts of how oil flow in conduct. Or learn how to design effective colling systems like in cars

Also understanding how the pressure and how pressure change according to volume and other parameters.

Fluid mechanics is a field full of math and physics, you will be using a lot of calculus. So you need to be good at calculus and prepare for it before going into mechanical engineering.

in fluid mechanics students study theses follwoing subjects:

fluid properties:  properties of fluids and the continuum hypothesis as a principal introduction to thermodynamics and dimensional analysis

Vector calculus: Symbolic or Gibbs notation and index notation, tensors and tensor operations, integral formulas.

 Kinematics: Lagrangian and Eulerian descriptions, stream, path and streak lines, deformation and deformations-rate tensors, vorticity and circulation.

 Conservation laws: Conservation of mass, momentum, and energy, introduction to Newtonian and non-Newtonian rheologies, derivation of Navier-Stokes equation. 

Analytic solutions: Pressure driven (Poiseuille) flows, plane and circular Couette flows, double falling film, impulsively started plate (Stokes’ first problem, the Rayleigh problem), oscillating plate (Stokes’ second problem), diffusion of a vortex sheet, decay of line vortex (Oseen vortex). 

you will find  some new mathematics topics like:

  • lagrangian
  • Gibbs notation
  • tensor 
  • Stokes equation

you will find the explanation of all these topics in this article

4 – thermodynamics

Thermodynamics is a field that mechanical engineers and physicists focus on a lot, but mechanical engineers study thermodynamics, especially in these principals areas:

  • heat and transfer to study how objects are changing the energy, for example designing car radiators
  • the first law of thermodynamics
  • the second law of thermodynamics
  • Gaz nature
  • entropy, the science of chaos 
  • energy cycle tronsofamtions, hot the energy get transformed 
  • Properties of a System
  • State and Equilibrium
  • Processes and Cycles
  • the relation between pressure, temperature energy
  • moles and gas laws
  • Maxwell Boltzmann distribution

thermodynamics is very important for students who are interested to study and design rooms’ combustion for rockets or planes.

in thermodynamics, you will go deeper into the theoretical part and other topics. This subject is one of the most confusing and hard physics subjects that students study in mechanical engineering

5 – mechanics of materials

The vibration and wave module is a domain that mechanical engineers use to test their product, normally before releasing or approving a product mechanical engineers do the following tests.

  • shock testing
  • Tensile testing
  • Fatigue testing
  • flexibility testing

In the mechanics of materials module, you will study also physics implementing a lot of calculus. it is a subject that consists of making a lot of derivatives and solving differential equations.


Yassin ajanif is a physics graduate and electromechanical engineer width more than 5 years in the field. My goal and my team are to share our experience to help you succeed in your career as a stem major. we talk about all tips, problems, and struggle STEM students face in their career and how to overcome them.