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Important Mechanical Engineering Contributions

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) has compiled a list of the 20th century's greatest engineering achievements. These include:

  1. Electrification
  2. Automobile
  3. Airplane
  4. Water Supply and Distribution
  5. Electronics
  6. Radio and Television
  7. Agricultural Mechanization
  8. Computers
  9. Telephone
  10. Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
  11. Highways
  12. Spacecraft
  13. Internet
  14. Imaging
  15. Household Appliances
  16. Health Technologies
  17. Petroleum and Petrochemical Technologies
  18. Laser and Fiber Optics
  19. Nuclear Technologies
  20. High Performance Materials

This list underlines the importance of the mechanical engineering profession to modern human civilization. Eight of these technologies (Automobile, Airplane, Agricultural Mechanization, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Spacecraft, Household Appliances, Nuclear Technologies, High-performance Materials) were the primary responsibility of mechanical engineers and mechanical engineering. Five others (Electrification, Water Supply and Distribution, Highways, Imaging, Health Technologies, Petroleum and Petrochemical Technologies) involve major contributions from mechanical engineers. Finally, mechanical engineers have played a primary historical role in the development of computer technologies through their work with analog computers.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has compiled a similar list of technologies, inventions, and processes developed primarily by mechanical engineers:

  1. Agricultural Mechanization
  2. Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
  3. Airplane
  4. Automobile
  5. Bioengineering
  6. Bottle Manufacturing
  7. Codes and Standards
  8. Food Processing
  9. Glass Manufacturing
  10. Integrated Circuit Mass Production
  11. Numerically Controlled Machines and Robotics
  12. Paper Converting
  13. Plastic Manufacturing
  14. Power Generation
  15. Ribbon Machine
  16. Xerography
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