What Do Fluid Engineers Do?

B. Turner

Fluid engineers design and maintain fluid-based mechanical systems. They rely heavily on principles of fluid mechanics, engineering, and the natural sciences as they work with mechanical, hydraulic, and pumping systems. A fluid engineer may work in the design field as an engineer or architect. He may also find employment in the drilling field, where he installs and repairs equipment used to extract water, oil, and natural gas from the earth. These professionals may also maintain and repair the equipment used in mining, construction, and similar operations.

Some fluid engineers work on hydroelectric dams.
Some fluid engineers work on hydroelectric dams.

In the design field, fluid engineers may find employment in an engineering firm, power production facility, or manufacturing plant. In these types of jobs, fluid engineers design the hydraulic systems used in major industrial equipment, buildings or power production. For example, a fluid engineering professional employed by an equipment manufacturer may be responsible for designing new equipment, or creating more effective hydraulic and fluid-based operating systems. He may design cranes, excavators and large-scale pumps, relying on his knowledge of fluid mechanics to determine how much fluid is needed and what type will produce the best performance. Fluid design engineers also develop power production systems in hydroelectric plants and similar facilities.

Fluid engineers may manage the repair and maintenance of bulldozers on construction sites.
Fluid engineers may manage the repair and maintenance of bulldozers on construction sites.

In the drilling arena, fluid or mud engineers set up the drilling systems used to remove oil and natural gas from the earth. Drilling fluid plays a major role in this type of operation, and is used to clear the way for the powerful drill bits as it removes cuttings and waste materials from the earth. In this setting, fluid engineers not only set up and install equipment, but also teach other members of the team how to operate and maintain these systems. They track the how fluid impacts pressure and performance deep underground, and take charge of cleaning and maintaining equipment so that it will produce maximize results.

Fluid engineers may also manage the repair and maintenance of large equipment on mining and construction sites. These professionals may be responsible for keeping washing stations or excavators operating at a gold mine, or maintaining cranes, bulldozers and other equipment used in construction and land clearing operations. In this type of position, fluid engineers perform routine maintenance like checking fluid levels and topping off the fluid as needed. They also perform major repairs and diagnostics when equipment malfunctions, which may include something as simple as replacing a damaged hose or gasket to a job as complex as rebuilding an entire hydraulic operating system.

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