There are a variety of applications of technical writing in engineering, including writing reports for other experts in the field, students of engineering and the general public. As with other types of technical writing, the purpose of the writing and the intended audience are crucial to the detail and vocabulary used within it. In the field of engineering, there are multiple types of technical writing, ranging from research studies for highly technical engineering journals to reports and articles written for the general public.
One application of technical writing in engineering is the writing of papers, such as laboratory reports and project reports, for other people who are experts in engineering. These reports contain technical terms frequently used and widely understood in the field of engineering and are not intended for more general audiences. Reports and research studies for engineering journals also would be included in this category. The people reading these reports and studies already would know field-specific terms, so these words would not need to be defined or explained.
Students in engineering programs require another type of technical writing in engineering. The textbooks and materials used in their engineering courses are forms of technical writing and likely will need to be written on a simpler level than writing aimed at experts in the field. Their textbooks should contain detailed explanations of engineering concepts written in the language of the field along with definitions and explanations of complex terms and procedures. These materials would be more detailed and explanatory than writing for experts in the field would be, but they also would contain more engineering jargon and field-specific words than writing for the general public would. Diagrams and charts are likely to accompany these types of materials, as they are with much writing about engineering.
A final application of technical writing in engineering is the type of writing meant for the general public. This could include articles written for general audiences and reports to be given to and presented to people who do not specialize in engineering. An engineering company trying to win a bid on a contract so it could construct a bridge for a town, for example, might write a more technical and specialized report on the potential project for internal use within the company. They alternately might write a less complex and more explanatory report for presentation to a town council and members of the public so they could explain in simple terms how the bridge would be built and the budget needed to complete the project. This report would be likely to include more diagrams and charts and fewer engineering terms.