This study reveals significant and emergent research topics in the field ‘engineering, mechanical’ through bibliometric analysis of articles indexed in Web of Science (WoS) from 1997 to 2016. Publications under consideration (219,191 articles) were examined using quantitative and qualitative methods to evaluate general information about publications; evolution of research topics by keyword analysis; performance of countries, research centers and journals; and international collaborations. There was a threefold increase in number of articles throughout the period. The publications were related to 35 WoS categories; and mechanics and thermodynamics were dominating ones. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer was the leading journal in the field. The USA and China were outstanding countries of the field. Collaboration between these countries corresponded to 6.57% of all collaborative publications. Industrialized and developing countries dominated research activities in the field. Indian Institute of Technology was the leading research center due to number of publications. The results showed that heat transfer, finite element method, friction, wear, simulation, and fatigue are important topics of the field. There is an upward trend in research related to nanofluids, microchannel, phase change materials, and carbon nanotubes.