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About ME

What is Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is a rich and versatile profession that encompasses invention, analysis, and manufacture of mechanical components and systems. Broadly speaking, mechanical engineering is the branch of engineering that encompasses the generation and application of heat and mechanical power. In other words, mechanical engineering is all about the analysis, design and manufacturing of systems in motion. It spans both mature well-established industries such as automotive, aerospace, shipping, power, heating and cooling and machinery and new and emerging technologies such as robotics, medical devices, micro and nano devices. Some of the most exciting areas in mechanical engineering occur where it interfaces with other disciplines.

As application areas for the core disciplines of Thermal Fluid Systems, Material Mechanics and Processing, Robotic, Aeronautic and Automated Systems, and Product Design and Human Factors, the Department of Mechanical Engineering faculty research emphasize four integrated areas of specialization.

1. The world of the very small, where we control materials all the way down to the atomic level, and also build functional devices at the micro- and nano-scale, allowing new avenues of innovation in new materials, sensors and actuators. We build micro and nano electro-mechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS) such as microphones, ultrasound sensors, and aerodynamic measurement systems. We develop hydrophobic coatings and nano-pattered surfaces for heat transfer, develop bio-sensing systems for detecting cancer or nano polished surfaces to prevent bacterial growth. We also develop models how things fracture.

2. The world of biological systems, where we look at how cells move in micro-fluidic systems or how blood flows in our veins and arteries. Our human factors group helps improve the design of future medical equipment, and the soft robotics group develops biologically inspired robots using squishy materials.

3. The world of sustainable energy, where we focus on systems that generate, store, convert and consume power efficiently and consciously. This includes power generation, pyro-thermal materials processing, electronics thermal management, hydrogen cell energy storage, next generation battery design, and superconducting materials for energy transmission.

4. The world of the human brain, where we examine how humans learn to engineer and interact with technology. We use that information to develop the next generation of educational technologies. Our students in mechanical engineering and human factors collaborate with the departments of education, child development, and psychology to better understand how we learn. This knowledge is leveraged into working prototypes and products through our partnerships with industry.