]MS in mechanical engineering is perhaps the most "broad-based" of the engineering disciplines.
Graduates from mechanical engineering can find exciting careers in aerospace, automobile design, consumer electronics, biotechnology and bioengineering, software engineering, and business.
The following are the major field areas -
Biomechanical Engineering is focused on applying mechanical engineering principles to human healthcare problems.
This area has undergone dramatic growth during the last decade and seeks to improve healthcare — and thus people's lives — by identifying and working on critical medical problems that can be addressed by improved technology.
Research in Biomechanical Engineering spans from long-term basic science questions to the practical development of translational technologies.
Highly multi-disciplinary and funded by NIH, NSF, other federal agencies and industry, this research is conducted with various collaborators across different engineering departments at universities and with faculty and students from different medical schools and research centres.
Tracing its origins to J. C. Maxwell's early work on speed governors (1868), control theory has evolved to play an integral role in most modern engineering systems.
Mechanical systems are becoming increasingly complex, yet performance requirements are increasingly stringent.
At the same time, dramatic developments in microelectronics and computers over the past few decades have made it possible to use sophisticated signal processing and control methodologies to enhance system performance.
The area addresses the broad spectrum of control science and engineering from mathematical theory to computer implementation.
On the theoretical side, faculty and graduate students pursue research on adaptive and optimal control, digital control, robust control, modelling and identification, learning, intelligent control and nonlinear control, to name a few.
On the application side, research teams engage in projects involving various mechanical systems such as robot manipulators, manufacturing systems, vehicles and intelligent vehicle highway systems, motion control systems, computer storage devices and biomedical systems.
Courses in this area cover linear system theory, digital control, nonlinear control, adaptive control, modelling and identification, multivariable robust control theory, real-time use of microcomputers for signal processing and control, and management of robot manipulators.
Graduate students also take courses in other departments, such as Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Faculty in the Design field of Mechanical Engineering work on problems affecting the analysis, synthesis, design, automation, fabrication, testing, evaluation, and optimization of mechanical systems.
Research activities include the following: design of mechatronic devices; sports equipment and safety gear; multi-media design case studies that improve a designer's efficiency; tribological studies of computer disk-drive and micromechanical devices; design and fabrication of composite materials; fracture analysis; design and computer control of robotic systems for manufacturing and construction environments; design of bioengineering devices for studying back pain; and the development of automated manufacturing environments.
Students learn to develop integrated manufacturing cells and machines with automated material handling systems, machining, tool path planning, sensor systems, quality control, and error handling.
Students are exposed to broad fields, including composite materials, microelectromechanical systems, laser machining and laser processing of materials, thin film fabrication, and tool wear.
Traditional topics, such as stress analysis, tribology, fracture mechanics, gear design, transmissions, mechanics of materials, and basic manufacturing process analysis, are also thoroughly covered.
At its heart, the study of dynamics is the study of motion. Whether this motion involves automobiles, aircraft or economic indicators change, dynamics can be used effectively to gain insight and understanding.
The research addresses various topics, including dynamical systems theory, vehicle dynamics, bubble dynamics, computer simulation of dynamical systems, vibration and modal analysis, acoustics and acoustic control, and the development of efficient computational methods.
Such research synthesizes numerics, experiments and theory, allowing researchers to address fundamental questions while staying aware of real-life limitations. Courses are offered in linear and nonlinear dynamics, deterministic and random vibrations, and continuous systems.
Energy Science and Technology
Energy-related research in Mechanical Engineering encompasses a broad range of science and technology areas spanning a variety of applications that involve storage, transport, conversion, and energy use.
Specific areas of ongoing research include hydrogen energy systems, combustion of biofuels, pollution control in engines, development of next-generation compression ignition engine technologies, radiation interaction with nanostructured surfaces, laser processing of materials, nanofabrication using lasers, combustion in microgravity environments, development of nanostructured thermoelectric materials, concentrating photovoltaic solar power, solar thermal combined heat and power systems, energy efficiency and sustainability of data centres, waste energy recovery, high-performance thermal management systems for electronics, and ocean energy technologies.
Research in these areas ranges from fundamental research that aims to understand and model critically important processes and mechanisms to applied research that explores new energy technology concepts at the application level.
Training in the Fluid Mechanics group provides students with an understanding of fluid flow fundamentals.
At the graduate level, all students must complete a one-year course in fluid dynamics before specializing in particular areas.
In addition, students get a firm foundation in analytical, computational and experimental essentials of fluid dynamics.
Research activities span the Reynolds number range from creeping flows to planetary phenomena.
Topics of study include suspension mechanics, dynamics of phase changes (in engineering and geophysical flows), earth mantle dynamics, interfacial phenomena, non-Newtonian fluid mechanics, biofluid mechanics, vascular flows, chaotic mixing and transport of scalars, bubble dynamics, flow in curved pipes, environmental fluid dynamics, external aerodynamics, unsteady aerodynamics, bluff-body aerodynamics, vortex dynamics and breakdown, aircraft wake vortices, vortex merger, vortex instabilities, rotating flows, stability and transition, chaos, grid turbulence, shear turbulence, turbulence modelling, shock dynamics, sonoluminescence, sonochemistry, reacting flows, planetary atmospheres, ship waves, internal waves, and nonlinear wave-vorticity interaction.
There has been a resurgence of manufacturing in this dynamically-changing field, which encompasses several subdisciplines, including Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Materials Science and Engineering.
Manufacturing covers many processes and modelling/simulation/experimentation activities; all focused on converting materials into products.
Typical processes range from conventional material removal by cutting to semiconductor and nanomaterial processing techniques such as chemical mechanical planarization to additive processes such as 3D printing and spray processing.
Modelling and simulation attempt to predict these processes' behaviour to ensure efficient and optimal performance.
A companion set of activities in sensors and process monitoring, automation, internet-based design to manufacturing, cyber-physical infrastructure, quality control, and reliability are part of manufacturing.
Manufacturing is receiving special attention in the United States as a driver of innovation and competitiveness and a major contributor to employment.
Overall, manufacturing combines classical topics in design, controls and materials processing.
The activity in manufacturing today is built on a long history of fundamental research and education by pioneers such as Erich Thomsen and Shiro Kobayashi.
Recent activities have moved away from the more traditional areas of metal forming and plasticity to design and advanced manufacturing integration, new manufacturing technologies, especially for energy reduction and alternate energy technologies, precision manufacturing, computational manufacturing and sustainable manufacturing.
Much of the research includes developing tools for engineering designers to have the impact of manufacturing in the design process and, more recently, the life cycle impacts for the product.
Education and research in manufacturing are exceptionally well integrated with industry in terms of internships, research support and student placement.
Manufacturing continues to be required for research and industrial development in many sectors.
All future energy, transport, medical/health, lifestyle, dwelling, defence, and food/water supply systems will be based on increasingly specific elements and components produced from challenging materials and configured in complex shapes with demanding surface characteristics.
This includes manufacturing products for energy and environmentally aware consumer (such as autos, consumer products, buildings, etc.), manufacturing alternate energy supply systems (e.g. fuel cells, solar panels, wind energy systems, hybrid power plants, etc.), machine tools and the "machines that build the products" requiring less energy, materials, space and better integrated for efficient operation and efficient factory systems and operation.
This is all required in an environment of increasing regional, national and international government regulations covering all aspects of the manufacturing enterprise.
This means that for the foreseeable future, the field is expected to be well-supplied with challenges to drive innovation in research and education.
In summary, modern manufacturing can be characterized by three basic processing strategies – additive, subtractive and near-net shape.
These are somewhat self-explanatory in their names.
Near-net shape, aka forming/forging and moulding techniques. Subtractive, for example, machining, is the "old standby" process used extensively in basic machine construction but is quite limited as applied to higher technology products.
Additive manufacturing, ranging from deposition processes to the more recent rapid prototyping approaches, is an area that offers much future potential for both accurate and fast creation of complex products.
Additive manufacturing (AM) and Rapid-Prototyping (RP) have received a great deal of attention for several years. In particular, the idea of 3-D Printing (3DP) has received quite a large amount of press.
ASTM defines AM as the "process of joining materials to make objects from 3D model data, usually layer upon layer, as opposed to subtractive manufacturing methodologies."
This process is often referred to as additive- fabrication, processes, techniques, layer manufacturing and freeform fabrication. The basic term is used in conjunction with the product life cycle from rapid prototyping pre-production to full-scale production.
Having its roots in the classical theory of elastic materials, solid mechanics has grown to embrace all aspects involving the behaviour of deformable bodies under loads.
Thus, in addition to including the theory of linear elasticity, with its applications to structural materials, solid mechanics also incorporates modern nonlinear theories of highly deformable materials.
This includes synthetic polymeric materials, as well as biological materials.
Courses and research topics include linear and nonlinear elasticity, plasticity at large deformations, shell theory, composite materials, directed (or Cosserat) continua, media with microstructure, continuum electrodynamics, and continuum thermodynamics.
Students also take courses in related areas, such as dynamics, fluid mechanics, and mathematics.
A major research area involves the finite deformation of highly deformable materials, including computational aspects of the development of constitutive theories, special solutions, and theoretical predictions of material response.
Examples of this work include:
Ductile metals under special loading programs (e.g., strain cycling).
Microcrack growth in brittle materials.
Constructing new theories of inelastic behaviour in the presence of finite deformation, which explicitly incorporates microstructural effects such as dislocation density.
Thermodynamical developments for deformable media undergoing finite motion.
Material and stress characterization issues in various solids, including metals, composites, electronic materials, and geologic materials.
Both experimental and analytical research is conducted in the areas of nondestructive stress evaluation, characterization of thin solid films, large deformation material behaviour, and microstructure evaluation.
Stress and property evaluation are pursued in bulk materials and thin films. Various approaches are involved, including ultrasonics, X-ray diffraction, and custom-designed micro-electro-mechanical structures (MEMS).
Particular emphasis is directed to the relationship between material processing and its effect on the resulting microstructure and the mechanical response.
Similarly, plasticity and quantitative texture analysis work is directed toward providing descriptions of the macroscopic, observable behaviour of polycrystalline materials in terms of the microstructure inherent within these materials.
Micro-Electromechanical Systems (MEMS)
Over the past 20 years, the application of microelectronic technology to the fabrication of mechanical devices has revolutionized the research in microsensors and microactuators.
Micromachining technologies take advantage of batch processing to address the manufacturing and performance requirements of the sensor industry.
The extraordinary versatility of semiconductor materials and the miniaturization of VLSI patterning techniques promise new sensors and actuators with increased capabilities and improved performance-to-cost ratio, surpassing conventionally machined devices.
The research applies to a broad range of issues in miniaturization, including solid materials, design, manufacturing, fluidics, heat transfer, dynamics, control, environmental, and bioengineering.
Significant breakthroughs over the past two decades in various disciplines have generated new interest in science and engineering at nanometer scales.
The invention of the scanning tunnelling microscope, the discovery of the fullerene family of molecules, the development of materials with size-dependent properties, and the ability to encode with and manipulate biological molecules such as DNA are a few of the crucial developments that have changed this field.
Continued research in nanoscale science and engineering promises to revolutionize many fields and lead to a new technological base and infrastructure that will significantly impact world economies.
The impact will be felt in areas as diverse as computing and information technology, health care and biotechnology, environment, energy, transportation, and space exploration, to name a few.
Some key research areas include nano instrumentation, nano energy conversion, nano bioengineering and nano computing storage.
The field of nanoengineering is highly interdisciplinary, requiring knowledge drawn from various scientific and engineering departments.
In addition to traditional courses covering fundamentals of mechanical engineering, there are specialized courses in microscale thermophysics, micro and nanoscale tribology, cellular and sub-cellular level transport phenomena and mechanics, and physicochemical hydrodynamics of ultra-thin fluid films, and microfabrication.
The oceans have long been recognized as essential to our global environment. Covering more than 70 percent of the earth's surface, the oceans affect all life on earth directly and indirectly.
Ocean Engineering involves developing, designing, and analyzing man-made systems that can operate in the offshore or coastal environment.
Such systems may be used for transportation, recreation, fisheries, petroleum or other minerals extraction, and thermal or wave energy recovery, among others. Some systems are bottom-mounted, particularly those in shallower depths; others are mobile, as in the case of ships, submersibles, or floating drill rigs.
All systems should be designed to withstand a hostile environment (wind, waves, currents, ice) and to operate efficiently while staying environmentally friendly.
Ocean Engineering study, a major field of study within Mechanical Engineering, requires satisfying core requirements in marine hydrodynamics and structures.
Disciplines supporting ocean engineering include materials and fabrication, control and robotics, continuum mechanics, dynamical system theory, design methodology, mathematical analysis, and statistics.
Ocean Engineering can also be used as a minor subject with one of the other major field disciplines.
Contemporary research issues include vortex and free surface interaction, roll-motion damping and dynamics of ships, dynamic positioning of mobile offshore bases, hydroelastic behaviour of floating airports, waves in a two-layer fluid, high-speed multi-hull configuration optimization, marine composite materials, reliability-based structural design, the fatigue behaviour of marine materials, Bragg scattering of waves, computational methodologies for nonlinear waves, tsunami propagation, sea-bed mechanics, and alternative renewable energy: floating offshore wind park, ocean wave and tidal power, loads on floating turbines.
An important aspect of mechanical engineering is transportation systems planning, design, and operation.
As society recognizes the increasing importance of optimizing transportation systems to minimize environmental degradation and energy expenditure, engineers will need to consider significant innovations in moving people and goods.
Such innovations will require competence in vehicle dynamics, propulsion and control, and understanding the problems caused by present-day modes of transportation. important