Pitt | Swanson Engineering

The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) is the largest in the school in terms of students and faculty. The department has core strengths in the traditional areas of bioengineering, manufacturing, microsystems technology, smart structures and materials, computational fluid and solid dynamics, and energy systems research. Key focus is reflective of national trends, which are vying toward the microscale and nanoscale systems level.


The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science houses ABET -accredited mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering programs that provide the solid fundamentals, critical thinking, and inventive spark that fire up our graduates as they design the future. The department graduates approximately 90 mechanical and materials science engineers each year, with virtually 100% of being placed in excellent careers with industry and research facilities around the globe.

The department houses faculty who are world-renowned academicians and accessible teachers, individuals of substance who seek to inspire and encourage their students to succeed. The department also has access to more than 20 laboratory facilities that enhance the learning process through first-rate technology and hands-on experience.

That experience is integrated into every aspect of the department. Events such as the SAE Formula Car Program add to students' real-world knowledge; each year, students construct their own vehicle and compete with students from other universities nationwide and internationally on the strength of their design and racing. The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science also is involved in the Cooperative Education (Co-Op) Program, bringing students together with industry for three terms of professional work.

Dec
12
2016

Pitt & ANSYS engineers one of 13 national teams to receive $500,000 award from NASA's Space Technology Research Grants Program

MEMS

PITTSBURGH (December 12, 2016) … Additive manufacturing (AM) researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering and simulation software company ANSYS, Inc. are among 13 university-led proposals to capture an Early Stage Innovations (ESI) grant from NASA’s Space Technology Research Grants Program. ESI grants promote innovative, early stage technologies that address high priority needs of America’s space program. The Pitt team’s three-year, $500,000 award, “Prediction of Microstructure Evolution in DMLM (Direct Material Laser Melting) processed Inconel 718 with Part Scale Simulation” was funded in the Modeling and Simulation-Based Certification of Additive Manufacturing Processing Parameters category. Principal investigator is Albert To, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and director of the ANSYS Additive Manufacturing Research Laboratory.  Co-PI is Wei Xiong, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, and co-investigator is David Conover, chief technologist for mechanical products at ANSYS. “Additive manufacturing now allows us to produce complex metal components that are strong enough to replace machined parts in mechanical applications. However, because of the process parameters and materials used in AM, the microstructure within a part or between different parts can vary widely,” Dr. To said. “Thanks to NASA, our research will focus on developing a new simulation tool to predict the microstructure evolution and stability of Inconel 718, a common nickel superalloy used in laser-based AM in industry.” The research team’s proposal noted that NASA is keenly interested in improving the performance of structural components for high-temperature applications such as jet engine parts, where both creep and strength are critical and need to be anticipated. “Currently, the only way to certify an AM part for space missions is to perform extensive microstructure and property characterization experiments on it, which is both time-consuming and expensive,” Mr. Conover said. “The outcome of this research will potentially enable simulation-based certification of both AM parts and substantially lower the expense of certification.” According to NASA, the goal of the Space Technology Research Grants program is to accelerate the development of space technologies in their earliest stages to enable future systems capabilities and missions for NASA, other government agencies and the commercial space sector. The program is funded by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is responsible for developing the cross-cutting, pioneering, new technologies and capabilities needed by the agency to achieve its current and future missions. “NASA’s Early Stage Innovations grants provide U.S. universities the opportunity to conduct research and technology development to advance NASA’s scientific discovery and exploration goals,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington, in the grant announcement. “Partnering with academia in advancing these critical areas of research ensures we are engaging the best and brightest minds in enabling the agency’s future robotic and human space flight missions.” ### Animation above: A laser interacts with Inconel powder inside the EOS DMLS M290 at the Swanson School's ANSYS Additive Manufacturing Research Lab.
Author: Paul Kovach, Director of Marketing and Communications
Dec
9
2016

NEW FACULTY, PROMOTIONS IN THE MECHANICAL ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT

MEMS

PITTSBURGH (December 9, 2016) … The University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering welcomes three new assistant professors to the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS). John Whitefoot, Wei Xiong and Hessam Babaee joined the faculty this fall, and Patrick Smolinski will become the new director of the Engineering Science Program. “John, Wei and Hessam represent diverse areas of study and expertise, but we are certain the University of Pittsburgh is the right environment for them to thrive and make a substantial impact with their work. They are welcomed additions to the department,” said Brian Gleeson, Harry S. Tack Chair Professor and Chair of MEMS.Hessam Babaee, Assistant ProfessorDr. Babaee earned his PhD from Louisiana State University (2013) and previously was a Post-Doctoral Associate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research interests include computational fluid dynamics and heat transfer, multi-physics modeling, multi-fidelity modeling, stochastic modeling, uncertainty quantification, high performance computing and flow instability. Uncertain operating conditions, material properties, or uncertainties that arise from modeling are frequent in engineering designs. Quantifying the effects of these uncertainties in the design are now at the forefront of research in engineering practice. His research at Pitt will primarily focus on computational modeling of uncertainty in engineering systems, particularly on reducing the cost of computation in undertaking such studies. John Whitefoot, Assistant ProfessorDr. Whitefoot earned his PhD from University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (2012), prior to which he spent seven years in the automotive industry. He most recently was a General Engineer with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the Department of Transportation in Washington, DC. His research interests include energy system optimization, transportation and design policy, and transportation/energy integration. As a teaching professor within the MEMS department, Whitefoot’s roles include classroom instruction, development of new courses and research on engineering education. He has instructed four MEMS courses: Applied Thermodynamics, Thermal Systems Design and Mechanical Measurements I & II. Wei Xiong, Assistant ProfessorDr. Xiong received his PhD from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden (2012) and previously was a Research Associate at Northwestern University. His research interests include advanced materials and processing design based on methodologies of materials by design and accelerated insertion of materials; predictive-science based model development for process-structure-property relation in advanced manufacturing; additive manufacturing of high performance titanium alloys and steels using Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS) and Selective Laser Melting (SLM). Patrick Smolinski, Director of Engineering Science Program (promotion)Dr. Smolinski, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science , has been named director of the Swanson School's Engineering Science Program. Smolinski will succeed Professor John Barnard. The Engineering Science Program offers students flexible curricula with concentrations in engineering physics, nanotechnology and nuclear engineering. The program emphasizes an ability to think across disciplines and tackle future technical challenges that require a thorough understanding of disciplines in the physical sciences and mathematics combined with engineering. Smolinski is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. ###
Author: Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Nov
22
2016

MEMS student Mr. Timothy S. Ryan awarded 2016 Carl Zeiss Student Scholarship

MEMS

Mr. Timothy S. Ryan, a doctoral candidate advised by Prof. Jeffrey Vipperman, was recently awarded the 2016 Carl Zeiss Student Scholarship at the annual meeting of the American Society for Precision Engineering. This award was made in recognition of his research erfforts, "Toward a Modeling Framework for Linear Stages," and included full conference registration and travel expenses for a trip the annual meeting in Portland, OR, as well as travel expenses for a trip to the Carl Zeiss Industrial Metrology facility in Maple Grove, MN.

Nov
21
2016

MEMS' Prof. Wiezorek receives the Birks Award from the Microbeam Analysis Society

MEMS

Prof. Wiezorek has been awarded for the Birks Award from the Microbeam Analysis Society (MAS, http://www.microbeamanalysis.org/awards-1/mas-outstanding-paper-awards). The award was presented during the Microscopy and Microanalysis meeting (M&M 2016, held in Columbus, OH, July 24-29, 2016) by Dr. Thomas F. Kelly, President of MAS and Vice President of Innovation and New Technologies at CAMECA.  The Birks Award is given annually for the Best Contributed Paper presented at the Microscopy and Microanalysis meeting of the previous year.  The award winning presentation and paper was entitled, “Quantitative Phase Analysis of Rapid Solidification Products in Al-Cu Alloys by Automated Crystal Orientation Mapping in the TEM”.

Nov
16
2016

Non-Tenure Stream Faculty Position in Mechanical Engineering

MEMS, Open Positions

The Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh is seeking an outstanding candidate to fill a non-tenure stream faculty position in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) with the principal duty of teaching. The successful candidate is expected to teach up to 12 credit hours per semester. Applicants must possess a PhD in Mechanical Engineering or a related field. Applicants with prior teaching experience in an engineering program are particularly encouraged to apply. In addition, research experience in such areas as engineering education or the development of outreach programs to pre-college students, and relevant industrial/practical experience is desired. The successful candidate should be able to teach a variety of the core courses in the MEMS Department, including statics, dynamics, mechanics of materials, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, mechanical design, and mechanical measurements. The ability to develop and teach upper level electives and graduate courses is an added benefit. Other responsibilities may include student advising and other administrative duties. The position is for the academic year, with the potential of some summer teaching, and will be eligible for renewal on an annual basis. Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, a detailed resume, statements describing teaching and research interests and plans, and the names and contact information for at least three references in a single PDF file, to pitt-mems-search@engr.pitt.edu for the Mechanical Engineering position. Applications will be considered until the position is filled. The University of Pittsburgh is an EEO/AA/M/F/Vets/Disabled Employer.

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