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.


Pitt PhD Student Lin Cheng captures first place in poster competition at international additive manufacturing conference

MEMS, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (May 15, 2017) … With its growing research focus in additive manufacturing, the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering made an impact at RAPID + TCT, the international additive manufacturing and 3D printing event held in Pittsburgh, May 8-11. Lin Cheng, a PhD student in the Swanson School’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, won first place for at the conference poster session for his research, “Efficient Design of additive manufacturing lattice structures by integrating micromechanics modeling and topology optimization.”The RAPID + TCT Competition featured projects or research in the areas of 3D printing, additive manufacturing, and 3D imaging from Pitt, Carnegie Mellon University, York College, and The Pennsylvania State University. “This was an incredibly competitive event, and I couldn’t be more proud of Lin’s success,” said Albert To, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, CNG Faculty Fellow, and Mr. Cheng’s advisor. “Our students are making an impact in additive manufacturing research, especially related to topology optimization and process-microstructure-property relationship, and so it’s an honor for one of our students to be recognized at this international gathering.”Mr. Cheng’s research interests include AM cellular structure, artificial intelligence, computational fluid mechanics, heat transfer and topology optimization. He earned a bachelor’s in power and energy engineering from Xi'an Jiao Tong University, and master’s degree in turbomachinery engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. ### Photo above: Mr. Cheng with his poster and the EOS M290 in the Swanson School's ANSYS Additive Manufacturing Lab.


Following two decades as Dean, Gerald Holder to return to faculty at Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering

All SSoE News, Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Electrical & Computer, Industrial, MEMS, Diversity

PITTSBURGH (May 10, 2017) ... Marking the culmination of more than two decades of dynamic leadership, Gerald D. Holder, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering in the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, has announced his intention to step down from his position to return to the faculty in the fall of 2018.Holder, Distinguished Service Professor of chemical engineering, has been dean of the Swanson School since 1996 and a member of its faculty since 1979.“Two words come to mind when I look back on Jerry’s incredible career as dean of our Swanson School of Engineering: tremendous growth,” said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “Under Jerry’s leadership, our Swanson School has seen record enrollment levels and total giving to the school has topped $250 million. “The school has also expanded academically to support new knowledge in areas like energy and sustainability — and also new partnerships, including a joint engineering program with China’s Sichuan University. And while I will certainly miss Jerry’s many contributions as dean, I am grateful that he will remain an active faculty member and continue to strengthen our Swanson School’s bright future,” Gallagher said.       “Through a focus on innovation and excellence, Dean Holder has led a transformation of the Swanson School of Engineering into a leader in engineering research and education,” said Patricia E. Beeson, provost and senior vice chancellor. Beeson added, "From the establishment of the now top-ranked Department of Bioengineering to the integrated first-year curriculum that has become a national model, the Swanson School has been a change maker. And with nearly three-quarters of the faculty hired while he has been dean, the culture of success that he has established will remain long after he steps down.” The University plans to announce the search process for his successor in the coming months. Holder’s Many Accomplishments In his 21 years as dean, Holder has overseen school growth as well as increases in research awards and philanthropic gifts. Enrollment has doubled to nearly 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and the number of PhDs has increased threefold. Holder also has emphasized programs to nourish diversity and engagement — for example, in 2012 the Swanson School had the highest percentage in the nation of engineering doctoral degrees awarded to women. Co-curricular programs also have prospered during Holder’s tenure. The school’s cooperative education program, which places students in paid positions in industry during their undergraduate studies, has increased to approximately 300 active employers. International education or study abroad has also become a hallmark of a Pitt engineering education, with 46 percent participation in 2015 versus a 4.6 percent national average for engineering and a 22.6 percent national average for STEM fields. The school’s annual sponsored research has tripled during Holder’s years as dean, totaling a cumulative $400 million. Alumnus John A. Swanson’s landmark $43 million naming gift came in 2007, the largest-ever gift by an individual to the University at the time.University-wide initiatives developed during Holder’s tenure as dean include the Gertrude E. and John M. Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering; the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, founded with support of alumnus John C. “Jack” Mascaro; and the Center for Energy.Holder is likewise held in high regard by his peers. "As a dean of long standing, many of us refer to Dean Holder as `the Dean of deans,’ not just because of his years of service but also because of the respect that we have for his leadership, mentorship and impact on the engineering profession,” said James H. Garrett Jr., dean of the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.“He is an accomplished academician, an exceptional academic leader and a tremendous human being.” Holder, a noted expert on natural gas hydrates and author of more than 100 journal articles, earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Kalamazoo College and bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan. He was a faculty member in chemical engineering at Columbia University prior to joining the Pitt engineering faculty in 1979. He served as chair of the chemical engineering department from 1987 to 1995 before being named dean of engineering.Among many professional accomplishments, he was named an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow in 2003. In 2008 he was named an American Institute of Chemical Engineers Fellow and was awarded the William Metcalf Award from the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania for lifetime achievement in engineering. In 2015 he was elected chair of the American Society of Engineering Educators’ (ASEE) Engineering Deans Council, the leadership organization of engineering deans in the U.S., for a two-year term. The council has approximately 350 members, representing more than 90 percent of all U.S. engineering deans and is tasked by ASEE to advocate for engineering education, research and engagement throughout the U.S., especially among the public at large and in U.S. public policy. ###
Author: Kimberly Barlow, University Communications

Two MEMS Graduate PhD Candidates Named Department of Defense Fellows

MEMS, Diversity, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH, PA (May 4, 2017) … The United States Department of Defense (DoD) announced that Emily Cimino and Erica Stevens, PhD candidates in the Materials Science and Engineering PhD program at the University of Pittsburgh, were awarded National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowships. The award covers the fellows’ full tuition and required fees, not including room and board, and $153,000 in stipend funds over the course of the 48-month program tenure.Ms. Cimino is working in the research group of Brian Gleeson, the Harry S. Tack Chair Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS). She is researching the hot corrosion of a second generation nickel-based superalloy supplied by Pratt & Whitney, an aerospace manufacturer headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut. The goal of her research is to understand the mechanism of hot corrosion as a function of temperature and sulfur dioxide content and to establish methods that may reduce alloy degradation via hot corrosion. Ms. Cimino earned her bachelor’s degree at the Pennsylvania State University. “Being awarded the DoD fellowship is a huge plus because I have a source of funding until I graduate, and I can solely focus on research,” said Ms. Cimino. “I hope to advance current understanding of hot corrosion, and I hope to take full advantage of the resources I have at Pitt, namely characterization equipment necessary for this research as well as knowledgeable faculty.”Ms. Stevens received funding for her research into additive manufacturing magnetocaloric materials, or materials that change temperature with magnetic field changes. She is pursuing her PhD under the supervision of Markus Chmielus, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science. She received her undergraduate degrees in materials science and engineering at Pitt as well as a bachelor of philosophy degree through the University Honors College.“Magnetic refrigeration, or refrigerators that use magnetocaloric materials, is currently being developed, but their highest reported efficiency is around 20 percent, while theoretical is 30 percent,” said Ms. Stevens. “During the fellowship, I could be integral in increasing the efficiency of refrigerators by another 10 percent, saving consumers on electricity bills and contributing to lowering emissions from power generation. A large portion of our electricity generation as a nation goes to refrigeration.”The selection process for NDSEG fellows consists of a panel evaluating the candidate as a whole and review of the candidate’s research project by the DoD. The Air Force Research Laboratory, the Office of Naval Research and the Army Research Office sponsor NDSEG fellowships; and the American Society for Engineering Education administers the award. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer

Pittsburgh Biodiesel Project Stands Out in a Crowd


HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today presented Pittsburgh-based Optimus Technologies and 20 other organizations from across the state with the 2017 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. According to DEP, their projects “represent the very best in innovation, collaboration, and public service in environmental stewardship.” Optimus partnered with Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities and the City of Pittsburgh to equip 25 of the city’s vehicles with their Vector System technology. The system optimizes vehicle performance and emissions reductions using 100 percent biodiesel (B100). “We are honored to have been selected for this prestigious award and proud that we helped the City of Pittsburgh reduce vehicle emissions,” said Optimus CEO Colin Huwyler. “Our technology allows fleets to run seamlessly on B100, dramatically reducing both tailpipe and lifecycle emissions.” Huwyler noted that the 25 vehicles used for the project represent 7.2 percent of GHG emissions for the entire city fleet of 1,038 vehicles. The use of the Vector System reduced GHG emissions by 6.4 percent fleet-wide. “Every year we’re impressed anew by the ingenuity and commitment Pennsylvanians bring to environmental stewardship,” said DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “It’s exciting to see the interest is growing.”About OptimusFounded in 2010, Optimus Technologies is the market leader in high performance biodiesel conversion solutions that utilize biodiesel and diesel for medium- and heavy-duty truck fleets. With Optimus, fleet operators have a simple way to significantly reduce fuel costs and emissions, while addressing renewable fuel targets. Optimus was built on the vision and the knowledge that other alternative fuel solutions are prohibitively expensive and do not provide the same results as biodiesel. For more visit: https://www.optimustec.com/ About biodieselMade from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the first commercial-scale fuel produced across the U.S. to meet the EPA’s definition as an Advanced Biofuel - meaning the EPA has determined that biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent when compared with petroleum diesel. For more visit: http://biodiesel.org/ ### Photo above: (left to right): Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn (Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources), Patrick McDonnell (Acting Secretary for the Department of Environmental Protection), Colin Huwyler (CEO, Optimus Technologies), and Davitt Woodwell (President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council).
Author: Ian Winner, Optimus Technologies Inc.

Four MEMS undergraduates win "Best Overall" at Spring 2017 Design Expo

MEMS, Student Profiles

Four students from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanical Science captured one of the top awards at this year's Design Expo, presented by the Swanson School of Engineering.Undergraduates Shweta Ravichandar, Katriona Blezy, Kelly Appleton, and Roy Tan Park Sung (left to right) won the “Best Overall Project Award” at the 2017 Spring Design Expo, April 19 at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall. “A Robust Biomechanical Culture System for Tissue Engineered Corneas” was advised by Ian Sigal, PhD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. David Schmidt, PhD, MEMS assistant professor, directed the senior design class with 22 projects this semester. "The Design Expo allows our students to take an idea and create a tangible solution to a problem, and I couldn't be more proud of this year's winners," said Brian Gleeson, PhD, the Harry S. Tack Chair Professor and Department Chair. "The team's interdisciplinary approach to both a mechanical and biological system is superb, and I especially want to thank Ian and David for their mentorship and support of our students." The Swanson School’s Design Expo provides an opportunity for student teams, many from the School’s Capstone Design Courses, as well as concepts and prototypes from students in product realization courses. Projects transverse the design space from problem identification, specification of objectives and constraints, conceptual development, resulting in an actual prototype in many cases. Judges from industry select the best project from each of the participating courses. ###

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