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 fires 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 scores in U.S. News Best Graduate Schools Guidebook

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

UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH NEWS RELEASE PITTSBURGH- In newly released statistics from U.S. News & World Report , a number of University of Pittsburgh schools and programs have excelled in the Best Graduate Schools 2016 guidebook. Pitt's School of Nursing is ranked no. 5 nationwide in an inaugural annual ranking of nursing schools that offer master's or doctorate programs. In nursing specialties, the school is no. 1 in the category of nurse anesthesia; no. 3 in clinical nurse leader; no. 3 in pediatric, primary care (tie); no. 5 in administration (tie); no. 5 in adult / gerontology, acute care (tie); and no. 5 in psychiatric / mental health, across the lifespan. Pitt's School of Medicine ranks no. 16 in the research category and no. 19 (tie) in the primary care category of the Best Medical Schools ranking. In medical specialties, Pitt is no. 4 in women's health. In new Health disciplines rankings, Pitt's master's and doctorate programs in public health in the Graduate School of Public Health are ranked no. 13, and the rehabilitation counseling program within the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences is no. 18 (tie). Among public universities, Pitt's graduate programs in education, engineering, and business are all ranked in the top 25. The School of Education is ranked no. 17 among public universities and no. 27 overall (tie); the Swanson School of Engineering is no. 24 among public universities and no. 43 overall (tie); and the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business is No. 23 among public universities and No. 48 overall (tie). The School of Law advanced three spots to no. 78 overall (tie). It is ranked no. 42 among public universities. Individual departments within the Swanson School of Engineering ranked as follows: Bioengineering: 7 among publics, 16 overall (tie) Chemical and Petroleum: 24 among publics, 39 overall (tie) Civil Engineering: 35 among publics, 53 overall (tie) Computer Engineering: 30 among publics, 54 overall (tie) Electrical Engineering: 30 among publics, 52 overall (tie) Industrial Engineering: 15 among publics, 22 overall (tie) Materials Science: 35 among publics, 53 overall (tie)   ###  
Cara Masset

Strength in shrinking: understanding why a material’s behavior changes as it gets smaller

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UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH NEWS RELEASE The computer model (left) and experimental image reveal the atomic-level deformation twinning in a tungsten nanowire under axial compression. The lattice of the deformation-induced twin band (between yellow lines) is a mirror image of that of the parent crystal.   PITTSBURGH- To fully understand how nanomaterials behave, one must also understand the atomic-scale deformation mechanisms that determine their structure and, therefore, their strength and function. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, Drexel University, and Georgia Tech have engineered a new way to observe and study these mechanisms and, in doing so, have revealed an interesting phenomenon in a well-known material, tungsten. The group is the first to observe atomic-level deformation twinning in body-centered cubic (BCC) tungsten nanocrystals. The team used a high-resolution transmission electron microscope (TEM) and sophisticated computer modeling to make the observation. This work , published in Nature Materials , represents a milestone in the in situ study of mechanical behaviors of nanomaterials. Deformation twinning is a type of deformation that, in conjunction with dislocation slip, allows materials to permanently deform without breaking. In the process of twinning, the crystal reorients, which creates a region in the crystal that is a mirror image of the original crystal. Twinning has been observed in large-scale BCC metals and alloys during deformation. However, whether twinning occurs in BCC nanomaterials or not remained unknown. "To gain a deep understanding of deformation in BCC nanomaterials," Scott X. Mao , the paper's corresponding author and William Kepler Whiteford Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, said, "we combined atomic-scale imaging and simulations to show that twinning activities dominated for most loading conditions due to the lack of other shear deformation mechanisms in nanoscale BCC lattices." The team chose tungsten as a typical BCC crystal. The most familiar application of tungsten is its use as filaments for light bulbs. The observation of atomic-scale twinning was made inside a TEM. This kind of study had not been possible in the past due to difficulties in making BCC samples less than 100 nanometers in size as required by TEM imaging. Jiangwei Wang, lead author of the paper and a Pitt graduate student under the supervision of Mao, developed a clever way of making the BCC tungsten nanowires. Under a TEM, Wang welded together two small pieces of individual nanoscale tungsten crystals to create a wire about 20 nanometers in diameter. This wire was durable enough to stretch and compress while Wang observed the twinning phenomenon in real time. To better understand the phenomenon observed by Mao's team at Pitt, Christopher R. Weinberger, an assistant professor in Drexel's College of Engineering, developed computer models that show the mechanical behavior of the tungsten nanostructure-at the atomic level. His modeling allowed the team to see the physical factors at play during twinning. This information will help researchers theorize why it occurs in nanoscale tungsten and plot a course for examining this behavior in other BCC materials. "We're trying to see if our atomistic-based model behaves in the same way as the tungsten sample used in the experiments, which can then help to explain the mechanisms that allow it to behave that way," Weinberger said. "Specifically, we'd like to explain why it exhibits this twinning ability as a nanostructure but not as a bulk metal." In concert with Weinberger's modeling, Ting Zhu, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech, worked with a graduate student, Zhi Zeng, to conduct advanced computer simulations using molecular dynamics to study deformation processes in 3-D. Zhu's simulation revealed that tungsten's "smaller is stronger" behavior is not without drawbacks when it comes to applications. "If you reduce the size to the nanometer scale, you can increase strength by several orders or magnitude," Zhu said. "But the price you pay is a dramatic decrease in the ductility. We want to increase the strength without compromising the ductility in developing these nanostructured metals and alloys. To reach this objective, we need to understand the controlling deformation mechanisms." The twinning mechanism, Mao added, contrasts with the conventional wisdom of dislocation nucleation-controlled plasticity in nanomaterials. The results should motivate further experimental and modeling investigation of deformation mechanisms in nanoscale metals and alloys, ultimately enabling the design of nanostructured materials to fully realize their latent mechanical strength. "Our discovery of the twinning dominated deformation also opens up possibilities of enhancing ductility by engineering twin structures in nanoscale BCC crystals," Zhu said. ###  


Swanson School alumna Rachel Meyer MEMS '14 among 13 Pitt-affiliated Fulbright Scholars

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UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH NEWS RELEASE PITTSBURGH- The University of Pittsburgh is a top producer of Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant winners, placing eighth among U.S. public research universities and 17th among all research universities in the nation. The ranking was announced Feb. 12 by The Chronicle of Higher Education .  The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the flagship international educational exchange program for the U.S. government, providing annual grants for individually designed study and research projects or English teaching assistantships. The awards are bestowed to recent bachelor's degree recipients, graduate students, and young professionals based on their academic or professional achievements as well as demonstrated leadership in their potential fields.  Of Pitt's 58 applicants, 13 won Fulbright grants for the 2014-15 academic year. Pitt was tied in the number of Fulbright recipients with Cornell University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, The University of Texas at Austin, the University of Washington, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Among other notable research institutions in the top 20 spots were Brown University, Duke University, Harvard University, Northwestern University, and The University of Chicago.  The following 2014 graduates from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, and the Swanson School of Engineering are Fulbright recipients.  Zeba Ahmed, of Wyomissing, Pa., who earned her Bachelor of Arts in Japanese and sociology, is conducting ethnographic research at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan. Ahmed's research project focuses on the impact nonprofit organizations have made on urban areas in Japan.  Jacob Boehmer, of Collegeville, Pa., who earned his Bachelor of Arts in Russian and a Certificate in Russian and East European Studies, is serving as an English teaching assistant at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration in Russia.   Andrew Fichter, who earned a Master of International Development, is serving as an English teaching assistant in Jordan.  Erin Harrington, of Scranton, Pa., who earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and Russian and a Certificate in Russian and East European Studies, is serving as an English teaching assistant at the Volga Region State Academy of Physical Culture, Sport and Tourism in Kazan, Russia.  Kelsey Hughes, of Doylestown, Pa., who earned a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and English writing, is serving as an English teaching assistant for high school students in Madrid, Spain.  Katherine Luke, of Blacksburg, Va., who earned a Bachelor of Science in economics and a Bachelor of Philosophy in environmental studies, was awarded a Fulbright United Kingdom Partnership Award to attend the University of Manchester in England. Luke is performing field research on land-use planning policies as well as conducting coursework towards a Master of Science in environmental governance.  Mary Mallampalli, of Sewickley, Pa., who earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, political science, and Spanish, is serving as an English teaching assistant in Brazil.  Rachel Meyer, of Lititz, Pa., who earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering, is performing field research on wind-energy technology and conducting coursework towards a Master of Science in wind energy at the Technical University of Denmark.  Milton Pratt, of Germantown, Md., who earned a Bachelor of Science in neuroscience, is performing research on anxiety disorders at the University of Crete School of Medicine in Crete, Greece.  Kush Purohit, of Mt. Lebanon, Pa., who earned a Bachelor of Philosophy in neuroscience, is performing field research on the prevalence of diabetes in the native populations of the Rajasthan region of India.  The following graduate students in the Dietrich School were awarded Fulbright grants.   Madeline Eschenburg, a PhD candidate in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture, is researching and writing her dissertation in China. Eschenburg's graduate research focuses on contemporary Chinese artists.  Elise Thorsen, a PhD candidate in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, is researching and writing her dissertation in Russia. Thorsen's graduate research focuses on the Russian empire in the early 20th century, with a specific focus on the years surrounding the October Revolution.  Holly Yanacek, a PhD candidate in the Department of German, is researching and writing her dissertation in Germany. Yanacek's graduate research focuses on the emotional norms and practices of different sociocultural groups in imperial Germany at the end of the 19th century.  Established in 1946, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the namesake of the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the Department of State. To date, more than 360,000 individuals have been offered Fulbright grants.    ###  
Anthony M. Moore

Swanson School announces 2015 roster of Distinguished Alumni

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

PITTSBURGH (January 26, 2015) … Seven alumni who have made an impact across public, private and government sectors will be recognized by the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering with the 51 st Annual Distinguished Alumni Awards. The award honors those Pitt alumni who have made a positive contribution within their respective fields across the School's six engineering departments. In addition, one individual who was previously selected as a department awardee will be recognized as the overall Swanson School awardee. The awards will be presented at the Swanson School's Distinguished Alumni Banquet on Thursday, March 26 at Pitt's Alumni Hall. "On behalf of the Swanson School we're proud to recognize these seven individuals who have excelled within their discipline and are exemplary ambassadors of Pitt engineering," noted Gerald D. Holder, PhD, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering. "I look forward to welcoming them back to campus and celebrating their achievements." This year's recipients are: Swanson School of Engineering Distinguished Alumnus Leonard K. Peters, BsChE '62, MSChE '69, PhD '71 Secretary of Energy and Environmental Cabinet, Commonwealth of Kentucky Bioengineering Fernando Aguel BSBioE '00, MSBioE '04 Branch Chief of the Circulatory Support Devices Branch, United States Food and Drug Administration  Civil and Environmental Engineering John D. Bossler, PhD, BSCE '59 Retired, Professor and Director of the Center for Mapping, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Geodetic Studies, Ohio State University Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Michael J. Fetkovich, DSc, BSPet '54 Phillips Fellow Emeritus, Phillips Petroleum Co. Sr. Principal Reservoir Engineer Member of the National Academy of Engineering Electrical and Computer Engineering Jeffrey M. Platt, BSEE '79  President and CEO, Tidewater, Inc. Industrial Engineering David M. Dunahay, BSIE '78 Founding president (retired), FAW-GM Light Duty Commercial Vehicle Co. in Changchun, China; and Adjunct Professor of International Business, Georgetown University Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Albert J. Neupaver, MSME '79, MBA '82 Executive Chairman, Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation   ###  


Holtec International CEO Kris Singh to keynote ninth annual Nuclear Night at Pitt

All SSoE News, MEMS

PITTSBURGH (October 29, 2014) … Kris Singh, PhD, President, CEO and founder of Holtec International, will be the keynote speaker at the University of Pittsburgh's ninth annual "Nuclear Night" on Tuesday, November 18 at 6:00 pm at the O'Hara Student Center on Pitt's campus. Presented by the Swanson School of Engineering's nuclear engineering program and Pitt's Center for Energy , Nuclear Night allows students to interact with representatives from the region's nuclear power industry and to learn about Pitt's nuclear engineering certificate and Master of Science programs. "We're honored to welcome Dr. Singh, a leader in the nuclear power industry, as our keynote speaker," said Daniel G. Cole, PhD , associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and director of Pitt's nuclear engineering program. "He and his company are pioneering new technologies for the energy sector and nuclear power in particular. We look forward to hearing his insights about the emerging technology of small modular reactors." Established in 2006, Pitt's nuclear engineering program offers post-baccalaureate and graduate certificates, as well as a master of science degree, with concentration areas in codes and standards, operations and safety, science, and systems and policy. Since 2012 faculty in the program have received more than $3 million in funding from the Department of Energy and its Nuclear Engineering University Program (NEUP), and from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Pitt also offers the only nuclear engineering massive open online course (MOOC), "A Look at Nuclear Engineering Science and Technology," through the free online education platform, Coursera. The Pittsburgh region hosts one of the highest concentrations of nuclear power-related companies and expertise, including FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company, which operates the Beaver Valley Power Station nuclear power plant in Shippingport; Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation; and Westinghouse Electric Company. About Kris Singh Dr. Kris Singh is the President and CEO of Holtec International, a diversified energy technology company that he founded in 1986. Dr. Singh received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (1972), M.S. in Engineering Mechanics also from Penn (1969), and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from BIT Sindri (Ranchi University), India (1967). Dr. Singh is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and a member of the American Nuclear Society. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Over the past 40 years, he has published over sixty technical papers in the permanent literature, authored an authoritative text book on heat exchangers, and contributed to numerous monographs, symposia volumes, as well as national codes and standards. An array of patents (over 50 U.S. and foreign patents granted, and some 15 in the process of being granted) memorialize Dr. Singh's inventions over the past 40 years and form the bedrock of technology that supports Holtec International's global leadership in nuclear, solar, fossil and geothermal technologies. Dr. Singh has held executive management positions since 1979. Since 1986, he has led Holtec International, building the company into a technological powerhouse respected for its engineered goods and services around the world with nine major operations centers in three countries and an active business presence on four continents. A firm believer in the power of the atom to power the globe, Dr. Singh has been driving the development of an innovative small modular reactor design since 2009, with the goal of making nuclear energy the paragon of safety and a commercially-attractive source of clean energy around the world. ###

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