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.

Aug
29
2017

MEMS Students Bring the Heat at International Research Competitions

MEMS

PITTSBURGH (August 29, 2017) … Two students in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science won Best Poster Awards at competitions over the summer. Emily Kistler, a PhD student, won for her research based on a metal degradation process called hot corrosion; and Laura Fulton, an undergraduate student, won for her research into heat transfer in thermoelectric devices.Kistler, a member of MEMS Chair Brian Gleeson’s research group at Pitt, received the Best Poster Award at the Gordon Research Seminar on High Temperature Corrosion in New London, N.H. Her poster was titled “Impact of S02 Content and Temperature on the Early-Stage Hot Corrosion Behavior of a Current Generation Nickel-Based Superalloy.” The research presented in the poster was in collaboration with Pratt & Whitney, a manufacturer of aircraft engines, and supported by the United States Office of Naval Research and a fellowship from Pitt’s Center for Energy. The study addressed how variation in SO2 content in the atmosphere impacts the mechanism and extent of a particularly aggressive form of degradation known as hot corrosion.“Hot corrosion is an accelerated form of attack due to the presence of a sulfate containing deposit, such as sodium sulfate (Na2SO4),” explained Kistler. “Sodium dioxide, or SO2, is present in fuel as well as a constituent in the atmosphere. SO2 reacts with O2, creating SO3, which stabilizes liquid formation below the melting point of Na2SO4 leading to hot corrosion, and both above and below the melting point of Na2SO4 higher concentration of SO2 leads to a greater extent of attack. In the future, I will study potential mitigation strategies such as homogenizing the alloy, because the current heat treatment of the alloy the composition is not completely uniform (dendritic structure). I will also test how varying the percent of certain elements, such as Cr, may protect again hot corrosion below the melting point of Na2SO4.”About 60 young researchers from around the world participated in the GRS. Kistler’s poster won first place out of a field of 54 posters. Her research has both scientific and practical relevance to the performance of aero turbines.Fulton, a member of Assistant Professor Matthew M. Barry’s research group at Pitt, received the Best Poster Award at the International Conference on Thermoelectrics in Pasadena, Calif. Her poster titled “Numerically Resolved Radiation View Factors for Single and Multi-Junction Thermoelectric Devices” was based on research in collaboration with Texas A&M University that focused on developing methods to quickly and accurately determine radiation view factors within complex three-dimensional structures considering ray collisions.“My project is concerned with thermoelectric devices which take thermal heat and convert it into electrical energy,” said Fulton. “What I looked at was modeling the heat exchange between the surfaces of a device. I examined the surface orientation and geometry since these factors influence heat transfer. View factors are the proportion of radiation which leave one surface and strike another, and I focused on creating coding program that mathematically calculated these factors based on a thermoelectric device’s surface geometry and orientation.”Fulton’s poster was one of 338 presented. More than 550 researchers and scientists participated in the conference. Her work has impact on the modeling of thermoelectric devices applied to high-temperature waste heat recovery applications, radioisotope generators used within space applications, and many implications with respect to the nuclear industry. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Aug
7
2017

Multiscale Thermophysics Researcher Heng Ban Joins the MEMS Faculty

MEMS

PITTSBURGH (August 7, 2017) … Expanding its impact in energy research, the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering has recruited thermal science researcher Heng Ban to the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) as the R. K. Mellon Professor in Energy. “Heng has already had a successful career at Utah State University, exploring new research topics in thermal science and publishing his results in top journals,” said Brian Gleeson, the Harry S. Tack Chair Professor and Chair of MEMS. “We look forward to seeing those talents put to use at the University of Pittsburgh.”Dr. Ban’s research interests covers topics in thermal and energy sciences. His focus has been to understand the relationship between material microstructural change and its thermal performance, with research covering experimental and computational material thermophysical properties and measurement technique development. His research can be applied to a better understanding of nuclear fuels and materials, micro-scale measurements, and the development of hot-cell or in-pile sensors and instrumentations.“Many impressive and highly-qualified candidates were considered for this position, but Professor Ban’s particular research interests and expertise make him the perfect addition to our faculty and to the Center of Energy’s research portfolio,” said Greg Reed, professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering, and Director of the Center For Energy at Pitt.Before coming to the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Ban was a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Utah State University and the founding Director of the Center for Thermohydraulics and Material Properties. He is also a former associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Ban received his PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Kentucky; his MS in engineering thermal sciences from the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, China; and his BS in engineering mechanics from Tsinghua University in Beijing. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Aug
4
2017

MEMS MMCL Postdoc

MEMS, Open Positions

We invite applications for a postdoctoral position in the Materials Micro-Characterization Laboratory (MMCL) of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Pittsburgh. The MMCL offers shared-user access to electron-, ion- and x-ray-based micro-analysis resources, and serves the diverse needs of a growing community of academic and industry users. The MMCL instruments include field-emission transmission and scanning electron microscopes (TEM and SEM), which are equipped for composition and crystal orientation analyses, as well as x-ray-diffraction (XRD), atomic force microscopy and nano-mechanical testing equipment, and features a suite of state-of-the-art instruments for advanced electron microscopy specimen preparation. The position is available for a micro-characterization specialist for materials science applications. With a focus on metals, ceramics and composites, the successful candidate will directly work with users to initiate and execute materials research primarily with EM and XRD methods. This includes sample preparation and interpretation of the results, preparation of reports and publications in peer-reviewed journals, as well as participation in technical and scientific meetings to disseminate research results. Also, he/she will conduct user training, co-manage day-to-day MMCL operations, ensure peak performance and improvement of instruments, work with department and laboratory leadership in strategic build-out of the MMCL, promote its service capabilities on and off campus, and engage in outreach and limited teaching activities. A PhD in materials science, physics, chemistry, or a related field, and at least two years of documented hands-on experience with modern SEM, TEM and XRD instrumentation in high-level research of crystalline materials are required. Apart from good communication and interpersonal skills, the qualified candidate will have acquired superior competency with the relevant theoretical knowledge. Familiarity with modern computer programming and optimization techniques, simulations of EM and XRD data, and post-acquisition data processing and analyses using popular software is desirable. Candidates with experience operating user facilities and expertise with advanced EM techniques are of particular interest. The position is available as early as September 1, 2017, with an initial appointment for one year and the possibility of extension for subsequent years, depending on performance and availability of funding. Applicants should submit a cover letter, CV and contact information for at least two (2) references electronically to the attention of Professor Wiezorek at Wiezorek@pitt.edu. The University affirms and actively promotes the rights of all individuals to equal opportunity in education and employment without regard to race, color, sex, national origin, age, religion, marital status, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other protected class.

Jun
19
2017

Minking Chyu Appointed Distinguished Service Professor

MEMS

PITTSBURGH, PA (June 19, 2017) … In honor of significant contributions to the University of Pittsburgh, Chancellor Patrick Gallagher has appointed Minking Chyu as Distinguished Service Professor, effective September 1, 2017. Dr. Chyu is currently the Leighton and Mary Orr Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Associate Dean of International Initiatives, and the inaugural Dean of the Sichuan University-Pittsburgh Institute (SCUPI) in China. After officially opening its doors in fall 2015, SCUPI has already grown freshman enrollment from 100 to 160 students this past year. There are currently 22 faculty and staff members and a new 300,000 square-foot building is currently under construction.“Dr. Chyu conceived the idea of creating a joint institute that would offer three University of Pittsburgh engineering degrees in China, led a team from the Swanson School to find a suitable partner, convinced the leadership of Sichuan University—a top 10 Chinese institution—to partner with Pitt, and persuaded the Pitt administration and the Chinese Ministry of Education of the merits of the joint venture. Dr. Chyu’s vision will have an immeasurable impact on future engineers for generations to come,” said Gerald Holder, US Steel Dean of Engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering.Dr. Chyu received his PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota. Before joining the University of Pittsburgh in 2000, he was a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University for 13 years. His primary research interests are in thermal and material issues relating to energy, power, and aero propulsion systems. Dr. Chyu is a recipient of four NASA Certificates of Recognition for his contributions on the US space shuttle main engineer program. He has served as an Air Force Summer Research Fellow, Department of Energy Oak Ridge Research Fellow, and DOE Advanced-Turbine-System Faculty Fellow. He is also a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Associate Fellow of American Institute of Aerospace and Aeronautics (AIAA), and a member of the Scientific Council of the International Center of Heat and Mass Transfer (ISHMT). Dr. Chyu has published more than 300 technical papers in archived journals, books, and conference proceedings. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Jun
16
2017

Pitt to recognize engineering alumna Elayne Arrington at 2017 AAAC Distinguished Alumnus Awards

MEMS, Diversity

University of Pittsburgh News Release PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh African American Alumni Council (AAAC) will honor five Pitt alumni at a ceremony at 3 p.m. June 17 at the Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center, 100 Lytton Ave., Oakland. The AAAC Distinguished Alumnus Awards are given to outstanding African American Pitt alumni for their professional accomplishments as well as their community stature.Elayne Arrington (ENGR ’61) cleared many hurdles in her quest to become an aeronautical engineer. She earned the second-highest SAT score in mathematics the year she graduated from Homestead High School as class valedictorian. But that year, for the first time in school history, the valedictorian did not deliver the address. Instead, it was given by the class president. Pitt recommended that Arrington receive the Mesta Machine Co. scholarship for employees’ top performing children to study mechanical engineering. But Mesta refused to give the scholarship to a woman. Despite that, in 1961 Arrington became the first Black female to graduate from Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. She worked as an aerospace engineer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s Foreign Technology Division. She earned a PhD in math in 1974, the 17th Black woman in the country to do so, and returned to Pitt to teach mathematics for the next 40 years.Martha Richards Conley (LAW ’71) was Pitt Law's first Black female graduate and the first Black female lawyer admitted to practice in Allegheny County. She was employed by the U.S. Steel Corporation for 27 years and retired from there as senior general attorney. A longtime opponent of the death penalty, she was chair of the Pittsburgh chapter of Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. She is a longtime member of the historic Aurora Reading Club in Pittsburgh. She is an official visitor with the Pennsylvania Prison Society and escorted Cape Town Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on a prison visit in 2007.Robert “Bobby” Grier (BUS ’57) broke the color barrier when the Pitt Panthers fullback became the first African American college football player to play in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 2, 1956, when Pitt faced Georgia Tech. The governor of Georgia strongly opposed Grier’s participation in the game, as did the Georgia Tech Board of Trustees, whose members said Georgia Tech would forfeit the game if Grier was not benched. But Grier had strong support of his teammates and Pitt, who vowed “No Grier, no game.” Support for Grier also came from students and football players from Georgia Tech, who strongly protested against a forfeit. Pitt lost the game, 7-0, on a controversial pass interference call on Grier. Later, evidence appeared to show it was a bad call. Pitt won a major victory off the field that year, thanks to Bobby Grier and his Pitt teammates. DAME Vivian Hewitt (SIS ’44) received her library science degree from Pitt’s School of Library and Information Sciences. She began her career as the first Black librarian for the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh. Later, she became the first Black chief librarian at the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Council on Foreign Relations. Hewitt and her husband began buying works of Haitian and African American art while still a young couple, and now the Hewitt Collection is regarded to be one of the finest collections of its type in the world. It was purchased by Bank of America and gifted to the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Art + Culture in Charlotte, North Carolina. The collection is on display at Pittsburgh’s August Wilson Center through June 30.Cecile M. Springer (GSPIA ’71) holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at Pitt. She achieved professional distinction in a number of fields throughout her diverse career, which has included positions as a research chemist for Bristol Myers Laboratories in New York, a principal planner for the Southwest Regional Planning Commission, president of the Westinghouse Foundation and founder of her own firm, Springer Associates, which provided comprehensive strategic planning. She has been recognized as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania, a Carlow University Woman of Spirit and a Legacy Laureate of the University of Pittsburgh — the highest honor for an alumnus. Springer is a past president of the Pitt Alumni Association. ### Pictured above: Dr. Arrington (center) is recognized by the Swanson School "for exemplary leadership and resilience as the University of Pittsburgh's first African American female engineering graduate" during Black History Month on February 28, 2017. With her are (left) Sylvanus Wosu, Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Diversity; and Gerald D. Holder, Distinguished Service Professor and U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering.
Joe Miksch, News Director, University of Pittsburgh News Services

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