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.

May
27
2015

Research paper earns grad student a Microscopy & Microanalysis Presidential Scholar Award

All SSoE News, MEMS, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (May 27, 2015) ... Kai Zweiacker, a graduate student in mechanical engineering and materials science at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, has been named a recipient of the 2015 Presidential Scholar award from the Microscopy Society of America . Mr. Zweiacker's winning research paper, "Quantitative Phase Analysis of Rapid Solidification Products in Al-Cu Alloys by Automated Crystal Orientation Mapping in the TEM," was selected from more than 300 proceedings papers. Zweiacker will present his paper at the Microscopy and Microanalysis 2015 conference , August 2-6, where he will receive the award. Mr. Zweiacker's research paper analyzed the formation of nano-scale crystals from an aluminum-copper alloy after laser melting. Laser-assisted fabrication has applications in electronic, electromagnetic and electro-optical micro-devices, as well as in bio-medical, petrochemical, energy generation and transportation technologies. "I am very pleased for Kai receiving this award. It represents recognition of the high quality and relevance of his unique research," said his adviser, Dr. Jörg M.K. Wiezorek . "It uses cutting edge in-situ transmission electron microscopy techniques to reveal details of melting and crystallization in metals and alloys after laser irradiation. "Understanding the mechanisms of how alloy microstructures evolve after laser melting is scientifically interesting," continued Dr. Wiezorek, "and is important to many advanced laser-based processing technologies for joining, sintering and additive manufacturing of materials. I look forward to Kai's presentation and award ceremony in Portland, OR, in August." Born and raised in Cologne, Germany, Mr. Zweiacker received his Diplom-Ingenieur (MS) degree from the Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen in 2009. He joined Dr. Wiezorek's research team at the University of Pittsburgh the following year. The Microscopy Society of America is dedicated to the promotion and advancement of techniques and applications of microscopy and microanalysis in all relevant scientific disciplines. ###
Paul Kovach
Mar
30
2015

Pitt designated an Innovation Corps Site by National Science Foundation

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

UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH NEWS RELEASE PITTSBURGH- The National Science Foundation (NSF) has designated the University of Pittsburgh as an NSF I-Corps site. The award, which supports innovation activities at select academic institutions, comes with a three-year, $300,000 grant to be used to advance innovation, commercialization, and entrepreneurship at Pitt. The University's Innovation Institute will manage the Pitt I-Corps site. (The "I" in I-Corps stands for "Innovation.") Through the I-Corps grant, 30 Pitt Innovator teams per year will receive $3,000 to participate in the Institute's Pitt Ventures program, which provides Pitt teams with hands-on commercialization and entrepreneurial education activities in partnership with entrepreneurs-in-residence, investors, and local business mentors. Pitt Innovator teams may use the $3,000 stipends for market research, customer-discovery analyses, and other development efforts.  "We're honored to receive this prestigious NSF award to support our commercialization efforts," says Marc Malandro, founding director of the Innovation Institute and associate vice chancellor for technology management and commercialization at Pitt. "This award builds on our efforts to instill a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across the entire University, bringing together more faculty, staff, and student innovators with educators, mentors, and other community partners to advance our commercialization activities." The Innovation Institute's goals for the I-Corps program are to accomplish the following: Increase the number of entrepreneurially minded faculty, staff, and students at Pitt through education, training, and outreach-particularly among innovators from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented academic disciplines. Enhance a recently deployed commercialization process at Pitt that includes experiential learning and customer-discovery support for Pitt Innovator teams. Improve Pitt's connection to-and support of-the Pittsburgh region's entrepreneurial ecosystem in nurturing startup companies emerging from University innovations. "Through support provided by the I-Corps program, the University of Pittsburgh now will be able to develop an even deeper pipeline of commercialization opportunities from a broader group of innovators, further enhancing our impact on regional and national economic development," Malandro says. The Innovation Institute , launched in November 2013, serves as the hub of innovation commercialization and entrepreneurship activities at the University of Pittsburgh.   ###
Joe Miksch
Mar
19
2015

Minking Chyu receives Pitt’s 2015 Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement

All SSoE News, MEMS

Pictured from left: U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering Gerald D. Holder; Associate Dean from International Initiatives Minking Chyu; and Ariel C. Armony, senior director of international programs and director of the University Center for International Studies PITTSBURGH (March 19, 2014) … Recognizing his contributions to furthering international education at the University of Pittsburgh, Minking Chyu, PhD received the 2015 Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement at a reception on March 18, 2015. Dr. Chyu is the Leighton and Mary Orr Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and inaugural Associate Dean for International Initiatives at the Swanson School of Engineering, and the inaugural Dean of the Sichuan University-Pittsburgh Institute (SCUPI) in China. Presented by Pitt's University Center for International Studies , the Sheth International Awards recognize international achievements by a current faculty member and by an alumnus of the University of Pittsburgh.  The awards were established in 2012 through the generosity of Madhu and Dr. Jagdish N. Sheth (Business '62G, '66G) and the Sheth Family Foundation.  Asha Williams (GSPIA '07) received the International Young Alumni Achievement Award, which acknowledges a Pitt alumnus for contributions to the international community through professional achievement and societal impact. "Minking Chyu is the consummate global engineering educator," says Dr. Jagdish Sheth, University of Pittsburgh alumnus (BUS '62, '66) who, with his wife Madhuri, promotes global thinking and international endeavors through the Sheth Family Foundation. "In a career spanning 30 years, he has shown a deep desire to equip students with the engineering and global skills needed for success anywhere in the world. He will bring those same talents to the first cohort of students at the Sichuan University-Pittsburgh Institute." About Dr.Chyu Minking K. Chyu received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1986. He was a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University for 14 years before joining the University of Pittsburgh in 2000 as the Leighton Orr Chair Professor and Department Chair of Mechanical Engineering. When the departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering merged in 2006, Dr. Chyu helped to lead the process and was named chair of the combined MEMS Department. His primary research is in thermo-fluid issues relating to power and propulsion systems, manufacturing and material processing. Major projects conducted to date include convective cooling of gas turbine airfoils, nanofluid applications in heat transfer and oil/gas exploration, thermoelectric energy conversion and additive manufacturing. Dr. Chyu was awarded four NASA Certificates of Recognition for his contribution on the U.S. space shuttle program, and has also served as an Air Force Summer Research Fellow, Department of Energy Oak Ridge Research Fellow, and Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced-Turbine-System Faculty Fellow. He is 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 Centre of Heat and Mass Transfer (ICHMT). He was named the Engineer of The Year by the ASME Pittsburgh Chapter in 2002. In 2007, he was appointed as Institute of Advanced Energy Solutions (IAES) Residence Fellow by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). He served as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Heat Transfer, ASME; Advisory Board Member for the International Journal of Fluid Machinery and Systems; and a Foreign Editor for the International Journal of Chinese Institute of Mechanical Engineers. He has published 290 technical papers in archived journals and conference proceedings. About Dr.Sheth Dr. Jagdish N. Sheth is a renowned scholar and world authority in the field of marketing. His insights on global competition, strategic thinking and customer relationship management are considered revolutionary. He is the Charles H. Kellstadt Chair of Marketing in the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. Prior to this, he was a distinguished faculty member at the University of Southern California, the University of Illinois, Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Sheth is nationally and internationally known for his scholarly contributions in consumer behavior, relationship marketing, competitive strategy and geopolitical analysis. He has worked for numerous industries and companies in the United States, Europe and Asia, both as an Advisor and as a Seminar Leader. His clients include AT&T, BellSouth, Cox Communications, Delta, Ernst & Young, Ford, GE, Lucent Technologies, Motorola, Nortel, Pillsbury, Sprint, Square D, 3M, Whirlpool and many more. He has offered more than a thousand presentations in at least twenty countries. In addition to his academic pursuits, Dr. Sheth works diligently to promote global thinking and international endeavors through The Sheth Foundation. It is because of this mission and his generosity that we accept nominations every spring for two awards that will benefit the University of Pittsburgh community and recognize commitments to the international community. ###
Paul Kovach
Mar
10
2015

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
Mar
9
2015

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

All SSoE News, MEMS

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. ###  

Mechanical & Materials Science

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