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.


Mechanical Engineering's Anne Robertson named Grant Reviewer for National Institutes Of Health

Bioengineering, MEMS

PITTSBURGH (August 24, 2016) … The National Institutes of Health (NIH) appointed Anne M. Robertson, William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Engineering and Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Material Science at the University of Pittsburgh, to the Neuroscience and Ophthalmic Imaging Technologies Study Section at the Center for Scientific Review. Members of NIH Study Sections are responsible for reviewing grant applications and making recommendations to the appropriate national advisory council or board for funding. They are also expected to have a comprehensive understanding of the status of research in their fields of science and apply that knowledge in the evaluation of research proposals. “The National Institutes of Health have an invaluable impact on reducing disease, improving health and quality of life, conducting fundamental research and creating a community of leading scientists who support each other’s efforts,” said Robertson, who is also a professor of Bioengineering at Pitt. “I am honored with this opportunity to join colleagues in contributing to the mission of the largest biomedical research institution in the world.” The appointment of study members is based on the scientists’ demonstrated competence and achievements in their disciplines. Potential study members must have also demonstrated outstanding results in their research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors. NIH officers in charge of selecting new study members take in to account mature judgment and objectivity as well as the ability to work effectively in a group. Robertson will serve a four-year term as a NIH Reviewer from July 1, 2016 until June 30, 2020. About Anne Robertson Robertson is professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and professor of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh. She holds a William Kepler Whiteford Endowed Professorship in Engineering. Robertson’s research is focused on cerebral vascular disease and mechanobiology, and she directs a multi-institution program on cerebral aneurysm research. She is principal investigator on a current R01 and two multi PI R21 grants from the National Institutes of Health and has held visiting research professorships at universities, including the Polictecnico di Milano (Italy), the Bernouilli Center at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL, Switzerland) and RWTH University of Aachen (Germany). Robertson is director and founder of the newly formed Center for Faculty Excellence in the Swanson School of Engineering (SSOE). This Center takes the lead in developing and implementing programs to enhance the effectiveness of junior faculty in building outstanding academic careers. Robertson was one of 19 women admitted into the 2013-2014 class of the Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering (ELATE) at Drexel University, during which she developed Program LE2AP (Leveraging Excellence in Engineering Assistant Professors) that led to the development of the Center. Robertson earned her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California Berkeley, after which she was a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering, also at U.C. Berkeley. She joined the University of Pittsburgh in 1995, where she was the first female faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. She served as director of the Graduate Program in Mechanical Engineering from 2004 to 2008. In 2007, she was the recipient of the Beitle-Veltri Memorial Outstanding Teaching Award in the SSOE. Robertson is a strong supporter of diversity-related initiatives, and in 2007, she received the Robert O. Agbede Faculty Award for Diversity in the SSOE. ###
Author: Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer

Pitt mechanical engineers receive $350,000 NSF grant to develop fast computational modeling for additive manufacturing


PITTSBURGH (August 16, 2016) … As additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, becomes more commonplace, researchers and industry are seeking to mitigate the distortions and stresses inherent in fabricating these complex geometries. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering and Pittsburgh-based manufacturer Aerotech, Inc. recently received a $350,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to address these design issues by developing new, fast computational methods for additive manufacturing. The proposal, “Novel Computational Approaches to Address Key Design Optimization Issues for Metal Additive Manufacturing,” is a three-year, $350,000 GOALI (Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry) grant funded by the NSF’s Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI). The team, based in the Swanson School’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, includes Associate Professor and Principal Investigator Albert To; and co-PIs Assistant Professor Sangyeop Lee and Adjunct Associate Professor Stephen Ludwick. Aerotech, Inc. will partner with Pitt by providing designs and evaluation. The group’s research is an extension of previous funding from the Research for Advanced Manufacturing in Pennsylvania program (RAMP). “The ability to create geometrically complex shapes through additive manufacturing is both a tremendous benefit and a significant challenge,” Dr. To said. “Optimizing the design to compensate for residual distortion, residual stress, and post-machining requirements can take days or even months for these parts.” To mitigate these challenges, Dr. To and his group will first develop a simple yet accurate thermomechanics model to predict residual stress and distortion in an AM part. Next, they will develop a topology optimization method capable of generating designs with both free-form surfaces and machining-friendly surfaces. According to Dr. To, this will compensate for the geometric complexity and organic nature of AM parts, which contribute to their potential for distortion and post-machining problems. These approaches will then be developed and tested using real parts and design requirements provided by Aerotech. Aerotech’s Stephen Ludwick expects that "the tools developed through this collaboration will allow us to produce the complex parts enabled by additive manufacturing with a minimum of trial-and-error and rework. This in turn allows us to design stiff and lightweight components in our high-speed motion systems which are also used by other companies engaged in advanced manufacturing." “By utilizing advanced mechanic theory, we hope to reduce design optimization of additive manufactured parts to minutes, thereby reducing the time of design life cycle,” Dr. To said. “This would lead to wider adoption of AM by the U.S. manufacturing base and further improve the economic sustainability of the additive manufacturing process.” About the NSF GOALI Grant Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) promotes university-industry partnerships by making project funds or fellowships/traineeships available to support an eclectic mix of industry-university linkages. Special interest is focused on affording the opportunity for: Faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students to conduct research and gain experience in an industrial setting; Industrial scientists and engineers to bring industry perspectives and integrative skills to academe; and Interdisciplinary university-industry teams to conduct research projects. This solicitation targets high-risk/high-gain research with a focus on fundamental research, new approaches to solving generic problems, development of innovative collaborative industry-university educational programs, and direct transfer of new knowledge between academe and industry. GOALI seeks to fund transformative research that lies beyond that which industry would normally fund. ### Image above: The supporting structures failed for these four fatigue test bars. The stress buildup in the longer length of the bars created an excessive curling force on the outer edges of the support structures, resulting in fracture. Image below: For larger internal lattice networks, if the open run of the lattice network is close to the maximum build span, the solid skinned top surface of the lattice network will risk an incomplete closure. Because of internal stresses generated during the build, these unconnected areas raise and in turn cause the recoating blade to strike them, which results in a failed build.


Pitt engineers receive $503,000 NSF grant to study how aluminum alloy microstructures form in real time


PITTSBURGH (July 21, 2016) … A grant from the National Science Foundation will enable researchers at the University of Pittsburgh to utilize a one-of-a-kind transmission electron microscope developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to examine in real time how microstructures form in metals and alloys as they solidify after laser beam melting.  The proposal, “In-situ transmission electron microscopy of microstructure formation during laser irradiation induced irreversible transformations in metals and alloys” was awarded a three-year, $503,435 grant from the NSF Division of Materials Research. Principal investigator is Jörg M.K. Wiezorek, PhD, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science. The grant will also fund educational outreach and enhance the materials science curriculum at Pitt.Dr. Wiezorek and his research group will utilize the dynamic transmission electron microscope (DTEM) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which unlike a traditional electron microscope taking before-and-after images, can record nanoscale transformations in materials with nanosecond time-resolution. The researchers will study rapid solidification processes in aluminum alloys that are associated with laser or electron beam processing technologies used in welding, joining and additive manufacturing. “Predicting microstructure formation during rapid non-equilibrium processing of engineering materials is a fundamental challenge of materials science. Prior to advent of the DTEM we could only simulate these transformations on a computer,” Dr. Wiezorek explained. “We hope to discover the mechanisms of how alloy microstructures evolve during solidification after laser melting by direct and locally resolved observation. Thermodynamics provides for the limiting constraints for the transformations of the materials, but it cannot a-priori predict the pathways the microstructures take as they transition from the liquid to the final solid state.”Dr. Wiezorek expects the research to help validate computer models and determine how composition changes and temperature gradients affect the microstructure. The data will assist in providing a stronger scientific underpinning for establishing relationships between the processing conditions, structure and properties of the alloys obtained by laser processing. “We are hoping to unravel details of the kinetic pathways taken from the liquid to the final solid structure,” Dr. Wiezorek said. “This research will help us to refine solidification related manufacturing processes and to identify strategies to optimize how materials perform.”About Jörg WiezorekDr. Wiezorek’s research group studies advanced materials and materials processing using and developing methods for the quantitative characterization by electron, ion and X-ray beam methods and other modern micro-characterization techniques. Combining experiments and appropriate computer simulations with the principles and practice of physical metallurgy and metal physics leads to the discovery of novel materials, materials behaviors and explanations of their properties, with an emphasis on intermetallic and metallic systems.  Recent research thrusts include: (1) Determination of the electron density and nature of bonding in transitional metal based materials including intermetallics by quantitative electron diffraction and validation of density functional theory calculations; (2) Surface modification of structural alloys for enhanced performance by severe plastic deformation and grain-boundary-engineering; (3) In-situ studies of rapid irreversible transients, e.g. solidification, in pulsed laser processed metals and alloys using Ultrafast (nanosecond) TEM imaging and diffraction.Dr. Wiezorek joined the Swanson School of Engineering in the fall of 1998 and was promoted to Full Professor in 2014. He received a PhD in Materials Science and Metallurgy from the University of Cambridge, UK (1994) and obtained a Physics degree from the University of Münster, Germany (1991). He conducted high-temperature materials research using advanced transmission electron microscopy at The Ohio State University prior to his faculty appointment. ### Figure of DTEM below and above created by Ryan Chen of the Technical Information Department at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


Materials Engineering/Distance Learning Non-Tenure Stream Faculty Position

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 Materials Science field in the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) Department with the principal duties of coordinating distance learning, organizing graduate courses, and teaching. The successful candidate is expected to interact with the Distance Learning Coordinator for the school in initiating a distance learning curriculum in the area of physical metallurgy, to arrange for lecturers from both the core faculty and guest lecturers, and to teach several courses per semester in either the On-site Curriculum or the Distance Learning Curriculum. For full consideration, applicants must possess a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering, Metallurgical Engineering or equivalent.  Applicants with prior teaching experience in an engineering materials program are particularly encouraged to apply. The successful candidate should be able to teach a variety of core courses in the MSE Stream of the MEMS Department, including, but not limited to, thermodynamics, phase equilibria and phase diagrams, phase transformations, strengthening mechanisms, annealing phenomena, mechanical properties, corrosion and failure analysis. The ability to develop and teach upper level electives and graduate courses is an added benefit. The position is for the academic year, with the potential of summer teaching, and is eligible for renewal on an annual basis. The Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Department has 28 tenured or tenure-track faculty members who generate over $6 million in annual research expenditures.  The National Research Council (NRC) has recently placed Mechanical Engineering at Pitt as top 20 among public universities.  The Department maintains cutting edge experimental and computational facilities in various areas including energy, high temperature materials, biomechanics, additive manufacturing, smart structures, advanced steels, system dynamics and controls, and materials characterization. Interested applicants should submit one PDF file that includes: a cover letter, a detailed resume, statements describing teaching and research interests and plans, and at least three references, to pitt-mems-search@engr.pitt.edu for the Materials Science and Engineering position. Review of applications will begin on July 15, 2016 and continue until the position is filled. The University of Pittsburgh is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, marital status, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status.

Materials Science and Engineering position

Postdoctoral Position - Materials Micro - Characterization Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh

All SSoE News, 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-beam based micro-analysis resources and serves the diverse needs of a growing community of currently over 80 academic and industry users. The MMCL instruments include transmission electron microscopes (TEM) and scanning electron microscopes (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 post-doctoral associate will perform materials science and engineering research with a focus on metals, ceramics and composites using primarily the MMCL electron and X-ray tools. Additionally, he/she will conduct user training and assist with operational needs of the MMCL. The successful candidate is expected to perform quantitative experiments for a range of materials by EM and XRD methods, inclusive of sample preparation, under the guidance of the MMCL Director, Prof. Jorg Wiezorek, and collaboratively engage with select MMCL user research projects. Duties will also include interpretation of the EM and XRD results, as well as preparation of reports, publications in peer-reviewed journals and participation at technical and scientific meetings for dissemination of research results and to promote the MMCL. A PhD in materials science, physics, chemistry, or a related field, and at least two years of documented hands-on experience with modern EM and XRD instrumentation use in high-level research of crystalline materials are required. Apart from good communications and interpersonal skills, the qualified candidate has acquired excellent 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. The position is available as early as September 1, 2016, 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 of Pittsburgh is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, marital status, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status.

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