Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Research Overview

The department has 34 full-time, tenured, or tenure-track faculty plus five research faculty whose expertise spans across a broad range of topics, including energy and power technology, solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, computational mechanics, smart materials and systems, controls, acoustics, micro- and nano-technology, and materials science.

The research program in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science has grown steadily, reaching nearly $6 million in research revenue funded by government agencies and industry.

Strong ties to industry have fostered a symbiotic relationship which both grows the local and national economy and enhances the educational experience of the students. The department houses more than a dozen research laboratories as well as a center.

The core competencies of the department's research are in many areas, most specifically: 

  • Advanced Manufacturing and Design
  • Materials for Extreme Conditions
  • Biomechanics and Medical Technologies
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Energy System Technologies
  • Quantitative and In Situ Materials Characterization

ADVANCED MANUFACTURING AND DESIGN

Active faculty members:

Hessam Babaee, Markus Chmielus, Sung Kwon Cho, Minking Chyu, Anthony Deardo, C. Isaac Garcia, Tevis Jacobs, Jung-Kun Lee, Ian Nettleship, David Schmidt, Albert To, Jeffrey Vipperman, Qing-Ming Wang, Xiong Wei, Jörg Wiezorek, Xudong Zhang

 

MATERIALS FOR EXTREME CONDITIONS

Active faculty members:

Minking Chyu, Anthony Deardo, C. Isaac Garcia, Tevis Jacobs, Gerald Meier, Wissam Saidi, Guofeng Wang, Qing-Ming Wang, Xiong Wei, Jörg Wiezorek, Sylvanus Wosu

BIOMECHANICS AND MEDICAL TECHNOLOGIES

Active faculty members:

Sung Kwon Cho, William Clark, G. Paolo Galdi, Anne Robertson, Nitin Sharma, Patrick Smolinski, Jeffrey Vipperman, Qing-Ming Wang, Sylvanus Wosu, Xudong Zhang

MODELING AND SIMULATION

Active faculty members:

Hessam Babaee, G. Paolo Galdi, Peyman Givi, Sangyeop Lee, Anne Robertson, Wissam Saidi, David Schmidt, Patrick Smolinski, Albert To, Jeffrey Vipperman, Guofeng Wang, Xudong Zhang, Xiong Wei

 

ENERGY SYSTEM TECHNOLOGIES

Active faculty members:

Sung Kwon Cho, Minking Chyu, William Clark, Daniel Cole, Peyman Givi, Jung-Kun Lee, Sangyeop Lee, Gerald Meier, Jeffrey Vipperman, Guofeng Wang

 

QUANTITATIVE AND IN SITU MATERIALS CHARACTERIZATION

Active faculty members:

Markus Chmielus, Anthony Deardo, C. Isaac Garcia, Tevis Jacobs, Sangyeop Lee, Scott Mao, Anne Robertson, Wissam Saidi, Qing-Ming Wang, Xiong Wei, Jörg Wiezorek, Sylvanus Wosu

 

SUNG KWON CHO

• MEMS design and fabrication
• Micro/biofluidics
• BioMEMS

MINKING K. CHYU

• Heat and mass transfer
• Gas turbine cooling and durability
• Fuel cells
• Energy technology

WILLIAM W. CLARK

• Adaptive and morphing structures
• Energy harvesting
• Active and passive-semi-active vibration control
• Smart structures

DANIEL G. COLE

• Dynamic systems, measurement, and control
• Iterative and adaptive control
• Control of nanosystems
• Nanomanipulation and fabrication
• Optical traps
• Adaptive optics

GIOVANNI P. GALDI

• Linear and nonlinear stability
• Fluid/particle interaction
• Flow in channels and pipes

PEYMAN GIVI

• Turbulence
• Combustion
• Computational fluid dynamics
• Propulsion
• Stochastic processes

JUNG-KUN LEE

• Solar cell application of nanostructured materials
• Ion beam process and characterization
• Functional oxide materials

SCOTT X. MAO

• Experimental micro- and nanoscale mechanics
• Materials science
• Applied and fracture mechanics
• Thin films
• Metal/ceramic composites

GERALD H. MEIER

• High temperature oxidation
• Coatings
• Fuel cells
• Gas turbines

ANNE M. ROBERTSON

• Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluid dynamics
• Cerebral vascular disease
• Constitutive modeling of soft biological tissues

WILLIAM S. SLAUGHTER

• Theoretical Solid Mechanics
• Life Prediction Models
• Strain Gradient Plasticity
• Sintered Materials
• Biomaterials

PATRICK SMOLINSKI

• Computational simulation and finite element analysis
• Orthopaedic device engineering, tissue characterization and tissue engineering
• Simulation and testing of surgical procedures and injury mechanisms
• Quantitative Anatomic characterization

JEFFREY VIPPERMAN

• Acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, and hearing loss prevention
• Applied control, including active noise and vibration control
• Control algorithm development (feedback and adaptive feedforward)
• Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) design and fabrication
• Modeling and simulation of dynamic systems
• Smart structures and systems, including sensor and actuator development

QING-MING WANG

• Smart materials, including piezoelectrics and electrostrictives
• Thin films
• Actuator and sensor development
• MEMS design and fabrication
• Micro fuel cells
• BioMEMS

JÖRG M.K. WIEZOREK

• Material Science with emphasis on Processing-Structure-Property relationships in metals and intermetallic based alloys for high performance applications 
• Physical Metallurgy, Metal Physics:  Phase Transformations    
• Defects and Interfaces in Crystals, Microstructural Evolution, Mechanical and Magnetic properties
• Degradation of structural (steels & non-ferrous alloys, composites) in extreme environments  
• Advanced Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopy (SEM & TEM)
• Dynamic in-situ TEM study of deformation and transformation processes
• Quantitative electron and X-ray diffraction

SYLVANUS N. WOSU

• Impact physics/experimental mechanics
• Composite materials
• Biomechanics of cerebral oxygen metabolism

MARCUS CHMIELUS

• Multiscale Structure-Mechanical Property Investigation of Additive Manufactured Components for Development of a Reliable Qualification Method, NSF
• A Database Relating Powder Properties to Fatigue Strength for Binder Jet Printed Inconel, RAMP

SUNG KWON CHO

• Enhanced Water Recovery of Power Plant Cooling Tower Systems, DOE-NETL  
• Micro Swimming Drone, NSF  
• Electrowetting, Dielectrowetting, Dielectrophoresis and Digital Microfluids  
• Active Membranes for Mass Transport Augementation, CRDF
• Implantable Biosensors, DOD

MINKING K. CHYU

• Design, Fabrication and Performance Characterization of Near-Surface Embedding Cooling Channels with an Oxide Dispersion Strengthened (ODS) Coating Layer, DOE, University Turbine System Research

WILLIAM W. CLARK

• Structures with Reconfigurable Circulatory Systems, DARPA
• Light-Activated Shape Memory Polymer Composites, DARPA/Cornerstone Research Group
• Fiber-Reinforced Morphing Composite Skin, DARPA/NextGen Aeronautics 
• Augmenting the Lifetime of Batteries for Implantable Devices, NSF/Piezo Energy Technologies

ANTHONY J. DEARDO

• Development of TRIP and IF Steels using TSCE Processing, Baoshan Iron and Steel Company 
• Study of the Sources of Property Variability in HSLA Steels, U.S.  Steel, Rouge Steel, HyLSA Steel, Reference Metals Company and AISI
• New Ultra-low Carbon High Strength Steels with Improved Bake Hardenability for Enhanced Stretch Formability and Dent Resistance, DOE, ORNL, U.S. Steel, Weirton Steel, and Reference Metals Company
• Development of Ultra-high Strength Linepipe Steels, Wuhan Steel and TAMSA
• A New Approach to TRIP Steels, U.S. Steel and Reference Metals Company
• Physical Metallurgy of High Strength Thin Slab Casting Steels, Nucor Steel, HyLSA, and Reference Metals Company
• Development of Medium Carbon Steels with Enhanced Machinability, Machinability Consortium
• Development of Dual-phase and Trip Steels for Automotive Applications, Nucor Steel

PEYMAN GIVI

• Comprehensive Characterization of Oxy-fuel/Hydrogen Turbine Systems, DOE-NETL

TEVIS D. B. JACOBS

• Mechanics of Nanoscale Contacts
• Mechanical and Functional Properties of Rough Surfaces
• Fundamental Understanding of Tribological Processes

JUNG-KUN LEE

• Multifunctional Smart Nanoparticle Based Drilling Fluids for Ultra Deep Oil and Gas Exploration, DOE-NETL
• Enhanced Water Recovery of Power Plant Cooling Tower Systems, DOE-NETL

SCOTT X. MAO

• Nano- and Microscale Experiments and Theoretical Modeling for Strain Gradient Plasticity, NSF

GERALD MEIER

• Fundamental Studies of the Durability of Materials for Interconnects in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, Office of Naval Research 
• Materials of Oxy-Fuel Turbomachine Conditions, DOE-UTSR 
• High-Temperature Coatings: Effects of Composition and Microstructure on Reaction Behavior under Aggressive Environmental Conditions, Office of Naval Research
• Advanced Air Plasma Sprayed Thermal Barrier Coatings, NETL-IAES
• Materials of Oxy-Fuel Coal Combustion Systems, NETL-IAES

IAN NETTLESHIP

• Nanofluids for Enhanced Thermal Energy Transport, DOE-NETL
• The Processing of Highly Porous Ceramics by Analogy with Quasi-regular Eutectic Structures, NSF
• Validation of Sintering Models by the Application of Advanced Microstructural Analysis, Sandia National Laboratory
• An Interdisciplinary Approach to Process Control at the Microstructure Level: The Application to the Fracture Strength of Advanced Ceramics, with Professor Smith of the Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering, Auburn University; NSF

ANNE M. ROBERTSON

• Improving Cerebral Aneurysm Risk Assessment through Understanding Wall Vulnerability and Failure Modes
• Determining the Link between Hemodynamics and Wall Structure in Cerebral Aneurysms
• In vivo Tissue Engineering of Small Arteries - Experiments and predictive modeling
• Translational, Multimodality Correlation between Human Saccular Aneurysms and Aneurysm Models
• Mathematical and Computational Modeling of Human Physiology
• Effect of Aging on the Structure and Mechanical Function of the Bladder Wall

WISSAM SAIDI

• Experimentally Verified Nano-oxidation of Copper Surfaces, NSF
• Dynamic Atomic-Scale Metal Oxidation Using Multiscale Simulations, NSF

NITIN SHARMA

• Coordinating Electrical Stimulation and Motor Assist in a Hybrid Neuroprosthesis Using Control Strategies Inspired by Human Motor Control, NSF
• Optimal Adaptive Control Methods for Hybrid Exoskeleton, NSF
• Control of FES and an Electric Motor Drive Swimming Drone for a Hybrid Neuroprosthesis, NIH
• 3-D Maneuverable Feedback-Controlled Micro Swimming Drone for Biomedical Application, NSF, NRI
• Closed-loop Hybrid Exoskeleton utilizing Wearable Ultrasound Imaging Sensors for Measuring Fatigue, NSF, CPS

WILLIAM S. SLAUGHTER

• Nano and Microscale Experiments and Theoretical Modeling for Strain Gradient laPsticity, NSF
• The use of Micromechanical Models in the Prediction of Microstructural Paths and Constitutive Parameters for Densification of Powders, NSF 
• Fatigue Damage Behavior of Chemically Treated Bioprosthetic Heart Valve Tissues, NSF
• Turbine Aerothermal and Material Research for Oxy-fuel and Hydrogen Cycles, DOE-NETL
• Aerothermal-Material Integrated Thermal Protection, DOE-NETL

PATRICK SMOLINSKI

• Design, Construction, and Evaluation of a Prototype Wear Testing Machine for Ankle mpIlants, National Collegiate Investors and Innovators Alliance 
• Design for Non-round Can Development, Weirton Steel 
• Modeling and Analysis of Open Coil Cooling, U.S. Steel
• Modeling and Analysis of Total Ankle Arthroplasty, Depuy, Inc
• Development of a Precision Roll Alignment System, U.S. Steel and Weirton Steel

JEFFREY VIPPERMAN

• Acoustic Control using Damped, Resonant Filters (Electronic Helmholtz Absorbers)
• Evaluation of Impact Noise and Acoustical Signal Processing, NIOSH-Cincinnati
• Variable Orifice Area Technique (VOAT) Design, DOE
• Vibro-acoustic Studies on a Chamber Core Cylinder, Air Force Research Lab
• Worker Dose and Equipment Noise Identification, NIOSH-Pittsburgh Research Lab 
• Enhanced Time Domain Signal Processing for the Study of Noise Generation Mechanisms, NIOSH-Pittsburgh Research Lab 
• MEMS Microvalve Technology: Phase II, DOE

GUOFENG WANG

• Atomistic Simulation Investigation on Processing-structure-property Relation of Magnetic Metal Alloy Nanostructures, NSF

QING-MING WANG

• Acoustic Wave Gas Sensors for Ultra-high Temperature Environments, NSF
• An Acoustic Wave Cytosensor System for Living Cell Study, NSF
• Fabrication of Functional Oxide Nanotubes and Nanorods for Nanoelectromechanical Devices, NSF
• Field-assisted Manufacturing of Multifunctional Nnanowire-polymer Nanocomposites, NSF
• Integrated Multimode Thin Film Bulk Acoustic Wave Resonators, ARO
•  Scanning Probe Microscopy of Nanomechanics and Biomechanics Research, ARO

SYLVANUS N. WOSU

• Pitt Engineering Impact Program, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania