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The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) is the largest in the Swanson School of Engineering in terms of students and faculty. All of our programs are ABET-accredited. The Department's core strengths include:

  • Advanced Manufacturing and Design
  • Materials for Extreme Conditions
  • Soft Matter Biomechanics
  • Computational and Data-Enabled Engineering
  • Cyber-Physical Systems and Security
  • Nuclear and other Sustainable Energies
  • Quantitative and In Situ Materials Characterization

MEMS faculty are not only world-renowned academicians, but accessible teachers 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.

Each year, the Department graduates approximately 90 mechanical and materials science engineers, with nearly 100% placed in excellent careers with industry and research facilities around the globe.


60 Researchers from the Swanson School of Engineering Ranked Among Top 2% of Scientists Worldwide

Accolades, Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, MEMS, Electrical & Computer, Civil & Environmental, Industrial, Honors & Awards

According to a new report by Stanford University, 60 researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering are ranked in the top 2 percent of scientists in the world. The report covered scientists globally from a wide range of fields, and the ranking is based on citations from Scopus, assessing scientists for career-long citation impact up until the end of 2019 and for citation impact during the single calendar year 2019. More information on the ranking method can be found here.The full list can be found here.“I am incredibly proud of the breadth and depth of our primary and secondary faculty within this survey, both overall and as a segment of the University of Pittsburgh,” noted James R. Martin II, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering. “Receiving this external validation is a testament to their research and dedication to their respective fields.”The researchers from the Swanson School of Engineering are:BioengineeringX. Tracy CuiWilliam FederspielPrashant KumtaPatrick LoughlinDavid VorpStephen F. BadylakMichael BoningerR. A. CooperJoseph FurmanJorg GerlachThomas GilbertMark GladwinJohn KellumKacey G. MarraJ. Peter RubinWalter SchneiderIan SigalAlexander StarYoram VodovotzWilliam WagnerJames H.C. WangAlan WellsPeter WipfDouglass Lansing TaylorChemical and Petroleum EngineeringAnna C. BalazsEric J. BeckmanRobert EnickGerald D. HolderJ. Karl JohnsonJoseph McCarthySachin VelankarGötz VeserIrving Wender (deceased)Civil and Environmental EngineeringAmir AlaviAndrew P. BungerKent A. HarriesPiervincenzo RizzoLuis VallejoRadisav VidicFred MosesElectrical and Computer EngineeringHeng HuangAlexis KwasinskiKartik MohanramErvin SejdićMingui SunRami MelhemRob RutenbarIndustrial EngineeringLarry ShumanMechanical Engineering and Materials ScienceWilliam (Buddy) ClarkPaul OhodnickiG. Paolo GaldiPeyman GiviBrian GleesonScott X. MaoGerald H. MeierWissam A. SaidiGuofeng WangXudong ZhangCarey BalabanFreddie H. Fu

Battery Pack Hack for a Bicycle Boost

Student Profiles, MEMS, Banner

Bored at home during the pandemic, people across the nation picked up new hobbies and purchased bicycles en masse. These newfound cycling enthusiasts in the City of Pittsburgh had to learn to adapt to some of the topographical obstacles around the city, including the miles of steep, rolling hills. Unsurprisingly, the popular city bike share — Healthy Ride — reported that stations at the top of hills empty out much quicker than the bottom of hills, prompting the introduction of electric-assist bicycles, or e-bikes. But what can new pandemic bike owners do to give those quads and lungs a rest?A new 3D printed device from students at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering can provide a cheap, do-it-yourself solution for cyclists looking to add a boost to their bike.“Our team created a system to power e-bikes using commercial off-the-shelf power tool batteries,” said Maya Roman, a mechanical engineering undergraduate at Pitt. “We designed 3D printed parts and simple wiring harnesses to securely mount two 40V RYOBI batteries to a bike to reliably power the 500W motor we installed. “By using commercial power tool batteries we hoped to employ the economies of scale that are soon to come for lithium-ion batteries, take advantage of the safety features already incorporated in the battery, and provide a battery solution for an e-bike that is easy to source and replace.”The average e-bike costs more than $1,000, so tech-savvy hobbyists could potentially save a significant amount of money using batteries and other materials they have on hand.“You need slightly advanced knowledge about bikes to install the mid-drive motor we used, so you may need a bike-savvy friend to help you remove your bike’s bottom bracket,” Roman added. “Luckily our system will also power e-bikes with hub motors, which are easier to install.”Users will also need access to a 3D printer and know how to use a soldering iron.“To make our mount, you’ll have to 3D print the parts we designed and solder a couple wire harnesses that connect the battery contacts to the motor power input,” Roman explained. “You’ll have to install the internal harness to the mount, then bolt the mount to your bike. Then you just attach the wire cover, mate the connectors, slide the batteries into place and go for a ride!This project is part of Pitt’s XProject program, a university effort to provide students with co-curricular design and engineering experiences that go beyond the classroom.“We created the XProject program to give students a unique opportunity to solve design problems hands-on,” said Dan Yates (MechE ‘19), innovation project coordinator in the Swanson School. “Students get an immersive experience as they learn how to work through the design process, collaborate with teammates and clients, and apply the material they’ve learned in courses to a real-world project.”Check out the following video to learn more about how the student team created their open source, DIY e-bike battery system.

Pitt Nuclear Engineering Awarded $1.6 Million in Research Funding from U.S. DOE

Grants, Electrical & Computer, MEMS, Nuclear, Banner

Interdisciplinary researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering are recipients of $1.6 million in advanced nuclear energy R&D funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The investment announced this week is part of more than $61 million in funding awards for 99 advanced nuclear energy technology projects in 30 states and a U.S. territory, $58 million of which is awarded to U.S. universities. According to DOE, the projects focus on nuclear energy research, cross-discipline technology development, and nuclear reactor infrastructure to bolster the resiliency and use of America’s largest domestic source of carbon-free energy.The Swanson School’s funding is through the DOE Nuclear Energy University Program, which seeks to maintain U.S. leadership in nuclear research by providing top science and engineering faculty and their students with opportunities to develop innovative technologies and solutions for civil nuclear capabilities. “Pittsburgh is the global nexus of peacetime nuclear energy history and research, and we are proud to contribute to its continued success,” noted Brian Gleeson, the Swanson School’s Harry S. Tack Professor and Department Chair of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. “Our faculty and students have a strong foundation in modeling and simulation, materials, sensing technologies, and non-destructive evaluation of critical reactor components, and so we are thankful to DOE and NEUP for supporting our research.”The Pitt awards in the Fuel Cycle Research and Development category include:Fragmentation and Thermal Energy Transport of Chromia-doped Fuels Under Transient ConditionsPI: Heng Ban, the Richard K. Mellon Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives, and Director of the Stephen R. Tritch Nuclear Engineering Program, Swanson School of EngineeringCollaborators: Jie Lian, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Liping Cao and Yun Long, Westinghouse Electric CompanyThis project will focus on multiple aspects of experimental testing and engineering-scale modeling in understanding thermal energy transport from high burnup, fractured/fragmented accident tolerant fuels, establishing a strong scientific basis to fill a critical knowledge data gap for modeling and simulation of transient fuel performance and safety, such as loss of coolant accident, for future integral testing and fuel licensing.Fusion of Distributed Fiber Optics, Acoustic NDE, and Physics-Based AI for Spent Fuel MonitoringPI: Paul Ohodnicki, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Swanson School of EngineeringCollaborators: Kevin Chen, the Paul E. Lego Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Swanson School of Engineering; Ryan Meyer, Kayte Denslow, and Glenn Grant, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL); and Gary Cannell, Fluor CorporationThe proposal will leverage new concepts in the fusion between fiber optic distributed acoustic sensing and advanced acoustic nondestructive evaluation techniques with artificial intelligence enhanced classification frameworks to quantitatively characterize the state of dry cask storage containers for spent fuel monitoring, externally and non-invasively, without introducing additional risks of failure.Additionally, Daniel G. Cole, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, Swanson School of Engineering, is a collaborator with Shanbin Shi, assistant professor of mechanical aerospace and nuclear engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, on a $800,000 award to investigate the thermal and electric power dispatch and required control algorithms for dynamic heat dispatch of up to 50 percent of the thermal energy from a Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) plant to a hydrogen plant.“Nuclear power is critical to America’s clean energy future and we are committed to making it a more accessible, affordable and resilient energy solution for communities across the country,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “At DOE we’re not only investing in the country’s current nuclear fleet, but we’re also investing in the scientists and engineers who are developing and deploying the next generation of advanced nuclear technologies that will slash the amount of carbon pollution, create good-paying energy jobs, and realize our carbon-free goals.”The DOE’s announcement stated, “Nuclear power provides a fifth of America’s overall electricity and more than half of our zero-emissions energy, making it a key part of our clean energy future. To realize nuclear’s full potential, more research and development is needed to ensure the creation and operation of cost-effective nuclear power and to establish new methods for securely transporting, storing and disposing of spent nuclear fuel waste. It will also help to meet the Biden-Harris Administration’s ambitious goals of 100% clean electricity by 2035, and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”###

Pitt faculty, students capture top awards at 2021 CALPHAD Global Conference

Accolades, MEMS, Honors & Awards, Student

CALPHAD (CALculation of PHAse Diagrams) is one of the genomic toolkits for material design and more recently is widely used in alloy innovation, ceramic design, processing optimization, and microstructure engineering. Its high-performance, time reducing capabilities are an incredible resource for thermodynamics research, especially for developing novel functional alloys.Using CALPHAD to help identify 21st century alloys is the focus of the University of Pittsburgh’s Wei Xiong, who received the inaugural CALPHAD Young Leader Award at the 50th annual CALPHAD Global conference (CALPHAD Global) this June.“I am humbled to receive the first CALPHAD Young Leader Award and grateful to my colleagues and friends for their endless support and guidance,” said Xiong, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering. “I look forward to organizing the Young Calphadian Workshop in the next CALPHAD annual meeting in Sweden.”The CALPHAD Young Leader Award is presented by the CALPHAD advisory committee to a researcher under 40 years of age who has demonstrated high achievement and active participation in the CALPHAD community, as well as strong leadership skills. No self-nomination is permitted.In addition to the CALPHAD honor, Xiong and graduate student Liangyan Hao received the Best Paper Award from the Alloy Phase Diagram International Commission (APDIC). The publication, “An evaluation of the Mn–Ga system: Phase diagram, crystal structure, magnetism, and thermodynamic properties,” (DOI: 10.1016/j.calphad.2019.101722) was selected as the best published manuscript on materials thermodynamics from all journals in 2020.According to Xiong, the fundamental thermodynamics of the Ga-Mn (Gallium-Manganese) alloys is important for applications in magnets, spintronic devices, semiconductors, etc., but differences between available Ga-Mn phase diagrams can impede research. Through comprehensive and critical reviews, Xiong and Hao proposed a new phase diagram for the Ga-Mn system to support future thermodynamic modeling and design of novel functional alloys. Their publication was funded by the National Science Foundation as part of the project “Mechanisms of hierarchical microstructure formation under rapid solidification of functional Heusler alloys” (NSF DMR 1808082).Xin Wang, another of Xiong’s graduate students in his Physical Metallurgy and Materials Design Laboratory, also received the Best Poster Award for his CALPHAD-based integrated computational materials engineering (ICME) work on “Uncertainty Quantification of Alloy Powder for Additive Manufacturing.” This research focused on solving a critical problem during powder production for additive manufacturing: pre-alloyed powder composition often deviates from the target composition leading to undesirable properties and fail builds.In this work, Wang completed a high-throughput simulation for predicting critical properties, such as yield strength, impact transition temperature, and printability. He then proposed an optimized alloy composition that shows a near 100 percent chance to make the successful additive manufacturing component. The presented strategy is general and can be applied to other alloy composition optimization to expand the choices of alloy for additive manufacturing.Financial support for this research is from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Additive Manufacturing Alloys for Naval Environments (AMANE) program (Contract No.: N00014-17-1-2586 Integrated Computational Materials Design for Additive Manufacturing of High-Strength Steels used in Naval Environments). This research project so far has published five high impact papers:Xin Wang, Wei Xiong, "Uncertainty Quantification and Composition Optimization for Alloy Additive Manufacturing Through A CALPHAD-based ICME Framework", npj Computational Materials, nature publishing group, 6 (2020) 188. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41524-020-00454-9[Editor’s Choice Article] Xin Wang, Soumya Sridar, Wei Xiong, "Thermodynamic investigation of new high-strength low-alloy steels with Heusler phase strengthening for welding and additive manufacturing", Journal of Phase Equilibria and Diffusion, 41 (2020) 804-818. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11669-020-00828-ySoumya Sridar, Yunhao Zhao, Wei Xiong, "Cyclic re-austenitization of copper-bearing high-strength low-alloy steels fabricated by laser powder bed fusion", Materials Characterization, 166 (2020) 110437. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matchar.2020.110437 Soumya Sridar, Yunhao Zhao, Kun Li, Xin Wang, Wei Xiong, "Post-Heat Treatment Design for High-Strength Low-Alloy Steels Processed by Laser Powder Bed Fusion", Materials Science and Engineering A, 788 (2020) 139531. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.msea.2020.139531Fuyao Yan, Wei Xiong, Eric J. Faierson, Gregory B. Olson, "Characterization of nano-scale oxides in austenitic stainless steel processed by powder bed fusion", Scripta Materialia, 155 (2018) 104-108. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scriptamat.2018.06.011###

Aarti Patel receives 2021 Marion Alice Nye "Buzz" Barry Scholarship

Student Profiles, Honors & Awards, MEMS

It is with great pleasure to announce Aarti Patel (ME major) as the recipient of the 2021 Marion Alice Nye “Buzz” Barry Scholarship. Ms. Patel’s impressive work experience, as well as extracurriculars, demonstrate her passion for and involvement with the aerospace engineering field. She has participated in two NASA-sponsored opportunities, has interned with Blue Origin where she is supporting the New Glenn Stage 1 team, and is currently interning with Airbus. Ms. Patel has also been an active member of the Pitt Rocketry team, serving as the Launch Chief Engineer, Vice President and Safety Lead, as well as a co-founding member and Recovery System Lead for the Mechanical sub-team.After reviewing scholarship applicants, Senior Master Sergeant Puga of the 439th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron commended Ms. Patel’s “strong interest and ambitions toward aerospace” and that she has demonstrated strong “leadership traits in teams”. The MEMS Department would like to thank all external reviewers, in particular SMSgt Puga, for not only aiding in the review of all applications, but for his service to our country, and for his accomplishments in the engineering profession. 
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