Pitt | Swanson Engineering

Join With Us In Celebrating Our 2020 Graduating Class! 


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.

Nov
23
2020

MEMS Student Wins NASA Award

MEMS, Student Profiles

Seth Strayer, a second year mechanical engineering PhD student, received a prestigious NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunities (NSTGRO) award. According to the NASA website, the goal of the award is to sponsor U.S. citizen and permanent resident graduate students who show significant potential to contribute to NASA’s goal of creating innovative new space technologies for our Nation’s science, exploration and economic future. The award will be made in the form of a grant to the University of Pittsburgh on behalf of Strayer, with his faculty advisor, Professor Albert To, serving as the principal investigator. Additionally, Strayer will be matched with a technically relevant and community-engaged NASA Subject Matter Expert, who will serve as the conduit into the larger technical community corresponding to Strayer’s space technology research area. He will also have the opportunity to perform his research at a NASA center, giving him the chance to work collaboratively with leading engineers and scientists in his field of study. The proposal that won Strayer the award is titled “Development of an Integrated Part-Scale Process-Structure-Fatigue Simulation Framework for Certification of Laser Powder Bed Additive Manufactured Components.”

Nov
23
2020

Engineering Science in the Swanson School

MEMS, Student Profiles

With more than one hundred undergraduate majors, choosing a field of study at the University of Pittsburgh can be a difficult decision. Some incoming students may enjoy exploring the physical and natural world through scientific experimentation but also want to practically apply that knowledge through engineering. Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering offers a program that allows students to realize that goal. The Engineering Science Program, which is affiliated with the University Honors College, provides students with a personally optimized scientific and engineering training experience, allowing them to reach beyond and across traditional disciplines and boundaries. The program is directed by Paul Ohodnicki, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, a 2005 alumnus of  the original Engineering Physics program, now incorporated as one of the concentration options within the broader Engineering Science program. “My time in the Engineering Physics program provided me with a broad perspective across scientific and engineering disciplines combined with a depth of understanding within the fields of my specialization that set me apart from colleagues -- even those who had graduated from top-ranked undergraduate programs,” he said. “I am thrilled at the opportunity to give back to the program and to Pitt as the Engineering Science Program Director and am committed to seeing the program realize its full potential in terms of both impact and stature moving into the future.” Concentrations include Engineering Physics Engineering Mechanics Nanotechnology : Materials / Physics Nanotechnology : Chemistry / Bioengineering Engineering Science offers four interdisciplinary areas of concentration and ultimately aims to prepare students to think analytically across disciplines to tackle future technical challenges. “The students that graduate from the program are positioned to be competitive for top graduate programs across the country,” Ohodnicki added. “They are also well prepared for industrial or national laboratory engineering and research management positions and even non-traditional careers in policy, law, medicine, or business that interface directly with the engineering and scientific fields. “Students who graduate from the program possess a unique combination of a top-tier rigorous technical education and an ability to tackle interdisciplinary challenges that distinguishes them from their peers,” he continued. When Two Paths Collide When searching for an undergraduate program, sophomore Anna Strauss wanted to find a way to marry her passion for physics and her love of engineering. “I initially wanted to be a physics major; however, when looking into career options I pictured myself in an engineering job,” she said. “Engineering Physics enabled me to combine my two interests into a degree that has numerous career opportunities and allows me to still pursue a focus in physics.” She hopes to one day work for the U.S. Department of Defense in the Navy’s development and application of defensive technologies, and the Engineering Science Program is helping to provide real-world experience in preparation for this journey. Strauss is currently working in the Talaat lab at the Swanson School, where she is researching the laser heating of amorphous and nanocrystalline alloys. “My advisor from the program was able to help me transition into a research position, even amidst a pandemic,” she said. “I don’t think you would find the same level of individual opportunities in another major.” Knowledge is Power Joseph Kozak, a PhD candidate at Virginia Tech, graduated from the Engineering Physics program in 2014 before completing a master’s in electrical engineering at Pitt in 2016. He believes that the program significantly prepared him for his current role and for graduate school. “Joining an interdisciplinary major helped broaden my perspective and enhanced my ability to analyze and solve complex problems,” he said. “Taking courses in related but different fields, I learned to extract and merge information from one discipline into another, which has progressed my technical skills and provided unique professional opportunities.” The experiential learning component of the program helped Kozak develop and hone skills that he currently uses as a researcher in power electronics. During his junior year, he participated in a co-op position at GE Power Conversion, which inspired him to continue his studies in electrical engineering. “This experience exposed me to both power converters and power semiconductor devices, as well as the research being conducted in these technical areas,” he said. “I continued my studies into the field of power electronics because of this experience and am now pursuing a PhD where I research both power semiconductor devices and converter circuits.” Kozak credits the Engineering Science curriculum and his experiences at Pitt in preparing him for his career and life as a global citizen. To learn more about the program and its offerings, visit: engineering.pitt.edu/engineeringscience.

Nov
19
2020

University of Pittsburgh Joins New DOE Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute

Electrical & Computer, Industrial, MEMS, Nuclear

SAN ANTONIO, TX (November 19, 2020) ... The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) today formally launched the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII), a $111 million public-private partnership. Led by UTSA, the university will enter into a five-year cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to lead a consortium of 59 proposed member institutions in introducing a cybersecure energy-ROI that drives American manufacturers and supply chains to further adopt secure, energy-efficient approaches, ultimately securing and sustaining the nation’s leadership in global manufacturing competitiveness.U.S. manufacturers are one of the top targets for cyber criminals and nation-state adversaries, impacting the production of energy technologies such as electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines. Integration across the supply chain network and an increased use of automation applied in manufacturing processes can make industrial infrastructures vulnerable to cyber-attacks. To protect American manufacturing jobs and workers, CyManII will transform U.S. advanced manufacturing and make manufacturers more energy efficient, resilient and globally competitive against our nation’s adversaries.“The University of Pittsburgh is proud to be among the inaugural member institutions of this national effort to develop cyber security and energy research to benefit U.S. manufacturing expertise,” noted Rob A. Rutenbar,Senior Vice Chancellor for Research at Pitt. “Both our Swanson School of Engineering and School of Computing and Information at the forefront of innovations in advanced manufacturing, cyber infrastructure and security, sustainable energy, materials science and supply chain management. Our faculty are looking forward to participating in this groundbreaking institute.”“The exploitation of advanced materials and computing can provide us with a more holistic approach to secure the nation’s manufacturing infrastructure, from communication networks and assembly lines to intricate computer code and distribution systems,” added Daniel Cole, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and co-director of the Swanson School’s Hacking for Defense program. “Just as our personal computers and cell phones are vulnerable to cyber-attacks, so too is our complex manufacturing industry. But thanks to this national effort through CyManII, we will not only be able to develop defenses but also create more sustainable and energy efficient technologies for industry.”“I am excited for the potential collaborations between our faculty and the innovations they will develop,” said David Vorp, Associate Dean for Research at the Swanson School. “We already have a healthy collaboration with faculty in the School of Computing and Information, and sustainability informs our research, academics, and operations. CyManII presents a new opportunity for us to engage in transformative, trans-disciplinary research.”As part of its national strategy, CyManII will focus on three high priority areas where collaborative research and development can help U.S. manufacturers: securing automation, securing the supply chain network, and building a national program for education and workforce development. “As U.S. manufacturers increasingly deploy automation tools in their daily work, those technologies must be embedded with powerful cybersecurity protections,” said Howard Grimes, CyManII Chief Executive Officer and UTSA Associate Vice President and Associate Vice Provost for Institutional Initiatives. “UTSA has assembled a team of best-in-class national laboratories, industry, nonprofit and academic organizations to cybersecure the U.S. manufacturing enterprise. Together, we will share the mission to protect the nation’s supply chain, preserve its critical infrastructure and boost its economy.”CyManII’s research objectives will focus on understanding the evolving cybersecurity threats to greater energy efficiency in manufacturing industries, developing new cybersecurity technologies and methods, and sharing information and knowledge with the broader community of U.S. manufacturers.CyManII aims to revolutionize cybersecurity in manufacturing by designing and building a secure manufacturing architecture that is pervasive, unobtrusive and enables energy efficiency. Grimes says this industry-driven approach is essential, allowing manufacturers of all sizes to invest in cybersecurity and achieve an energy ROI rather than continually spending money on cyber patches.These efforts will result in a suite of methods, standards and tools rooted in the concept that everything in the manufacturing supply chain has a unique authentic identity. These solutions will address the comprehensive landscape of complex vulnerabilities and be economically implemented in a wide array of machines and environments.“CyManII leverages the unique research capabilities of the Idaho, Oak Ridge and Sandia National Laboratories as well as critical expertise across our partner cyber manufacturing ecosystem,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “UTSA is proud and honored to partner with the DOE to advance cybersecurity in energy-efficient manufacturing for the nation.”CyManII has 59 proposed members including three Department of Energy National Laboratories (Idaho National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories), four Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, 24 powerhouse universities, 18 industry leaders, and 10 nonprofits. This national network of members will drive impact across the nation and solve the biggest challenges facing cybersecurity in the U.S manufacturing industry.CyManII is funded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) and co-managed with the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER). ------ Learn more about the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute.
Author: EmilyGuajardo, CyManII Communications Manager
Nov
18
2020

Wei Xiong Faculty Fellow Award

MEMS

Wei Xiong, assistant professor of materials science, is one of two recipients of the 2021 Early Career Faculty Fellow Award given by The Minerals, Metals, & Materials Society (TMS). This award recognizes assistant professors for their accomplishments that have advanced the academic institution where employed, and for abilities to broaden the technological profile of TMS. Xiong will receive free travel and registration to two TMS annual meetings and will be given technical support and guidance in developing new programming for TMS symposiums. Department Chair, Professor Brian Gleeson notes, “Dr. Xiong is a tireless and dedicated educator and researcher. Moreover, he is remarkably good at the essential skills required for academic success. His considerable professional service is equally impressive. His outstanding communication skills coupled with his sound understanding of the fundamental aspects of his research make him a standout in any academic or research arena. He is truly exceptional.” Since joining the MEMS Department in 2016, Xiong became Director of the Physical Metallurgy and Materials Design Laboratory. His current research focuses on advancing the fundamental aspects of alloy design using both computational and experimental approaches. In collaboration with fellow MEMS professor Albert To, he established the MOST-AM (Modeling and Optimization Simulation Tools for Additive Manufacturing) consortium which has seen much success since its inception with 25 industry members and 7 government agency members. He has received funding from several prestigious sources such as NASA, ONR, NSF and DOE. Xiong says of the award, “TMS provides a phenomenal platform for junior metallurgists to collaborate with and learn from other researchers and engineers in our community. I am immensely honored to receive this prestigious award and will continue to support various activities organized by the TMS.”
Meagan Lenze
Nov
11
2020

NSF Award Granted to Two MEMS Faculty

MEMS

Mechanical engineering professors Hessam Babaee and Peyman Givi recently received an award from the National Science Foundation(NSF) for a three-year project titled “Real-Time and Adaptive Chemical Kinetic Model Reduction Coupled with Turbulence.” The chemistry of combustion involves understanding how a large number of species behave and evolve in a given operating condition.  The tractability of this technically important problem becomes increasingly difficult when the operation involves turbulent mixing. The interaction between chemical reaction and turbulence has been studied for over 80 years but has recently been made easier due to access to supercomputing resources. Still, the computational power available is much less than that needed for modeling engineering problems involving turbulent transport. The goal of this new project is to develop an on-the-fly reduction scheme that enables modeling and simulation of reactive turbulent flows involving a very large number of species. Extracting the correlated structures on the fly is fundamentally different than current practices and offers several advantages including a reduction in the computational cost and storage as compared to methods currently used. The advances from Babaee and Givi’s work will benefit the modeling of any processes involving chemical kinetics and unsteady dynamics, including: biology, atmospherics, climatology, and medicine. Their research also crosses several disciplines, such as turbulent combustion, data driven modeling, reduced order modeling, and high-performance computing.
Meagan Lenze
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