Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Research Activities

Research

Aerospace Technology & Transportation
Aerospace mechanics, aircraft aerodynamics (subsonic, supersonic and hypersonic) inlet aerodynamics for supersonic air-breathing aircraft, stability and transition of boundary layers and free shear layers, icing research, micro-electro-mechanical sensors applied to boundary layer control, fluid dynamics of drag reduction, flow in turbo machinery, molecular dynamics simulation of rarefied gas flow, supersonic combustion and control of internal combustion engines.

Combustion
Flame spread, microgravity combustion, fire research, chemical kinetic models and pollutant formation.

Dynamics of Rotating Machinery
Forced and instability vibration of rotor/bearing/seal systems, nonlinear rotor dynamics, torsional rotor vibration, rotordynamic characteristics of bearings and seals (computational and experimental approach), control of rotor system dynamics, rub-impact studies of bearings and compressor/turbine blading systems, and advanced rotating machinery monitoring and diagnostics.

Engineering Design
Optimization and computer-aided design, feasibility studies of kinematic mechanisms, kinematics of rolling element-bearing geometries, mechanical control systems, experimental stress analysis, failure analysis, development of biologically inspired methodologies.


Manufacturing
An agile manufacturing work cell is being developed to facilitate quick change over from assembly of one object to assembly of other objects. The work cell contains multiple robots, a conveyor system and many flexible parts feeders.

Materials
Development of novel experimental techniques to investigate material response at elevated temperatures and high rates of deformation. Constitutive modeling of damage evolution, shear localization and failure of advanced engineering materials. Fabrication of mechanical properties of composite materials; creep, rupture, and fatigue properties of engineering materials at elevated temperatures.

Microgravity Research
Transport phenomena in crystal growth, thermocapillary flows in the containerless processing of materials, and industrial processes influenced by gravity; g-jitter effects on microgravity flows. Combustion phenomena in microgravity, and spacecraft fire safety.

Multiphase Flow Research
Application of non-intrusive laser based diagnostic techniques to study solid-liquid, solid-gas, liquid-gas and solid-liquid-gas, multiphase flows encountered in slurry transport, flue gas desulfurization processes, spray diagnostics and bio-fluid mechanics.

Musculoskeletal Mechanics and Materials

Kinematics and mechanical joint dynamics of the knee, hip, ankle, and spine; dynamic stability of the human spine; neuromuscular control; mechanics of injuries; gait analysis; design and failure analysis of medical prostheses and material selection; biomechanical measurements, tools and instrumentation, mechanical properties of bone and soft tissue.

Robotics
Biologically inspired and biologically based design and control of legged robots. Dynamics, control and simulation of animals and robots.  Distributed systems, modular robotics, sensor-networked systems and robot-assisted healthcare and therapy.

Tribology
Time-resolved friction on nano- and microsecond time scale with applications to high speed machining and mechanics of armor penetration. Study of gas lubricated foil bearing systems and magnetic bearing systems with application to oil-free turbomachinery. Retainerless bearings for space applications such as long duration instrument and guidance systems and momentum wheels.

Turbomachinery
Vibration characteristics of seals and bearings and measurement of chaotic motion. Rub impact studies of blade tip/casing interactions, particle-blade/casing interactions in centrifugal pumps.