The mechanical engineering department at SMU has vigorous research programs. Students are encouraged to participate in research projects conducted by our faculty and to consider extending their studies toward a graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at SMU or elsewhere.
Below is a list of the major areas of research in which our faculty and students are involved.
Thermal Science and Fluid Mechanics
Research at SMU is active in many areas of heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and thermodynamics. Research spans the range from fundamental studies of thermal transport and fluid mechanics, to applications in manufacturing, materials processing, microelectronics, bioengineering, and the environment. A number of experimental and numerical studies are currently active, including:
- Modeling of transport phenomena in porous media
- Cooling of high heat flux electronics
- Measurement and prediction of thermal transport in thin electronic films
- Numerical modeling of free surface fluid flows, Tsunami mitigation, and fluid-solid interactions
- Heat transfer, phase change, and fluid flow on short time and spatial scales, with applications to laser micromachining
- Vortex dynamics, pulsed jet propulsion, and aquatic propulsion
Research facilities include the Laboratory for Porous Materials Applications, the Sub-Micron Electro-Thermal Sciences Laboratory, the Laser Micromachining Laboratory, and the Experimental Fluid Mechanics Laboratory, and the Micro Sensor Laboratory.
Peter E. Raad
David A. Willis
Research in solid mechanics, materials engineering, and structures at SMU focuses on experimental characterization and computational analysis of engineering materials, earthquake engineering, and structural dynamics. Some of currently active investigations include
- fracture mechanics of bone and bone-like materials
multiaxial large deformation of soft tissues and biopolymer materials
inelastic deformation and ductile failure of advanced high strength steels (AHSS) and their weld joints
constitutive micromechanical modeling of polycrystalline plasticity
robust digital image correlation algorithms and techniques for mechanical characterization of materials
Dynamic Systems and Control
The Systems, Measurement, and Control Laboratory is equipped for instruction in the design and analysis of analog and digital instrumentation and control systems. Modern measurement and instrumentation equipment is used for experimental control engineering, system identification, harmonic analysis, simulation, and real-time control applications. Equipment also exists or microprocessor interfacing for control and instrumentation.
Biomedical Instrumentation and Robotics Laboratory
The Biomedical Instrumentation and Robotics Laboratory research activities promote strong interdisciplinary collaboration between several branches of engineering and biomedical sciences. The research interests are centered on several foci:
- Robotic orthoses, prostheses and rehabilitation devices for people with disabilities
- Medical robotics, especially novel robotic applications in Minimally Invasive, Natural Orifice, and Image Guided Surgery
- in vivo and in vitro measurement of mechanical properties of biological tissue, with emphasis on bone
- Advanced imaging techniques with applications in cancer diagnostics and treatment, and in vivo measurement of tissue mechanical properties
These foci touch upon fundamentals in the analytical dynamics, nonlinear control of mechanical systems, design, applied mathematics, data acquisition, signal processing, and high performance actuators.
Manufacturing and Design
Research in Manufacturing Engineering is conducted at the Research Center for Advanced Manufacturing and the NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Lasers and Plasmas for Advanced Manufacturing. Research in manufacturing is heavily supported by both industry and government funding. The centers support a variety of research and development activities in areas of rapid prototyping and manufacturing (laser-based, electron beam-based, welding-based), laser materials processing (welding, hybrid welding, forming, surface modification, micro machining), welding (electrical arc welding, friction stir welding, variable polarity plasma arc welding), waterjet/abrasive waterjet materials processing, reverse engineering, sensing and control of manufacturing processes, and numerical modeling of manufacturing processes.
Laboratory for Additive Manufacturing, Robotics, and Automation
Established in 2013, the Laboratory for Additive Manufacturing, Robotics, and Automation (LAMRA) is dedicated to the exploration and development of novel, advanced 3-D printing processes. LAMRA also pursues research in soft robotics, and in medical and service robotics/automation technologies.