Research Focus Areas

Mechanical Engineering research is supported by a wide variety of exciting, well-funded projects addressing modern topics in the key focus areas of Biomedical, Energy and Environmental, Micro/Nanoscale and Engineering Education.

Research projects harness state-of-the-art experimental, theoretical, and computational approaches to training students and advancing the frontiers of technology, while at the same time focusing on fundamentals in the underlying disciplines of fluid and solid mechanics, thermal engineering, materials engineering, design, manufacturing, and computational engineering.


Graduate and undergraduate researchers enjoy access to leading edge facilities, work closely with vibrant, highly-qualified faculty, and benefit from strong interactions with industry.  Many take advantage of opportunities to work on year-long industry-sponsored design projects facilitated by our Design Center Colorado.  Close partnerships with national research laboratories in the Boulder area further strengthen our research programs.  Our faculty are professionally active and well-recognized.  Nearly all of our senior faculty have attained fellow-level status in major professional societies. Over the last few years our faculty have also received three of the highest awards given nationally by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.


Engineering Education

Biomedical Faculty:

Borden, Ferguson, Hertzberg, Murray, Neu, Rentschler, Tan

Biomechanical engineering is a field which employs quantitative methods in physics, chemistry and biology to develop innovative medical technologies. At CU, we draw from our strengths in biomechanics – the application of classical and quantum mechanics to analyze biological systems – and product design to tackle current and emerging medical challenges, including those in the areas of biomaterials, tissue engineering, imaging and theranostics. 

fergusonqi tan rentschler borden murray

Recent projects include:

Engineering Education Faculty: 

Ferguson, Hannigan, Hertzberg, Kotys-Schwartz, Knutsen, Miller, Reamon, Rentschler, Ruben, Steinbrenner

Engineering education encompasses a broad range of issues, from the foundations of educational theory, to the practical issues involved in curricular improvement, including the assessment techniques required to measure the effectiveness of new teaching methods. Faculty in this area investigate interactive instructional techniques and the resulting benefits for students, engineering diversity and inclusiveness, student retention, student motivation, the development of engineering identity, as well as how hands-on engineering education opportunities with physical devices change a learning situation.

Recent projects include:

Energy & Environmental 

Energy & Environmental Faculty:

Branch, Daily, Greenberg, Hamlington, Hannigan, Henze, Hertzberg, Kassoy, Kreith, S-H Lee, Y. C. Lee, Milford, Miller,  Raj, Reiker, Stoldt, Vasilyev, Weidman, Yang

Research involves the application of fluid and thermal sciences to modern problems in various energy applications, as well as air-quality engineering. Activities are carried out within the Center for Combustion and Environmental Research (CCER) and the Collaborative for Air Quality Research (CAQR).

Experimental, theoretical, and modeling expertise is applied to combustion and heat transfer for propulsion and power generation, computational fluid dynamics, multi-phase heat transfer, nanoscale and ultrafast thermal sciences, aerosol mechanics, atmospheric chemistry, and air quality modeling. 


Recent energy projects include:

Recent air quality engineering projects include:


Micro/Nanoscale Faculty:

Bright, George, S-H Lee, Y. C. Lee, Xiao, Yang

​Research involves micro- and nano-electromechanical systems (MEMS and NEMS) for transducers, sensors, and actuators. Atomic, nano, and micro fabrication technologies and advanced packaging are strengths. Visible, active programs are also underway in nano and microscale characterization, simulation, and design of materials.

Recent projects include: