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 Air Quality, Bioengineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanics of Material, Micro/Nanoscale, Robotics and Systems Design, Thermo Fluid Sciences

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.

 

Bioengineering 
Air Quality

Research and coursework in the Air Quality track encompass a broad range of topics from air quality monitoring, climate change, atmospheric chemistry and dynamics, and health impacts, to air pollution engineering, control, and policy. Research addresses monitoring and impact assessment on scales spanning from local (building-scale) to regional and global; from fundamental science to applied social science and community-driven research; and from computational studies to field-based experiments in remote locations. The University of Colorado is uniquely situated amongst one of the world’s greatest ecosystems of academic institutions and national labs engaged in atmospheric research. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are located within 30 minutes of CU-Boulder.

 

Faculty:

Hannigan, Henze, Milford, Miller, Daily, Hamlington, Rieker

 

Recent projects:

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.

 

Faculty:

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

 

Recent projects:

Materials Science and Engineering
Mechanics of Material

Mechanics of materials is an area focusing on quantitative description of the motion and deformation of solid materials subjected to forces, temperature changes, electrical voltage or other external stimuli. At CU, we apply theoretical modeling, computational simulation and experimental characterization to study a wide range of soft materials, from biological tissues and gels to smart polymers. Our applications cover a long list of current and emerging technologies including tissue engineering, membrane filtration, stretchable electronics, smart materials, medical robots, and innovative surgical devices. 

 

Faculty:

Yifu Ding, Martin Dunn, Virginia Ferguson, Christoph Keplinger, Rong Long, Mark Rentschler, Jianliang Xiao, Franck Verneray

 

Recent projects:

Materials program offers students a mixture of high quality education and cutting-edge research. Faculty members carry out research in many different areas including polymers, thin films, soft actuators, battery materials, laser ultrasonics, flash sintering, nanomaterials for energy, heat transfer, and meta materials. Graduate students have ample opportunities to choose to specialize in various aspects of materials science and engineering.

 

Faculty:

Yifu Ding, Steven George, Christoph Keplinger, Sehee Lee, Todd Murray, Rishi Raj, Conrad Stoldt, Ronggui Yang, Xiaobo Yin

 

Recent projects:

Micro/Nanoscale
Robotics and Systems Design

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.

Faculty:

Victor Bright, Yifu Ding, Steven George, Sehee Lee, Y. C. Lee, Jianliang Xiao, Ronggui Yang

 

Recent projects:

Robotics and systems design research focuses on identifying fundamental principles and methodologies that enable engineered systems to exhibit intelligent, goal-oriented behavior, and developing innovative instruments to monitor, control and manipulate systems. Faculty and students participate in several major sponsored research centers, including the Army’s Micro Autonomous Science and Technology (MAST) CTA, and the AFOSR Center of Excellence on Nature-Inspired Flight Technologies and Ideas (NIFTI). Research in the Robotics and Systems Design Area typically leverages three core competencies in service to diverse needs in such areas as healthcare, security, education, space and ocean exploration, and autonomous systems in air, land, and underwater. These three core competencies are:

 

Faculty:

Sean Humbert, Christoph Keplinger, Mark Rentschler

 

Recent projects:

 

Thermo Fluid Sciences

Thermal-fluids research in the Department of Mechanical Engineering is focused on a wide range of both fundamental and applied problems related to energy conversion, heat and mass transfer, combustion, and fluid mechanics. Experimental, theoretical, and computational approaches are used to study thermal-fluids phenomena covering an enormous range of scales, from heat transport at micro and nano scales to the properties of the atmosphere and ocean over many kilometers.

 

Faculty:

Melvyn Branch (emeritus), John Daily, Peter Hamlington, Jean Hertzberg, David Kassoy (emeritus), Frank Kreith (emeritus), Nicole Labbe, Baowen Li, John Pellegrino, Greg Rieker, Oleg Vasilyev, Patrick Weidman (emeritus), and Ronggui Yang.

 

Area strengths: