Pitt | Swanson Engineering

The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) is the largest in the school in terms of students and faculty. The department has core strengths in the traditional areas of bioengineering, manufacturing, microsystems technology, smart structures and materials, computational fluid and solid dynamics, and energy systems research. Key focus is reflective of national trends, which are vying toward the microscale and nanoscale systems level.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science houses ABET -accredited mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering programs that provide the solid fundamentals, critical thinking, and inventive spark that fires up our graduates as they design the future.
The department graduates approximately 90 mechanical and materials science engineers each year, with virtually 100% of being placed in excellent careers with industry and research facilities around the globe.

The department houses faculty who are world-renowned academicians and accessible teachers, individuals of substance 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.

That experience is integrated into every aspect of the department. Events such as the SAE Formula Car Program add to students' real-world knowledge; each year, students construct their own vehicle and compete with students from other universities nationwide and internationally on the strength of their design and racing. The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science also is involved in the Cooperative Education (Co-Op) Program, bringing students together with industry for three terms of professional work.


University of Pittsburgh and ANSYS develop new computing tools to push the boundaries of additive manufacturing


PITTSBURGH (June 15, 2016) - From energy-efficient jet engines to personalized medical devices, companies can quickly and easily design and manufacture cutting-edge, safe and reliable products thanks to a new collaboration between ANSYS and the University of Pittsburgh. The partnership will further education and research to solve some of the industry’s toughest additive manufacturing problems.Advances in additive manufacturing technologies are drastically changing the industrial manufacturing landscape. Forward-thinking companies are rapidly adopting new emerging technologies to gain significant competitive advantages to produce complex and customized products that were not possible to build before the advent of additive manufacturing. While additive manufacturing holds incredible promise there are still significant hurdles to overcome before it can broadly replace existing manufacturing methods. Printing metal is particularly challenging because it involves the use of a laser. While the laser optimizes the density of the metal for the particular application, it can also melt the metal in unexpected ways, causing the product to fail. And the rapid heating and cooling causes stresses that can deform the end product. ANSYS and Pitt are working together to simulate those deformations before printing to ensure the product not only has the desired shape, but also performs as expected.As part of the partnership, the university is opening a 1,200-square-foot additive manufacturing lab in the Swanson School of Engineering. The ANSYS Additive Manufacturing Research Laboratory is equipped with some of the most advanced additive manufacturing devices that utilize metals, alloys, polymers and other materials to laser print components for nearly every industry.The partnership will also support faculty and students conducting collaborative research with ANSYS and other industry partners, including those in the biomedical, aerospace and defense industries. Lab workers will have access to the ANSYS portfolio, enabling them to explore, simulate and analyze solutions for stress and fatigue on critical components that go into products such as airplanes, cars and medical devices.  “Collaboration with industry leaders such as ANSYS provides us with the important insight into real-world challenges that companies face in product development and other areas,” said Mark Redfern, Pitt’s Vice Provost for Research. “These relationships guide our approach to educating our students and conducting research to ensure that the work we do is cutting edge and relevant to society. Our current additive manufacturing research will be greatly enhanced by our strengthened partnership with ANSYS.” Additive manufacturing allows for precise control in creating a component at the micro- and nano-scale level, new processes and software are required to help engineers develop parts that are designed to perform a desired function under a set of conditions. Simulation-driven product development changes the process by virtually exploring the properties of a number of design options early on, before committing to specific material and design choices. The benefit of physics-based computational tools is that they can test millions of permutations of designs, materials, flows and shapes to find the optimal design before the engineer needs to build a single physical prototype. Not only will this new approach unleash the next wave of innovative physical products, but it is a necessity to make designs more energy-efficient and sustainable. ANSYS and Pitt’s collaborative work in this area was initiated with funding from the federal government via America Makes (the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute). Pitt’s research includes the development of new tools to optimize the interior construction of a manufactured part at the microscopic level and thereby improving strength and structural integrity, lowering weight, reducing costs and improving sustainable production methods. “The industry is changing, and companies can no longer innovate if they continue to do business as they have in the past,” said Jim Cashman, president and CEO of ANSYS. “By partnering with Pitt, we’re pushing the frontiers to develop advanced tools for our customers in this new era of additive manufacturing. Together we are solving some of the toughest challenges for engineers building the products of tomorrow.” Since 2014, additive manufacturing researchers at the Swanson School have attracted more than $6 million in grants from America Makes, the National Energy Technology Laboratory, the National Science Foundation, and Research for Advanced Manufacturing in Pennsylvania. The partnership with ANSYS will enable faculty to not only benefit their research, but to help ANSYS improve its own engineering simulation software. This partnership will enable these two organizations to address key challenges that are currently is blocking additive manufacturing from realizing its full potential. “Pittsburgh has a long history rooted in traditional manufacturing, and so it’s appropriate that Pitt and ANSYS help to establish the region’s expertise in additive manufacturing,” noted Albert To, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and one of Pitt’s AM researchers. “Optimizing the tools that researchers and engineers around the country will use to improve additive manufacturing will be a game-changer.” ### Above image: If this heat exchanger was manufactured by conventional methods it would comprise an assembly of over 100 individually manufactured components. By making some minor additive manufacturing design changes and utilizing the EOS M290 direct metal laser sintering machine, the heat exchanger assembly was additive manufactured as a single component.


Four Pitt students among select recipients of Department of Energy scholarships and fellowships for nuclear-related research

Chemical & Petroleum, MEMS, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (May 26, 2016) … Two undergraduate students and two graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering have been named scholars and fellows, respectively, of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP). The students are among 57 undergraduate scholars and 33 graduate fellows to receive more than $5 million to pursue nuclear energy-related disciplines at universities across the country. Since 2009, the Energy Department has awarded over $33 million to more than 600 students for nuclear energy-related scholarships and fellowships. The undergraduate scholarship winners, Bodhisatwa “Bodhi” Biswas (chemical engineering) and Miriam Rathbun (engineering science) will receive a $7,500 scholarship. The graduate fellowship recipients, Jacob Farber and Lee Maccarone (both mechanical engineering) will receive up to $50,000 annually over the next three years. The graduate fellowships will also include $5,000 toward a summer internship at a U.S. national laboratory or other approved facility to strengthen the ties between students and the Department’s nuclear energy research programs. The selected students will study a breadth of critical nuclear energy issues, from fuel cycle sustainability to reactor efficiency and design.“The NEUP scholars and fellows program is extremely competitive, and so we’re very proud to have four recipients this year,” said Daniel Cole, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of the Stephen R. Tritch Program in Nuclear Engineering at Pitt. “This is the fourth year in a row that our students have been recognized, which reflects highly on both their academic excellence and our program’s strengths.”About NEUPThe U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy initiated Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP) in 2009 to consolidate its university support under one program NEUP funds nuclear energy research and equipment upgrades at U.S. colleges and universities, and provides student educational support. NEUP plays a key role in helping the Department of Energy accomplish its mission of leading the nation's investment in the development and exploration of advanced nuclear science and technology. As stated in its Nuclear Energy Roadmap, the Department promotes nuclear energy as a resource capable of meeting the nation's energy, environmental and national security needs by resolving technical, cost, safety, security, and proliferation resistance through research, development and demonstration. For more information, visit www.neup.gov.About Pitt's Nuclear Engineering ProgramPitt’s nuclear engineering program, offered through the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, is the only undergraduate and graduate program of its kind in western Pennsylvania. Established in 2006, the program develops relevant curricula in concert with industry leaders and is supported with grants from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy. The Pittsburgh region hosts one of the highest concentrations of nuclear-power-related companies and expertise, including FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company, which operates the Beaver Valley Power Station nuclear power plant in Shippingport; Bechtel Bettis, Inc.; and Westinghouse Electric Company. ###


NIH grant to support continuation of joint regenerative medicine program between Pitt and Carnegie Mellon

Bioengineering, Civil & Environmental, MEMS

PITTSBURGH (May 18, 2016) … With the goal of advancing regenerative medicine therapies, a partnership between the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University has received a five-year, $1.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to provide training in biomechanical engineering principles and biology to students pursuing a doctoral degree in bioengineering. “Training in Biomechanics in Regenerative Medicine” (BiRM) is funded through the NIH’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering’s T32 grant program. The program director and principal investigator is Savio L-Y. Woo, PhD, D.Sc., D.Eng., Distinguished University Professor of Bioengineering in the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering and the founder and director of the Musculoskeletal Research Center (MSRC) at Pitt. He is joined by co-investigators, James Antaki, PhD, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, and David Vorp, PhD, Associate Dean for Research and the William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Bioengineering at the Swanson School. According to Drs. Woo, Antaki and Vorp, regenerative medicine uses methods including tissue engineering, cellular therapies, biosurgery and artificial and biohybrid organ devices, to address tissue/organ insufficiency. Yet despite several early successes, bioengineers have faced challenges in repairing or replacing tissues that serve a predominantly biomechanical function. The Pitt-CMU program aims to bridge that gap by training students in both biomechanical engineering principles and biology. “Regenerative medicine is at a critical juncture in its evolution, and Pitt and CMU are uniquely positioned to create an interdisciplinary program to benefit our graduate students,” Dr. Woo said. “Since the BiRM program is not central to any one department, it provides students with both fundamental knowledge and problem-solving skills as well as inter-departmental didactic and research experiences, and specialized training in areas such as innovation and entrepreneurship.” To develop these diverse skills, BiRM incorporates faculty from Pitt’s departments of Bioengineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science in the Swanson School of Engineering; Carnegie Mellon’s departments of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering; and Pitt’s Schools of the Health Sciences, including the School of Dental Medicine, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, and Division of Cardiology. BiRM faculty also have appointments in the joint Pitt-CMU Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Woo noted that during BiRM's first two cohorts, 30 students gained a solid foundation for productive and independent careers in academia, industry, and medicine spanning a wide range of physiological systems including orthopedics, vascular surgery, dentistry, urology, and others. Over the next five years, the Pitt-CMU partnership seeks to sponsor six pre-doctoral fellowships per year corresponding to approximately 14 additional fellowships over the course of the program, as well as to allow further development of the curriculum and increase the emphasis on clinical translation of biomechanics and regenerative medicine research. ###


Ten current and former Pitt engineering students awarded 2016 National Science Foundation Fellowships

Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Electrical & Computer, MEMS, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH—Four University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering students and six alumni were awarded the 2016 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Nine engineering students and three alumni received honorable mention. Overall, the recipients were among the ten Pitt students and eight alumni awarded fellowships, and 14 Pitt students and 10 alumni who received honorable mentions. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program is designed to ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce in the United States. The program recognizes and supports outstanding students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees. Fellows receive a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance for tuition and fees. The fellowship program has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers. The support accorded NSF Graduate Research Fellows nurtures their ambition to become lifelong leaders who contribute significantly to both scientific innovation and teaching. Current Pitt students who were awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship include: seniors Emily June Crabb (physics and astronomy, computer engineering) and Trent Maxwell Dillon (civil engineering); and graduate students Donald Edward Kline (electrical engineering) and Michael Gilbert Taylor (chemical engineering). Alumni include Kenechi Aretha Agbim (mechanical engineering, Georgia Tech), Emmeline Blanchard (bioengineering, Georgia Tech), Jann Albert Grovogui (materials science engineering, Northwestern University), Lauren Ann Hapach (bioengineering, Cornell University), David William Palm (chemical engineering, Stanford University), and Christopher James Siviy (mechanical engineering). Current students who received an honorable mention are seniors Christian Gerald Bottenfield (electrical engineering), Stephanie Paolo Cortes (electrical engineering), Luke Drnach (computer engineering), Alexander Danels Josowitz (bioengineering) and Saundria Michelle Moed (bioengineering); and graduate students Patrick Andrew Cody (bioengineering), Daniel Ward Long (bioengineering), and Stephanie Anne Wiltman (bioengineering). Alumni include Olivia Annette Creasy (bioengineering, University of California-San Francisco), Kevin Andrew Day (bioengineering, Johns Hopkins University), and Andrew Head (computer engineering, University of California-Berkeley). Visit https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/grfp/Login.do for a full list of fellows and honorable mentions and to learn more about the Graduate Research Fellowship Program. ###
Joe Miksch, News Director, University Communications

Junior engineering student Rachel Lukas awarded Ellwood Group Metallurgy Scholarship


PITTSBURGH (March 28, 2016) ... Rachel Lukas, a junior in the Swanson School of Engineering majoring in Materials Science and Engineering, was recently named the winner of the ninth annual Ellwood Group, Inc. Metallurgy Scholarship. The scholarship is open to undergraduate college students in their junior year currently majoring in the field of metallurgy/material science at selected and accredited four-year colleges and universities. According to the Ellwood Group selection committee, Rachel possesses previous internship experience working as a Process Engineer. She provided metallurgical and metallographic support for a new alloy’s process development, and performed other research and development projects. Rachel is self-driven and possesses a raw enthusiasm for metallurgy. Along with the scholarship support, Rachel will complete an internship at an Ellwood business unit in summer 2016. Photo from left: Brian Gleeson, PhD, Harry S. Tack Chair Professor and Department Chair of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science; Ms. Lukas; Brendan Connolly, EQS Operations Engineer, and Swanson School alumnus (MSE 2006, MSMSE 2009, current PhD candidate) ###

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