This combined graduate program offers the degrees of Master of Science, Master of Engineering, and Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
Graduate students in this program may specialize in either (1) continuum and fluid mechanics, (2) thermomechanics, or (3) dynamical systems and control. The particular focus areas range in scales from macro to micro and nano, and in scope from highly theoretical to quite applied, and utilize state-of-the-art analytical, computational, and experimental tools. A large selection of courses is offered covering the above areas. These courses deal with fundamental principles, analytical methods, computational techniques, design methodologies, and practical applications.
Research in the continuum mechanics area includes studies in fluid mechanics and nano mechanics. Current research in fluid mechanics addresses low speed unsteady aerodynamic flows, atmospheric re-entry flows, supersonic mixing, flows in liquid centrifuges, flow in centrifugal pumps, turbomachinery flows, bio-fluid mechanics, hydrodynamic stability, microgravity fluid mechanics, multi free-surface flows, non-Newtonian fluid mechanics, flow/structure interactions, and free and forced convection. Work on transportation safety includes studies of collision/injury mechanics, complex nonlinear simulation, and restraint optimization. This work is primarily applied to injury mitigation/prevention in automobiles and light aircraft as well as specific work directed at the transportation needs of the disabled. Significant new research thrusts are in morphing structures and polymer electromechanical devices (PEMs).
Research in dynamical systems and control covers a wide range of problems of practical interest including vibration control, mechatronics, fluid control, neurodynamic control mechanisms for autonomous mobile robots and biological information processing, and the use of periodicity to enhance the achievable performance of controlled systems. Finally, the department hosts a strong activity in rotordynamics research which includes interest in hydrodynamic bearings and seals, turbomachinery, artificial heart pumps, and experimental stability margin assessment.
Research in the thermomechanics includes topics from micro-scale and non-Fourier heat transfer, combustion (including supersonic), reduced-order chemical kinetics, thermoacoustics, aerogels, remote chemical-agents sensing, remote biological-agents sensing.
The department’s mechanical and aerospace research facilities include a rotating machinery and control industrial laboratory; a turbomachinery flows laboratory; several subsonic wind tunnel laboratories; a supersonic combustion laboratory; a supersonic wind tunnel laboratory; a structural dynamics laboratory, including an auto crash worthiness laboratory; a nano-scale mechanics and materials characterization laboratory; a bio thermo fluids laboratory; a micro-scale heat-transfer laboratory; a control systems laboratory; and an aerogel laboratory. Several of these laboratories are unique among all universities in the world. For more detailed, up-to-date information about the department’s research programs, and degree requirements, visit the Web sit at www.mae.virginia.edu.