Feb 25, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Mechanical Engineering

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Professor Paul S. Krueger, Chair

Professors: Ali Beșkök, Xin-Lin Gao, Yildirim Hürmüzlü, MinJun Kim, Radovan B. Kovacevic, Paul S. Krueger, José L. Lage, Elizabeth G. Loboa, M. Volkan Otugen, Peter E. Raad, Wei Tong
Associate Professors: Edmond Richer, David A. Willis
Assistant Professors: Xu Nie
Senior Lecturers: Elena V. Borzova
Clinical Assistant Professor: Sheila Williams
Professor of Practice: Steven Lerner, James R. Webb
Adjunct Faculty: Bogdan V. Antohe, Eric B. Cluff, Levent Kaan, Steven L. Lerner, M. Wade Meaders, David J. Nowacki, Greg Radighieri, Michael Savoie, Peter Sorenson, Allen D. Tilley, Andrew K. Weaver

General Information

Mechanical engineering is a diverse, dynamic and exciting field. Mechanical engineers have wide-ranging technical backgrounds and a high potential for employment with mobility and professional growth. They apply creative knowledge to solve critical problems in many areas, including bioengineering (e.g., drug delivery and artificial organs), construction, design and manufacturing, electronics, energy (e.g., production, distribution and conservation), maintenance (individual machinery and complex installations), materials processing, medicine (diagnosis and therapy), national security and defense, packaging, pollution mitigation and control, robotics and automation, sensors, small-scale devices, and all aspects of transportation, (e.g., space travel and exploration).

The Mechanical Engineering Department at SMU has a long tradition of offering a superb engineering education within an environment fostering creativity and innovation. Small classes not only provide for strong mentoring but also help achieve academic excellence through cooperation and teamwork. Leading by example, through encouragement and dedication, the faculty is committed to the success of every student. In addition to offering introductory and advanced courses in their areas of specialization, faculty members teach courses that address the critical issues of technology and society.

The program prepares students by providing a solid background in fundamentals of science and engineering without compromising the practical aspects of mechanical engineering. Essential entrepreneurial know-how, interpersonal skills and the importance of lifelong learning complement the educational experience of students. The department stimulates professional and social leadership by providing, among others, opportunities for students to participate in the SMU Student Section of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and in the SMU Tau-Sigma Chapter of Pi-Tau-Sigma, the National Honorary Mechanical Engineering Fraternity.

The curriculum consists of three major areas: thermofluids; dynamics and controls; and solid mechanics, materials and manufacturing. Practical mechanical engineering design is interlaced throughout the curriculum. In the senior year, students participate in a capstone design activity, one option for which involves complete product design from concept to construction to testing, with support from industries, foundations and volunteer professionals. State-of-the-art software, computers and laboratory equipment support the high-quality education provided to students. Undergraduate students are encouraged to participate in research projects conducted by faculty and to consider extending their studies to include graduate work in mechanical engineering at SMU or elsewhere.

In combination with a solid liberal arts foundation, the program prepares students for graduate studies not only in engineering but also in other professional fields such as business, medicine and law. SMU mechanical engineering graduates have found success in graduate school and in employment, and regularly attain graduate degrees in engineering, medicine, business and law. Graduates are employed as engineers or consulting engineers for major engineering, pharmaceutical, environmental, financial, banking and real estate companies.

The undergraduate program in mechanical engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, https://www.abet.org.

The program’s mission is to educate mechanical engineers who are innovative, entrepreneurial and equipped to become global leaders in research and technology. Specific educational objectives of the mechanical engineering undergraduate program are to produce graduates who meet the following:

  1. The ability to be innovative problem solvers and critical thinkers addressing technical and societal issues.
  2. The ability to embrace professional development and lifelong learning relevant to their careers.
  3. The ability to have entrepreneurial and leadership roles in industry, government and academia.

The Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate Program Outcomes and their relationships to the discipline-specific criteria are as follows:

  1. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.
  2. An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors.
  3. An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
  4. An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts.
  5. An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives.
  6. An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.
  7. An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

An outstanding cooperative education program is also available for students. For further information on the SMU Co-op Program, students should see Cooperative Education at the beginning of the Lyle School of Engineering section.

The Mechanical Engineering Department offers the following undergraduate degrees with three available specializations:

Bachelor of Science With a Major in Mechanical Engineering 
Bachelor of Science With a Major in Mechanical Engineering (with a premedical/biomedical track)  
Bachelor of Science With a Major in Mechanical Engineering (with an engineering management and entrepreneurship track)  

Students may pursue a second degree program in math or physics. Students wishing to obtain a second degree in mathematics or physics should contact the respective departments to discuss the requirements.

In addition, a minor in mechanical engineering is available to interested students.

Departmental Facilities

In support of the teaching and research endeavors of the department, several research laboratories are available.

The Additive Manufacturing, Robotics and Automation Laboratory is dedicated to the development of advanced, multimaterial 3-D printing technology as applied to the manufacturing of soft robotic components. Other contemplated research areas include robotic technologies for minimally invasive medical procedures and automated construction systems.

The Biological Actuation, Sensing and Transport Laboratory is developing biologically-inspired nano/micro-scale robotic systems for minimally invasive surgery and particulate drug delivery as well as solid-state nano-pore systems for single molecule analysis. This is an interdisciplinary experimental group working on three core subject areas: nano/microbio-robotics, transport phenomena, and single molecule biophysics. Although each core program consists of a distinct project, we would like to emphasize their synergistic nature–advances in one core are expected to drive the development of the others. The unifying component of all the cores is “nanoscale engineering.”

The Biomedical Instrumentation and Robotics Laboratory supports research activities that promote strong interdisciplinary collaboration between several branches of engineering and biomedical sciences. The research interests are centered on (1) Medical robotics, especially novel robotic applications in minimally invasive, natural orifice, and image-guided and haptic-assisted surgery; and (2) in vivo measurements of mechanical properties of biological tissues. These areas of concentration touch upon fundamentals in analytical dynamics, nonlinear control of mechanical systems, computer-aided design and virtual prototyping, applied mathematics, data acquisition, signal processing, and high-performance actuators.

The Bio-Microfluidics Laboratory concentrates on designing, building and testing microfluidic devices for biomedical applications. Research also includes numerical modeling of mass momentum and energy transport in micro and nano-scales using continuum and atomistic simulation methods.

The Experimental Fluid Mechanics Laboratory investigates fundamental fluid processes in unsteady flows, vortical flows, fluid interactions with boundaries and complex structures, and biological and bio-inspired propulsion systems.

The Impact Mechanics Laboratory explores the mechanics and physics in dynamic response and failure of advanced materials. The lab is currently equipped with Kolsky compression/tension bar facilities of different sizes for high-rate characterization of materials and structures. A high-resolution Kirana high-speed camera is implemented with the Kolsky bar systems to observe the dynamic deformation and failure process of materials. The lab also has A Skyscan 1172 Micro-CT for non-destructive evaluation of materials microstructure.

The Laboratory for Porous Materials Applications is concerned with modeling; numerical simulation; and experimental testing of mass, energy and momentum transport in heterogeneous and porous media.

The Laser Micromachining Laboratory conducts studies of laser-assisted micro-fabrication, including high-power laser ablation and laser micromachining.

The Mechanics of Metamaterials Laboratory is devoted to studying thermomechanical responses of metamaterials created by microstructural design and 3-D printing. Such materials include cellular materials, lattice structures, and interpenetrating phase composites that exhibit negative Poisson’s ratios and/or non-positive thermal expansion coefficients. Higher-order continuum theories, micromechanics, structural analysis, and variational principles are employed as the major tools, and theoretical analysis, numerical simulations and experimental studies are utilized as the main approaches.

The Micro, Nano and Biomechanics of Materials Laboratory is devoted to solid mechanics and materials engineering research, with a focus on the combined experimental characterization as well as the computational analysis of mechanical properties, stress/strain, and microstructure of engineering and biological materials. Applications in advancing manufacturing and materials processing technologies, engineering design analysis, and biomedical sciences and engineering are also studied in this facility.

The MicroSensor Laboratory focuses on research in the development of micro-optical sensors for a wide range of aerospace and mechanical engineering applications, including temperature, pressure, force, acceleration and concentration. A major research component in this lab is concentrated on the study of the optical phenomenon called the “whispering gallery modes” and its exploitation for sensor development in the microsize level with a nano-level measurement sensitivity.

The Multiscale Modeling and Simulations Laboratory performs modeling and simulations of materials and structures.

The Nanoscale Electro-Thermal Sciences Laboratory (NETSL) was established in 1995 in recognition of the local industry’s needs for noninvasive characterization of microelectronic devices. The Laboratory features (a) laser-based transient thermoreflectance (TTR) capabilities to measure the thermal properties of thin-film materials and their interfaces, (b) Thermoreflectance-based thermal imaging capabilities for the transient thermal imaging of active microelectronics at deep submicron resolutions, and (c) a self-adaptive computational tool that enables rapid thermal simulation for concurrent electro-thermal analysis. True to the vision of its founders, today’s NETS Laboratory continues to focus on the research and creative use of thermal sciences to enhance the design and reliability of microelectronics as well as to explore new scientific and metrological opportunities.

The Research Center for Advanced Manufacturing supports research and development activities in areas of rapid prototyping and manufacturing (laser-based and welding-based deposition), laser materials processing (welding, forming, surface modification), welding (including electrical arc welding, variable polarity plasma arc welding, friction stir welding and micro plasma arc welding), water-jet/abrasive water-jet materials processing, sensing and control of manufacturing processes, and numerical modeling of manufacturing processes. The Center for Laser-Aided Manufacturing is housed in the RCAM facility, and it collaborates with RCAM.

The Systems Laboratory is dedicated to analysis and modeling of bipedal gait dynamics, rigid-body impact mechanics and the pneumatically operated haptic interface system.

Instructional Laboratories & Facilities

In support of the teaching and research endeavors of the department, several instructional laboratories are available. They include the following:

Mechanics of Materials (Structures) Laboratory. This laboratory is equipped for instruction and research on the behavior of materials under various loading conditions such as fatigue, impact, hardness, creep, tension, compression and flexure.

Systems, Measurement and Control Laboratory. This facility is equipped for instruction in the design and analysis of analog and digital instrumentation and control systems. Modern measurement and instrumentation equipment are used for experimental control engineering, system identification, harmonic analysis, simulation and real-time control applications. Additional equipment is also used in microprocessor interfacing for control and instrumentation.

Thermal and Fluids Laboratory. Equipment in this laboratory is used for instruction in experimental heat transfer, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics. Modern equipment is available for conducting experiments on energy conservation; aerodynamics; internal combustion engines; heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; convective cooling of electronics; and heat exchangers. State-of-the-art systems support automatic control and data acquisition. A partial list of the equipment in this lab includes the following: heat exchanger flow bench, , airflow bench, kinematic viscosity bath, forced convection heat transfer experiment bench, low-pressure board, dead weight tester, vortex tube, free and forced heat transfer unit, hydraulic trainer and pneumatic trainer.

Mechanical Engineering Machine Shop. This facility offers a state-of-the-art CNC machine, milling machines, lathes and 3D printers used for student instruction and research.

Mechanical Engineering Computer Laboratory. This laboratory is equipped with computer work stations supported by educational software including MATLAB, ANSYS, COMSOL, SOLIDWORKS and others. Access to SMU’s state of the art HPC facilities is also available.

Shared Laboratory Space

Laboratories shared with the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department include the following:

Hydraulics/Hydrology, Thermal and Fluids Laboratory
CAD Computer Laboratory
Structural and Mechanics of Materials Laboratory
Project construction area

Curriculum in Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering offers the broadest curriculum in engineering to reflect the wide range of mechanical engineering job opportunities in government and industry. The mechanical engineer is concerned with creation, research, design, analysis, production and marketing of devices for providing and using energy and materials. The major concentration areas of the program include the following:

Solid and Structural Mechanics. Concerned with the behavior of solid bodies under the action of applied forces. The solid body may be a simple mechanical linkage, an aerodynamic control surface, an airplane or space vehicle, or a component of a nuclear reactor. The applied forces may have a variety of origins, such as mechanical, aerodynamic, gravitational, electromotive and magnetic. Solid mechanics provides one element of the complete design process and interacts with all other subjects in the synthesis of a design.

Fluid Mechanics. Deals with the behavior of fluid under the action of forces applied to it. The subject proceeds from a study of basic fundamentals to a variety of applications, such as flow-through compressors, turbines and pumps, around an airplane or missile. Fluid mechanics interacts with solid mechanics in the practice of mechanical engineering because the fluid flow is generally bounded by solid surfaces. Fluid mechanics is also an element in the synthesis of a design.

Thermal Sciences. Concerned with the thermal behavior of all materials – solid, liquid and gaseous. The subject is divided into three important branches, namely, thermodynamics, energy conversion and heat transfer. Thermodynamics is the study of the interaction between a material and its environment when heat and/or work are involved. Energy conversion is a study of the transformation of one form of energy to another, such as the conversion of solar energy to electrical energy in a solar cell. Heat transfer is a study of the processes by which thermal energy is transferred from one body of material to another. Since energy is required to drive any apparatus and since some of the energy is thermal energy, the thermal sciences interact with all other areas of study as an integral part of the design process.

Materials Science and Engineering. Pertains to the properties of all materials – solid, liquid and gaseous. It deals with mechanical, fluid, thermal, electrical and other properties. Properties of interest include modulus of elasticity, compressibility, viscosity, thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity and many others. The study of materials proceeds from the characteristics of individual atoms of a material, through the cooperative behavior of small groups of atoms, up to the behavior and properties of the bulk material. Because all mechanical equipment is composed of materials, works in a material environment and is controlled by other material devices, it is clear that the materials sciences lie at the heart of the design synthesis process.

Control Systems. Provides necessary background for engineers in the dynamics of systems. In the study of controls, both the transient and steady-state behaviors of the system are of interest. The transient behavior is particularly important in the starting and stopping of propulsion systems and in maneuvering flight, whereas the steady-state behavior describes the normal operating state. Some familiar examples of control systems include the flight controls of an airplane or space vehicle and the thermostat on a heating or cooling system.

Design Synthesis. The process by which practical engineering solutions are created to satisfy needs of the society in an efficient, economical and practical way. This synthesis process is the culmination of the study of mechanical engineering and deals with all elements of science, mathematics and engineering.

Areas of Concentration

Mechanical engineering is a diverse field, and advanced major electives may be selected from a variety of advanced courses in mechanical engineering. In addition, concentrations are offered in premedical/biomedical and engineering management and entrepreneurship, which includes required courses in engineering management, information engineering and global perspectives, technical entrepreneurship, and technical communications. Students wishing to obtain a second degree in mathematics or physics should contact the respective departments to discuss the requirements.




      Mechanical Engineering

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