Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Research Areas and Faculty

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Aerospace Systems Engineering

Gas Turbine Engine

The gas turbine engine serves as the core in the propulsion system of aircraft and ships, as well as in the power train of electrical generators, pumps, gas compressors, and tanks. It usually consists of a rotating gas compressor, a combustor, and a turbine. The demand for high-efficiency engines keeps pushing the inlet temperature of the turbine to a higher level. Combustion and thermal management of the gas turbine engine are the focuses of this program.


  • Particle image velocimetry    
  • Pressure sensitive paint    
  • Gas-turbine blade film cooling    

Experimental Aerodynamics

Experimental aerodynamics is one of the key areas of aeronautical engineering. Aerodynamic quantities, such as pressure, force, and velocity distributions can be quantified using several advanced flow diagnostic techniques. Aerodynamic performance of dual-plane airfoil design, quiet airfoil equipped with soft trailing-edge fringes, and flexible wings are the focuses of this program.


  • Dual-plane airfoil
  • Quiet airfoil
  • Flapping-wing micro air vehicle  

Computational Fluid Dynamics

The use of computational models of fluid flow physics is a vital engineering tool. The ability to gather detailed flow data non-intrusively for various operating conditions provides vital understandings of the forces involved. Various levels of modeling fidelity are being investigated such as inviscid, Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS), Unsteady RANS, Large Eddy Simulations (LES), and Direct Navier-Stokes (DNS). In addition, fundamental research into the various turbulent closure methods is being accomplished.


  • Large-eddy simulation methods
  • Turbulence modeling
  • Parallel computing
  • Advanced algorithm development

Thermal Management

As systems become more electrified, the thermal management requirements increase. The thermal management issues span a wide range of systems (cell phones, laptops, autos, airplanes, etc.). The management of the thermal loads is directly related to system performance. Ideally, the thermal management issues are resolved using an integrated approach without having to add a specific device just for managing the thermal loads.


  • Air vehicle thermal management
  • Turbine engine thermal
  • Phase change systems
  • Two-phase flow heat transfer

High-Speed Flows

High Mach number flows present a wide range of issues. The structure of the flow field with numerous shock and expansion waves drives large flow gradients which causes serious design concerns. Aerodynamic heating caused by the friction of the flow over the aircraft surface is a significant issue at high speeds. Propulsion and power generation for an air-breathing aircraft is extremely challenging but is being researched.


  • Air-breathing propulsion
  • Turbine based combined cycle
  • Rocket based combined cycle
  • Thermal management
  • On-board power generation

Mechanical Engineering

Multi-disciplinary Design Optimization and Engineering Data Analytics

Provides the student with a background in design optimization and data analytics for engineering system performance prediction and design study. Advanced analytical and computational methodologies for data-driven decision-making are developed to address the practical challenges in large-scale and complex engineering system design exploration. Our applications of the technical approaches include hypersonic/subsonic aircraft design, turbine engine blade design, heavy machinery fatigue-based design, additive manufacturing process and product, and so forth.


  • Engineering data analytics and physics-based machine learning
  • Multidisciplinary design optimization
  • Uncertainty quantification and risk/reliability-based design    
  • Structural topology, shape, and size optimization

Power Transmission Systems

For high-speed transmission systems such as electric vehicle drivetrains, dynamics/vibration is evident. Bridging tribology and dynamics, a multi-scale computational modeling approach is devised for optimization of efficiency and NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness). Contact fatigue in the form of micro-pitting and scuffing under high sliding are two major failure modes of interest. Novel techniques such as near-field acoustic levitation are being explored for performance improvement in terms of power loss and various contact failures. Experimental investigations are performed for database establishment and model validation.


  • Tribology and lubrication     
  • Dynamics
  • Power loss and efficiency
  • Contact fatigue    
  • Wear and scuffing failures
  • Multi-scale computational modeling

Experimental Flow Diagnostics Techniques

To address the need for optic-based flow diagnostic techniques for complex flows, various advanced diagnostic techniques have been developed. The developments of the hybrid Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) with the combination of the cross-correlation and optical flow method, the development of the temporal-separated dual-plane stereoscopic PIV, and X-ray or transmittance-based imaging the velocimetry are some of the focuses of this program.


  • Particle image velocimetry (PIV)
  • Hybrid PIV    
  • Stereoscopic PIV    
  • Dual-plane stereoscopic PIV    
  • 2D/3D optical flow method
  • X-ray imaging and velocimetry
  • Pressure sensitive paint


Hemodynamics of blood flow plays a key role in the development of many vascular diseases. Particularly, wall shear stress on the arterial wall has been recognized as the stimuli for the initiation, growth, and rupture of the intracranial aneurysms. The development of the experimental and numerical techniques/algorithms to study the hemodynamics of the vascular blood flow is the focus of this program.


  • Experimental/computational hemodynamics
  • X-ray blood velocimetry with optical flow method
  • Machine learning for blood velocity quantification
  • Intracranial aneurysms

Nano-scale Mechanics

Mechanical properties at the nanoscale can differ significantly from macro-scale ones. The unique mechanical responses of nanotubes, nanoribbons, nanofilms, etc. have opened opportunities for novel/enhanced applications. 


  • Mechanics of nano-films
  • Modeling mechanical properties of nanotubes, nanoribbons, and hybrid nanostructures

Additive Manufacturing

The emerging field of additive manufacturing has already revolutionized various aspects of mechanical engineering. Our focus is on the inter-relationship of mechanics, materials, and design, as well as applications such as resonators and energy-absorbing lattices.


  • Mechanics, materials, and design
  • Additively manufactured functional structures
  • Printed resonators and sensors
  • Energy-absorbing lattice
  • Printed substrates for printed electronics

Multi-scale Modeling - Continuum to Atomistic

The broad focus area is computational mechanics, primarily in the areas of mechano-chemistry and nano-mechanics. Our objective is to use continuum mechanics (e.g., Phase-Field) and atomistic models (e.g., molecular dynamic) to study coupled multi-physics and multi-scale phenomena in mechanics and material science.  These models can be used to predict stress generation during oxidation, phase transition in materials, Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) design/modeling, thermal/microstructure evolution in additive manufacturing, spinodal decomposition in high entropy alloys, fracture mechanics, swelling in lithium-ion batteries, and defect engineering.


  • Computational analysis of the interaction between mechanical stress and battery failure
  • Phase-field microstructure prediction
  • Piezo and dielectric nanomaterials
  • Phase-change nanomaterials
  • Corrosion
  • Fracture in nanocomposites
  • High entropy alloys 
  • Irradiation in materials
  • MEMS modeling 

Heat Transfer

Heat transfer is important in almost all areas of energy conversion and devices that utilize or harness energy. Moving heat from one location to another is important in heat exchangers, furnaces, power plants, airplanes, automobiles, transformers, computers, the earth’s atmosphere, etc. Some fundamental studies in heat transfer are still warranted.


  • Unsteady convective heat transfer
  • Radiative heat transfer in the atmosphere

Renewable and Clean Energy Engineering

Solar, Geothermal, Wind, Storage Batteries and Hybrid Energy Systems

Renewable energy systems harvest energy from sources that never become depleted. These energy sources are environmentally friendly and secure, but they are many times dependent on geographic location and time of the day or year. This makes for some interesting research problems. Efficient utilization of renewable energy sources is important, is essential for reliable application. Investigators at wright State are interested in many types of renewable energy and the harnessing of this energy. This research couples nicely with Wright State’s Master’s Degree in Renewable and Clean Energy Engineering  


  • Solar resource modeling
  • Solar panel orientation modeling
  • Solar thermal system modeling
  • Solar electric system modeling
  • Experimental investigation of wind turbine blades
  • Wind turbine modeling
  • Ground-source geothermal heating and cooling system modeling
  • Battery storage modeling
  • Experimental investigation of battery electrode materials

Photovoltaic and Thermoelectric Energy Conversion

Directly converting solar radiation to useful electric energy avoids possible loss associate with intermediate interaction such as friction. Recent solid-state photovoltaic materials make use of nanostructures to achieve efficiencies beyond those of conventional technology. Nanostructured materials are also being investigated for efficient, direct conversion of (waste) heat into electricity. Our work focuses on novel materials for photovoltaic and thermoelectric energy conversion. 


  • Ab initio modeling of hybrid perovskite photovoltaics    
  • Ab initio modeling of thermoelectric transport in 2D nanomaterials    
  • Circuit modeling of photovoltaic devices

Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage 

Electrochemical energy conversion and storage (EECS) is a field of energy technology based on the electrochemical principle. Such systems, including fuel cells, photoelectrolysis, batteries, and supercapacitors, etc, are vital in electrical vehicles and the effective utilization of intermittent renewable energy resources. 


  • Fuel Cells 
  • Li-based batteries
  • Hybrid batteries
  • Supercapacitors

Materials Science and Engineering

Novel Materials for Energy Storage 

Advancements in materials design, fabrication, characterization, and modeling have significantly affected the strategic field of energy storage, Novel materials are investigated to increase the efficiency of available technologies such as batteries, as well as emerging technologies that involve, e.g., novel energy carriers such as hydrogen. The department faculty engage in research on novel materials for batteries and hydrogen storage.  


  • Materials fabrication
  • Materials characterization
  • Computational design and characterization of hydrogen storage materials    
  • Computational analysis of nanomaterials for lithium and sodium storage

Nanostructured Materials 

Nanostructured materials have significantly affected various science and engineering fields owing to their unique properties such as large surface to mass ratio, relative ease of incorporation in established applications such as composite materials, and potential for providing novel solutions beyond conventional approaches in vast areas ranging from aerospace to electronics to thermal management to health monitoring and therapeutics to agriculture. Our focus is on the processing, characterization, and modeling of various nanostructured materials.  


  • Graphene, single-wall carbon nanotubes, nanofilms    
  • Nano-composite processing and modeling
  • 2D nanomaterials    
  • Quantum dots
  • 3D nanocomposites
  • Electronic materials
  • Optical applications
  • Chemical sensors

Computational Modeling 

Analysis of various stages of materials fabrication, processing, characterization, assembly, and performance can be achieved both experimentally and computationally. These approaches complement one another and help resolve issues that may be beyond a single approach’s reach. Using state-of-the-art computational modeling techniques, including ab initio, semi-empirical, and classical methods, the department faculty focuses on simulating materials for various applications.  


  • Carbon-based nanomaterials    
  • Diffusion and defects in crystalline solids    
  • Structural stability assessment 
  • Nanosensors
  • Nanoelectronics
  • Quantum electronic and thermal transports
  • Thermal management materials
  • Modeling 2D nanomaterials processing 
  • Ellectro-optics of nano-films
  • Thermal properties of nano-films

Additive Manufacturing 

Additive manufacturing methods are capable of producing parts with very fine features and geometries impossible to produce using traditional approaches. Our focus is on engineering microstructure and geometry, as well as characterization and testing. 


  • Metal additive manufacturing    
  • Wire arc additive manufacturing
  • Mechanical and metallurgical testing
  • Heat treatment and chemistry testing

Novel Materials Processing Methods 

This active research area is interdisciplinary and crosses the lines of traditional engineering fields. The specific fields include the growth of thin-film oxide heterostructures, the development of novel electronic packaging materials, the additive manufacturing of electronic materials, and the study of fast laser-fluid interactions. Other fields of related research include pushing the limits of existing materials properties, in the areas of polymeric nanofibers, ultralow-temperature consolidation of silver nanocomposites, and high-performance working fluids for heat engine applications. 


  • Novel materials for removal of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances    
  • Nanosilver composite materials for electronic packaging applications
  • Thermochemical enhancement of natural wood materials
  • Erosion of metallic surfaces in ultra-aggressive thermochemical environments


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