The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering administers three undergraduate programs in the College of Engineering: (1) Mechanical Engineering, (2) Mechanical Engineering/Materials Science and (3) Aerospace Science and Engineering.
Mission. The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is committed to educating future engineers so that they may contribute to the economic growth and well-being of the state, the nation, and the world, and to the advancement of knowledge in the mechanical and aerospace sciences.
Objectives. The objectives of the programs offered in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering include the following: to prepare its graduates to practice mechanical and/or aerospace engineering in a broad range of industries, to enable interested graduates to pursue graduate education, to prepare its graduates to participate in research and development, and in other creative and innovative efforts in science, engineering, and technology and to allow interested graduates to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors.
The Mechanical Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET; http://www.abet.org.
The mechanical engineer uses basic science in the design and manufacture of complex engineering systems, requiring the application of physical and mechanical principles to the development of machines, energy conversion systems, materials, and equipment for guidance and control.
Work in this broad field of engineering requires a thorough knowledge of mathematics, physics, chemistry, material science, applied mechanics, thermodynamics, heat transfer, mass transfer, electricity, manufacturing processes, and economics.
The Mechanical Engineering program is designed to provide knowledge in mechanical engineering and associated applied sciences so that graduates may practice in a broad range of industries, pursue graduate studies, participate in research and development, and/or pursue entrepreneurial endeavors.
Students spend their third year in further study of fundamental courses, and in the fourth year they may tailor their studies to their interests by selecting courses in controls and systems analysis, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, mechanical design or thermodynamics. Students can either prepare for graduate study in mechanical engineering or obtain a broad background for entering engineering practice.
Mechanical Design. The creation and improvement of products, processes, or systems that are mechanical in nature are the primary activities of a professional mechanical engineer. The development of a product from concept generation to detailed design, manufacturing process selection and planning, quality control and assurance, and life cycle considerations are areas of study and specialization in the area of mechanical design.
Solutions to such major social problems as environmental pollution, the lack of mass transportation, the lack of raw materials, and energy shortages, will depend heavily on the engineer's ability to create new types of machinery and mechanical systems.
The engineer-designer must have a solid and relatively broad background in the basic physical and engineering sciences and have the ability to synthesize the information from such a background in creative problem solving. In addition to having technical competence, the designer must be able to consider the socioeconomic consequences of a design and its possible impact on the environment. Product safety, reliability, and economics are other considerations.
Biomedical and Engineering Fluid Mechanics. This field of study is based on the fundamentals of fluid mechanics and their broad range of applications in the biomedical and engineering areas. Areas of current research include blood circulation and its potential role in the regulation of normal physiological function and in the development of disease; groundwater and atmospheric flows and their implications for pollutant transport and environmental concerns; aerodynamic flow around transportation vehicles and its impact on vehicle performance; and flow in combustion engines and other energy systems with considerations of efficiency and environmental impact. These areas are investigated both experimentally and computationally.
Combustion and the Environment. Combustion is widely used for energy generation, propulsion, heating, and waste disposal, as well as for many other applications. Mechanical engineers are often heavily involved with the design of combustion systems (internal combustion engines, gas turbines, furnaces, etc.) and deal with aspects of combustion ranging from increasing efficiencies to reducing pollutant emissions. This specialization is for those who would like to work in fields that use combustion, or that deal with pollution related to combustion. With the current increased emphasis on reducing pollutants while maintaining or increasing efficiency, the efforts of mechanical engineers in designing and improving combustion systems are becoming more important.
Heat Transfer, Thermodynamics, and Energy Systems. This specialization emphasizes the fundamentals of heat transfer and thermodynamics, and their application to the design of advanced engineering systems. The objective of the program is to introduce students to the fundamental processes of heat transfer and thermodynamics in complex engineering systems so that they are able to design more efficient, cost effective, and reliable systems with less environmental pollution and impact. An understanding of heat transfer and thermodynamics is required for the design of efficient, cost-effective systems for power generation, propulsion, heat exchangers, industrial processes, refining, and chemical processing. This area of specialization is important to many industries—aerospace, defense, automotive—as well as to the thermal design of electronic and computer packages.
Manufacturing. Manufacturing is concerned with the conversion of raw materials into finished products by a variety of processes, such as machining, forming, casting, and molding. Modern manufacturing technology is increasingly dependent upon integration with computer-aided design systems and precision computer controls. State-of-the-art laboratories offer the opportunity for hands-on experience with a wide spectrum of manufacturing equipment. Manufacturing engineers must have expertise in design, materials, controls, statistical methods, computer software, and microprocessor applications.
System Dynamics and Control. Engineers are increasingly concerned with the performance of integrated dynamics systems in which it is not possible to optimize component parts without considering the overall system.
System dynamics and control specialists are concerned with the modeling, analysis, and simulation of all types of dynamic systems and with the use of automatic control techniques to change the dynamic characteristics of systems in useful ways. The emphasis in this program is on the physical systems that are closely related to mechanical engineering, but the techniques for studying these systems apply to social, economic, and other dynamic systems.
Ongoing research includes projects on continuously variable transmissions, active and semi-active suspension systems, modeling and control of vehicle dynamics, electromechanical actuator design, electronically controlled steering, the analysis of fuel management systems, and the design of flight-control systems with humans in the loop.
Ground Vehicle Systems. An important aspect of mechanical engineering is the design of more environmentally benign surface vehicles that provide efficient individual and public transportation. Innovations in the field require competence in vehicle dynamics, control of vehicle dynamics, power sources and power transmission, lightweight structures and systems, alternatively fueled power systems, including electrical drives and fuel cells, and mechanical systems.
Transportation Systems. As society recognizes the increasing importance of optimizing transportation systems to minimize environmental degradation and energy expenditure, engineers will need to consider major innovations in the way people and goods are moved. Such innovations will require competence in vehicle dynamics, propulsion and control, and an understanding of the problems caused by present-day modes of transportation. Vehicle control requires an understanding of sensors and actuators, and the integration of yet-to-be-proposed concepts into overall vehicular dynamics. Competence in these areas allows for the development of alternative propulsion concepts, such as electric, hybrid, and fuel cell.
The Aerospace Science and Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET; http://www.abet.org.
Aerospace Science and Engineering majors learn to apply the principles of the physical sciences and engineering to the design of aerospace vehicles. Specific objectives include the design, development and manufacture of aerospace vehicles and other transportation systems through the integration of disciplines associated with aerodynamics, propulsion, structures and guidance/control.
Our Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Science and Engineering provides a broad background and fundamental education in mathematics, the physical sciences, and the engineering sciences. These fundamentals, when complemented by the required technical courses, prepare students for employment in government or industry, while simultaneously establishing an excellent foundation for graduate studies.
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Updated: March 22, 2017 10:38 AM