Graduate Catalog
2018-2019
 
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering
Goodwin Hall at the corner of Prices Fork Road and Stanger Street is the new flagship building for the College of Engineering. It houses 40 instructional and research labs, eight classrooms, an auditorium, and 150 offices for several engineering departments. More than classrooms, offices, and laboratories for Virginia Tech, the building is a ground-breaking experiment to measure even the smallest vibrations made inside the building. Accelerometers can measure vibration from wind loads, structural settling, or even foot traffic.
451 Goodwin Hall Mail Code:0238 Blacksburg VA 24061
Goodwin Hall
Degree(s) Offered:
• MEng
MEng Degree in Mechanical Engineering
Minimum GPA: 3.2
Offered In:
Hampton Roads
Blacksburg
National Capital Region
• PhD
PhD Degree in Mechanical Engineering
Minimum GPA: 3.2
Offered In:
Hampton Roads
Blacksburg
National Capital Region
• MS
MS Degree in Mechanical Engineering
Minimum GPA: 3.2
Offered In:
Hampton Roads
Blacksburg
National Capital Region
Phone Number(s):
540/231-7460
540/231-3608
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Jan 05
Spring: Sep 01
Directions
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The Graduate School
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Goodwin Hall

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Department Head : Azim Eskandarian
Graduate Program Director : Corina Sandu (Associate Department Head for Graduate Studies)
Emeriti Faculty: James Mahan
Professors: Mehdi Ahmadian; Ricardo Burdisso; Thomas Diller; Azim Eskandarian; Christopher Fuller (Blacksburg, NIA); Tomonari Furukawa; Alireza Haghighat (National Capital Region); Andrew Kurdila; Alexander Leonessa; John Lesko; Roop Mahajan (National Capital Region); Rolf Mueller; Douglas Nelson; Wing Fai Ng; Walter O'Brien; Robert Parker; Mark Paul; Ranga Pitchumani (National Capital Region - On Sabbatical Spring 2019); Rui Qiao; Michael Roan; Corina Sandu; Chang Min Son; Danesh Tafti; Saied Taheri; Christopher Williams (On Sabbatical); Jinsuo Zhang; Lei Zuo; Michael von Spakovsky
Associate Professors: Chunmei Ban; Bahareh Behkam; Pinhas Ben-Tzvi; Jan Helge Bohn; Jiangtao Cheng; Clinton Dancey; Michael Ellis; John Ferris; Warren Hardy; Celine Hin; Scott Huxtable; Mary Kasarda; Kevin Kochersberger (On Sabbatical); Amrinder Nain; Shivakumar Ranganathan (National Capital Region); Steve Southward; Pablo Tarazaga; Brian Vick; Robert West; Alfred Wicks
Assistant Professors: Pinar Acar; Kaveh Akbari Hamed; Alan Asbeck; Oumar Barry; Jonathan Boreyko; Sohan Kale; Erik Komendera; Ling Li; Zheng Li; Yang Liu; Joseph Meadows; Reza Mirzaeifar; Juliana Pacheco Duarte; John Palmore; Shima Shahab; Xiaoyu Zheng
Research Faculty: Ronald Kennedy
Affiliated Faculty: Nicole Abaid; Masoud Agah; Diana Bairaktarova; Romesh Batra; Brenda Brand; Stefano Brizzolara; Scott Case; Rafael Davalos; Raffaella De Vita; William Devenport; David Dillard; Stefan Duma; Hampton Gabler; Jacob Grohs; Deborah Kelly; Kevin Lowe; Maury Nussbaum; Robin Queen; John Robertson; Shane Ross; Joseph Schetz; Gary Seidel; John Socha; Mark Stremler; Costin Untaroiu; Alexandrina Untaroiu; Mark Van Dyke; Scott Verbridge; Craig Woolsey
John R. Jones III Faculty Fellow: Pablo Tarazaga; Christopher Williams (On Sabbatical); Lei Zuo
Dan Pletta Professor: Mehdi Ahmadian
Samuel Langley Distinguished Professor of Engineering: Christopher Fuller (Blacksburg, NIA)
W. Martin Johnson Professor: Andrew Kurdila
Lewis A. Hester Chair Professor: Roop Mahajan (National Capital Region)
Christopher C. Kraft Endowed Professor: Wing Fai Ng
George R. Goodson Professor: Ranga Pitchumani (National Capital Region - On Sabbatical Spring 2019)
J. Bernard Jones Professor: Walter O'Brien
Associate Professor of Practice: Robin Ott; Mark Pierson; Linda Vick
William S. Cross Professor: Danesh Tafti
Robert E. Hord Jr. Professor:
Clifton C. Garvin Professor: Romesh Batra
L.S. Randolph Professor: Robert Parker
L. Preston Wade Professor: Rafael Davalos
Professor John R. Jones III Faculty Fellow: Rui Qiao
Nicholas and Rebecca Des Champs Chair in Mechanical Engineering: Azim Eskandarian
Reynolds Metals Professor: Scott Case
Virginia Microelectronics Consortium Professor: Masoud Agah
Harry C. Wyatt Professor: Stefan Duma
Fred D. Durham Endowed Chair: Joseph Schetz
Assistant Professor of Practice: Ry Long
Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor:

Mechanical Engineering Introduction

The graduate programs in the ME Department at Virginia Tech provide quality mechanical engineering education through innovative research, faculty expertise, and practices that further expand and enhance students’ abilities in communication and problem solving, service and leadership within their profession, industry, and higher education.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers advanced study and research opportunities leading to PhD, MS, and MENG degrees. Each student, in cooperation with his or her advisory committee, develops a plan of study including research and course selection appropriate to the student's individual interests and research needs. Courses include (but are not limited to) topics on: acoustics, active materials/smart structures, automatic controls, biomedical topics, combustion, finite elements in machine design, fluid dynamics, fuel cell systems, heat transfer, nanotechnology, nuclear engineering, propulsion, rotor dynamics, thermodynamics, turbomachinery and vibrations. Students often take courses from outside the department in mathematics, statistics, and many other disciplines. 

The Mechanical Engineering Department also has international collaborations with the Technische Universität Darmstadt, as well as the 3+2 program with Shandong University in China.  VT undergraduates with high GPAs can also apply for the Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate degree program.  A Nuclear Engineering Graduate Certificate is available for students to pursue, in conjunction with their graduate degree program. 
 

Graduate Programs Rankings

The Department of Mechanical Engineering is consistently in the top 10% of graduate ME programs in the country.  It is also consistently ranked in the top 20 in the U.S. and top 50 of the world's most elite universities, according to U.S. News & World Report .  


Offered In (Hampton Roads, Blacksburg, National Capital Region)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.2
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
  • TOEFL
    • iBT
      • 105.0
  • GRE
    • General Test
      • Analytical Writing : 4.5
      • Verbal : 150.0
      • Quantitative : 165.0
  • IELTS
    • English Proficiency
      • 7.0

The MEng program seeks to educate graduate engineering students by delivering a broad-based theoretical curriculum developing students’ ability to address specific engineering problems in order to enhance industry and the technical community.

Please contact megrad@vt.edu for specific location information. Acceptance into the VT Mechanical Engineering graduate program is based on the overall application package.  In general, the minimum target requirements are to the left.  The application materials required can be accessed from the ME application instructions web page.


Master of Engineering (MENG) Degree Requirements

The Master of Engineering Degree (MENG) in Mechanical Engineering is primarily intended for individuals working in industry/government, and pursuing this degree on a part-time basis. Students must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate study beyond the baccalaureate.  Because the MENG requires more coursework hours (24) and only project hours (6), departmental funding is not available. MENG students must submit a Plan of Study to the Graduate Coordinator before completing the first semester registered as a MENG student. The Master of Engineering Degree in Mechanical Engineering must include the following minimum requirements:

1.  Project and Report (ME 5904): 6 hours minimum
2.  Approved coursework meeting the following:  24 hours minimum

  • Courses numbered 5000, or higher: 18 hours minimum
  • ME Course Work: 9 hours minimum
  • Courses outside the student's discipline area:  6 hours minimum
  • ME approved Mathematics or Statistics: 3 hours minimum
  • A maximum of two Virginia Tech 4000 level courses can be used to meet degree requirements and should be on the ME Technical Elective List for undergraduate ME students.  If it is a conjoint course, it must be taken at the 5000 level.
  • A maximum of 6 hours of Special Study (5984 only), and a maximum of 6 hours of Independent Study (5974 only), with the total of both not to exceed 9 hours is allowed.
  • Transfer courses meeting Graduate School policies, may be listed and approved on the Plan of Study.

Seminar Program: All Blacksburg students must participate in the Mechanical Engineering program seminar series each semester by registering in ME 5944.


Ethics:  All graduate students must meet the Graduate School's Ethics requirement by completing GRAD 5014 Academic Integrity & Plagiarism within their first 2 semesters.     

A written Project & Report must be submitted for the Final Defense.

       No courses below the 4000 level will be accepted for graduate credit.

       Contact the ME graduate program for approval procedures before
       taking any Independent Study (5974 only) courses.

Concentrations

Nuclear Engineering Graduate Certificate

A student must take a total of at least 9 credit hours with a letter grade of B or better in every course to obtain the Nuclear Engineering Graduate Certificate. Six credit hours must be from 5000-level courses or higher.  More information is available in the Graduate Catalog.

Required:
NSEG 5114 Nuclear Engineering Fundamentals: 3 credits
Electives: Minimum 6 credit hours from the approved course list (at least 3 credit
hours must be at the 5000-level or higher)
Offered In (Hampton Roads, Blacksburg, National Capital Region)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.2
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
  • TOEFL
    • iBT
      • 105.0
  • GRE
    • General Test
      • Analytical Writing : 4.5
      • Verbal : 150.0
      • Quantitative : 165.0
  • IELTS
    • English Proficiency
      • 7.0

The PhD program seeks to prepare graduate students to think critically by generating a novel engineering research problem and using their technical competence to craft and conduct experimentation that leads to research methodology from concept to completion.  Students will be able to present their research as the leading expert in that research field and will contribute publications, innovative research, and other scholarly activities to benefit the global community.

Please contact megrad@vt.edu for specific location information. Acceptance into the VT Mechanical Engineering graduate program is based on the overall application package.  Admission does not guarantee financial assistance.  In general, the minimum target requirements are to the left.  The application materials required can be accessed from the ME application instructions web page.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Mechanical Engineering requires that students must complete a minimum of 90 semester hours of graduate study (with stipulations listed below) beyond the baccalaureate, pass a qualifying exam, preliminary exam, and complete a research dissertation. PhD students must submit a Plan of Study before completing the second semester registered as a PhD student. Much of the course work from the Masters degree can be used towards the PhD. The Plan of Study must meet the following minimum requirements:

  1. Research & Dissertation (7994):  30 hours minimum
  2. Approved Graduate Courses:  30 hours minimum
  3. Additional hours of either research (7994) or coursework:  30 hours minimum
  • Courses numbered 5000, or higher: 27 hours minimum
  • Once course requirements in number 2 above are met, students may take a maximum of two Virginia Tech 4000 level courses.  These courses should be on the Technical Elective List for undergraduate ME students.  If it is a conjoint course, it must be taken at the 5000 level.
  • ME approved Mathematics or Statistics3 hours post baccalaureate
  • For continuously enrolled VT students completing an MS, most or all coursework can be used towards the PhD
  • Transfer courses (including from a non-VT MS degree) meeting Graduate School policies, may be listed and approved on the Plan of Study.
  • Independent/Special Study Courses (5974 and 5984): 12 hours maximum
Seminar Program: All Blacksburg students must participate in the Mechanical Engineering program seminar series each semester by registering in ME 5944.

Ethics:  All graduate students must meet the Graduate School's Ethics requirement by completing GRAD 5014 Academic Integrity & Plagiarism within their first 2 semesters.    

      No courses below the 4000 level will be accepted for graduate credit.

      Contact the ME graduate program for approval procedures before taking any Independent Study (5974 only) courses.

In addition, doctoral students matriculating with an MS degree must pass the PhD Qualifying exam within their first 3 semesters, as well as passing a Preliminary Exam/Proposal Defense at least 6 months prior to the Final Defense. A written Dissertation must be submitted for the Final Defense.

Direct PhD

MS Students may enroll as a "Direct-PhD" upon passing the PhD Qualifying exam within their first 4 semesters and securing a PhD Research Faculty Mentor.  All PhD requirements are the same as listed above.



Concentrations

Nuclear Engineering Graduate Certificate

A student must take a total of at least 9 credit hours with a letter grade of B or better in every course to obtain the Nuclear Engineering Graduate Certificate. Six credit hours must be from 5000-level courses or higher.  More information is available in the Graduate Catalog.

Required:
NSEG 5114 Nuclear Engineering Fundamentals: 3 credits
Electives: Minimum 6 credit hours from the approved course list (at least 3 credit
hours must be at the 5000-level or higher)
Offered In (Hampton Roads, Blacksburg, National Capital Region)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.2
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
  • TOEFL
    • iBT
      • 105.0
  • GRE
    • General
      • Verbal : 150.0
      • Quantitative : 165.0
      • Analytical : 4.5
  • IELTS
    • English Proficiency
      • 7.0
  • GMAT
  • GMAT

The thesis MS program seeks to prepare graduate students by providing them with practical and theoretical engineering knowledge, training the students to be able to become technical leaders, design a research methodology that solves an existing engineering problem, to present on their research, and to contribute to the scholarly work of the global mechanical engineering community.

The non-thesis MS program seeks to educate graduate engineering students by providing them with preparation in the essential sciences and technology of Mechanical Engineering. This option has been identified to complement our current offerings and to provide potential graduate students with another opportunity that may suit their needs better than the MS with thesis option. The non-thesis MS program involves academic course work, a research component related to coursework or a review of research papers and concludes with a final presentation to the Examination Committee. The purpose is to ensure a research component is preserved through this MS degree program.  This degree option may be more applicable for those applicants who are interested in part-time studies, who are employed and pursuing professional development, or careers in industry.

Please contact megrad@vt.edu for specific location information. Acceptance into the VT Mechanical Engineering graduate program is based on the overall application package.  Admission does not guarantee financial assistance.  In general, the minimum target requirements are to the left.  The application materials required can be accessed from the ME application instructions web page.

Master of Science (MS) Thesis Degree Requirements

The Master of Science (MS) in Mechanical Engineering requires that students complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate study beyond the baccalaureate, and complete a research thesis. MS students must submit a Plan of Study before completing the first semester registered as a MS student.

The MS in Mechanical Engineering must include the following minimum requirements:

  1. Research and Thesis (5994): 6 hours minimum (A maximum of 10 hours of 5994 can be used. Students should register in additional research hours as ME 7994 towards the PhD and these hours should not appear on the MS plan of study)
  2. Approved coursework meeting the following requirements: 20 hours minimum

  • Courses numbered 5000, or higher: 15 hours minimum
  • ME Coursework: 9 hours minimum
  • ME approved Mathematics or Statistics3 hours post baccalaureate
  • A maximum of two Virginia Tech 4000 level courses can be used to meet degree requirements and should be on the ME Technical Elective List for undergraduate ME students.  If it is a conjoint course, it must be taken at the 5000 level.
  • A maximum of 6 hours of Special Study (5984 only), and a maximum of 6 hours of Independent Study (5974 only), with the total of both not to exceed 9 hours is allowed.
  • Transfer courses meeting Graduate School policies, may be listed and approved on the Plan of Study.
Master of Science (nt-MS) Non-thesis Degree Requirements
Departmental funding is not available for the non-thesis Master of Science (nt-MS) program as this program does not require research hours but does require more coursework (24).

The nt-MS (non-thesis) in Mechanical Engineering must include the following minimum requirements:

  1. Project and Report (5904):  1-6 hours
  2. Approved coursework meeting the following requirements:  24 hours minimum
  • Courses numbered 5000, or higher: 18 hours minimum
  • ME Coursework: 9 hours minimum
  • ME approved Mathematics or Statistics3 hours post baccalaureate
  • A maximum of two Virginia Tech 4000 level courses can be used to meet degree requirements and should be on the ME Technical Elective List for undergraduate ME students.  If it is a conjoint course, it must be taken at the 5000 level.
  • A maximum of 6 hours of Special Study (5984 only), and a maximum of 6 hours of Independent Study (5974 only), with the total of both not to exceed 9 hours is allowed.
  • Transfer courses meeting Graduate School policies, may be listed and approved on the Plan of Study.

Seminar Program:
All Blacksburg students must participate in the Mechanical Engineering program seminar series each semester by registering in ME 5944.

Ethics:  All graduate students must meet the Graduate School's Ethics requirement by completing GRAD 5014 Academic Integrity & Plagiarism within their first 2 semesters.    
      No courses below the 4000 level will be accepted for graduate credit.

       Contact the ME graduate program for approval procedures before
       taking any Independent Study (5974 only) courses.

Concentrations

Nuclear Engineering Graduate Certificate

A student must take a total of at least 9 credit hours with a letter grade of B or better in every course to obtain the Nuclear Engineering Graduate Certificate. Six credit hours must be from 5000-level courses or higher.  More information is available in the Graduate Catalog.

Required:
NSEG 5114 Nuclear Engineering Fundamentals: 3 credits
Electives: Minimum 6 credit hours from the approved course list (at least 3 credit
hours must be at the 5000-level or higher)

Mechanical Engineering Facilities

To facilitate research, the department has specialized laboratories such as an anechoic chamber, a combustion laboratory, a computer-aided design laboratory, a fuel cells systems laboratory, a gas turbine test cell, impact biomechanics laboratory, a laser dynamics imaging laboratory, a mechatronics laboratory, a rapid prototyping laboratory, a reverberation room, and a thermal radiation laboratory among others. Many of these laboratories support one or more of the seven research centers and the more than 25 laboratory groups within the department.  A list of centers and research groups are listed below, including links to the web sites if available.
 

MultiScale Mechanics of Advanced Materials Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Reza Mirzaeifar

The MultiScale Mechanics of Advanced Materials Laboratory (MultiSMArt) group uses a wide range of theoretical, computational and experimental methods at different length scales to study the mechanics of various advanced materials including shape memory alloys, carbon-based materials, biological and bio-inspired materials, composites and soft materials. Please see the Research page for  more details about the active research topics in MMAM.

Nuclear Materials and Fuel Cycle Center

Director:  Prof. Jinsuo Zhang

The Nuclear Materials and Fuel Cycle Center (NMFC), focuses on two research topics: material degradation in a nuclear reactor and electrochemical separation for nuclear applications. Degradation of structural materials including fuel cladding has been recognized as one of the key factors that affect the performance of a nuclear reactor, especially for Gen.IV advanced reactors. The material degradation can be due to the corrosive property of a nuclear coolant such as liquid metal, molten salt and high temperature water or the chemical reactions between different materials such as fuel cladding chemical interactions (FCCI). Electrochemical separation has been found to be an effective method to separate nuclear materials from spent nuclear fuels. The method is also one of the candidate methods for molten salt coolant purification. Specifically, the center focuses on studies of advanced used nuclear fuel reprocessing, material compatibility and materials corrosion in advanced and current nuclear reactors. Ongoing research activities are: 1) Nuclear Materials compatibility (materials corrosion/degradation), 2) Nuclear Fuel Cycle Technology; 3) Electrochemical Separation; 4) Nuclear Safeguards and nonproliferation; and 5) Advanced Coolant Materials (molten salt, liquid metal).

Acoustics Signal Processing and Immersive Reality Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Michael Roan

Acoustics Signal Processing and Immersive Reality Lab (ASPIRe) mission is to explore all aspects of immersive reality. Recent innovations such as Occulus Rift have made tremendous strides toward bringing the visual component of immersion to a wide audience. A major part of our work is making realistic 3D audio for gaming, live performance, distance learning, and cinema a reality.

Other major thrusts include development of signal processing algorithms for anomaly detection applied to mechanical systems. Previous work of the lab includes automated bearing fault detection, detection of anomalies in synthetic aperture radar, and automated detection of faulty parts on high-speed assembly lines.

We are dedicated to creating an environment of inclusion, where everyone's voice is heard and ideas flow freely. The main goal of the lab is to provide students with an extensive toolbox of highly-desired skills, high-impact publications, specialized technical experience and to have a lot of fun doing it!

Advanced Combustion and Energy Laboratory

Director: Prof. Joseph MeadowsThe Advanced Combustion and Energy Laboratory focuses on the research and development of next-generation combustion technologies for propulsion and power generating applications.  

Advanced Manufacturing and Metamaterials Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Rayne Zheng

The Advanced Manufacturing and Metamaterials Laboratory (AMML) focuses on research and development of novel, transformative additive manufacturing (3D printing) processes and micro/nanoscale fabrication technologies capable of three-dimensional material and systems by design for applications ranging from energy, structures to healthcare.

Advanced Materials And Technologies Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Ranga Pitchumani

The Advanced Materials and Technologies Laboratory (AMTL) focuses on research, development and demonstration in advancing the state-of-the-art in materials processing and manufacturing; energy systems; energy/water nexus; energy storage; and micro and nanotechnologies.

Advanced Power and Propulsion Laboratory

Co-Directors:  Profs. Todd Lowe & Wing Ng

Advanced Power and Propulsion Laboratory (APPL) is a state-of-the-art, leading-edge facility dedicated to the study of jet propulsion and the internal design of gas turbine engines and other propulsion and power systems.

Advanced Research Computing

Director:  Prof. Terry Herdman

Advanced Research Computing (ARC) at Virginia Tech is an innovative and interdisciplinary environment advancing computational science, engineering and technology. Its mission is to:
-Provide computing and visualization resources, support, and leadership to advance computational research at Virginia Tech.
-Provide partnerships and support for joint faculty appointments in academic departments, building areas of excellence in computational science and engineering across disciplines, and providing opportunities for new innovation in scientific computing.
-Offer educational programs and training on scientific computing, encouraging the development of knowledge and skills in computational tools and techniques for undergraduate, graduate and research faculty and staff.
-Offer programs to stimulate and expand interdisciplinary and computational driven research activity at VT, including visiting researcher, travel, distinguished postdoctoral fellow and graduate student programs that provide new sources of support for collaboration, research, and development.
-Affiliate with business, industry, and government to help drive economic development growth in Virginia by building connections between research and applications for emerging tools and techniques in computational science and engineering.
-Collaborate with other computational science and engineering driven research centers in advancing knowledge and leading the evolution of scientific computing tools, techniques, and facilities that accelerate scientific discovery.

Advanced STRuctures and Optimization (ASTRO) Lab

Director:  Prof. Pinar Acar

Advanced STRuctures and Optimization (ASTRO) Lab
We are interested in advanced computational problems (multi-scale modeling, design, optimization, uncertainty quantification, model reduction) for a large variety of structures (metals, metallic alloys, composites) in different length scales (molecular, meso and macro scales).


Advanced Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Mehdi Ahmadian

The Advanced Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory (AVDL) conducts innovative research and product development in advanced vehicle technologies toward improving the sponsors' products and market share, and provides a productive environment for educating both graduate and undergraduate students to better serve their future employers.

Applied Autonomy and Mechatronics Research Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Al Wicks

The Applied Autonomy and Mechatronics Research Laboratory focuses on creating practical engineering solutions by integrating sensors and microcontrollers in to military and medical applications.

Assistive Robotics Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Alan Asbeck

The 
Assistive Robotics Laboratory (ARLab) focuses on developing human-assistance devices and on understanding how to make them work most effectively with the body.  The goal is to help people to regain capabilities they have lost, or enable people to perform feats that were not previously possible.

Autonomous Systems and Intelligent Machines Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Azim Eskandarian

The Autonomous Systems and Intelligent Machines Laboratory (ASIM) is established to conduct research in controlling multiple mechanical/electromechanical systems (robots, vehicles, mechanisms) to operate either autonomously or semi-autonomously in coordination with humans. We take advantage of intelligence created by a host of sensors, connectivity through communications, and advanced controls and learning algorithms. We also attempt to learn from biological systems and human brain functions, through signal processing, to mimic intelligent motor control.

Our current focus is on coordinated control of communication enabled mobile robots and vehicles with various on-board sensors which are linked to other robots/vehicles and surrounding environment. Our mobile robots emulate autonomous and connected vehicles with communications of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), Vehicle-to Infrastructure (V2X) and Vehicle to other entities such as road users, pedestrians, bicyclists, etc. We are developing and evaluating hybrid hierarchical control algorithms for autonomous driving, platooning, merging, and several other dynamic coordinated functions of intelligent vehicles and robots in complex environments.

A second area of focus is on driving safety dealing with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and active safety systems. We seek to understand driver cognitive perception-response abilities through human brain and physiological monitoring and modeling motor/control actions. The in-depth understanding of the driver's perception-response to external stimuli enables development of more coherent ADAS, thus leading to more intelligent vehicles. These vehicles better interact with drivers and support driving functions automatically as a continuously supporting co-pilot. Driving, due to its complexity and involvement of continuous sensing, decision making, and perception-response tasks, is a suitable test bed for human brain monitoring and investigation. However, our research discoveries would be similarly useful and applicable to other brain controlled tasks and functions such as limb control, patient rehabilitation, or brain control of machines.

Bio-Inspired Materials and Devices Laboratory

Director:  Prof.

The Bio-Inspired Materials and Devices laboratory (BMDL) focuses on understanding of the natures design principles and translating the understanding into artificial systems. Current programs in the lab cover jellyfish locomotion, millipede-inspired sensor nodes, artificial photosynthesis, and multi-jet swimmers.

Bio-inspired Fluid Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Sunny Jung

The Bio-inspired Fluid Laboratory's research interest is to investigate fluid problems emerging from the interaction of deformable biological objects with surrounding fluids. Research efforts are dedicated to understanding how biological systems interact, harness, and cope with fluidic surroundings. The Bio-Inspired Fluid lab will continue to explore the dynamics of interaction among biological and fluid interfaces through a combined theoretical and experimental approach.

Center for Bio-inspired Science & Technology

Director:  Prof. Rolf Mueller

The Center for Bioinspired Science & Technology (BIST) is an interdisciplinary research center at Virginia Tech that is dedicated to the study of biological function from an engineering perspective. The goal of the research is to create novel technology based on insights obtained from biological model systems that continue to outperform their man-made peers.

Center for Dynamic Systems Modeling and Control

Director:  Prof. Alex Leonessa

Center for Dynamic Systems Modeling and Control (DySMAC) research aims to develop a model-free controller for unknown systems. It incorporates state?of-the?art algorithms and computationally efficient parallel processing to develop a 'curved regular grid' of terrain surface data.

Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems

Director:  Prof. Lei Zuo

The Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems (CEHMS) conducts applied and fundamental research in  energy harvesting and sensing covering wide range of mechanisms such as piezoelectrics, electromagnetics, thermoelectrics, photovoltaics, batteries, windmills shape memory and thermomagnetics. 

Center for Energy Systems Research

Director:  Prof. Michael von Spakovsky

The mission of the Center for Energy Systems Research  (CESR) is to conduct both fundamental and applied research into all aspects of energy systems and their components whether for transportation, stationary, or portable applications. Single disciplinary and multidisciplinary research includes analytical, numerical, and experimental modeling from the atomistic to the large-scale system levels. In addition, faculty develop and teach energy-based courses both at the undergraduate and graduate levels as well as short courses on various topics such as, for example, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, fuel cells, building energy systems, hybrid electric vehicles, etc.

Center for Injury Biomechanics - Virginia Tech/Wake Forest

Director:  Prof. Warren Hardy

The Center for Injury Biomechanics (CIB) performs research investigating human tolerance to impact loading. The application of this research includes automobile safety, military restraints, and sports biomechanics.

Center for Tire Research

Director:  Prof. Saied Taheri

The Center for Tire Research (CenTiRe) is an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) which focuses on supporting a research program in tire materials, modeling, manufacturing, and testing combined with rubber material prototyping and testing, and parallel computing and dynamic simulation capabilities.

Our two world-class university sites, Virginia Tech and the University of Akron, have the expertise and facilities to perform the research requested by our industry members.  They also serve as an excellent training ground for students to enter industry. 

Our industry members are at core of the Center through involvement in the Industry Advisory Board, setting the operating procedures and direction of research to be carried out by the Center.  These members come from the tire, vehicle, materials, and testing industries.  They cooperatively propose and select the research to be conducted, fund the work through their combined annual membership fees, mentor the ongoing work, and share in the results.  This process facilitates the transfer of technology from the university to the industry members, as well as linking the companies to graduate students as potential interns and future employees.

Research already conducted by CenTiRe for our members has spanned the range from molecular level filler/polymer interaction, improved compounding, material characterization, durability testing and simulation, tire/road/ice interactions, radiated noise, intelligent tire, and tire/vehicle/road surface simulations.  Many of our graduated students who gained experience in these Center-funded projects are now working in our member companies.

CenTiRe looks to continue to grow, both in its industry memberships and by adding universities with expertise that complement our already existing capabilities to better perform tire and tire-related research for our members. 

Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Director:  Prof. Craig Woolsey

The Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-UAS) was established in 2012 and is an Industry/University Cooperative Research Center involving Brigham Young University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, Virginia Tech, Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan. The center is the only National Science Foundation-funded unmanned aircraft research center to provide innovative solutions to key technical challenges and superb training for future leaders in the unmanned aircraft systems industry.

Center for Vehicle Systems & Safety

Director:  Prof. Mehdi Ahmadian

Center for Vehicle Systems and Safety (CVeSS) is engaged in a wide variety of research ranging from advanced vehicle suspensions, to measurement and modeling of terrain and terramechanics, to biodynamics, to dynamic control of vehicle systems, to vehicle stability and rollover analysis.

Computational Multiphysics Systems Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Tomonari Furukawa

The Computational Multiphysics Systems Laboratory is one of the world’s two computational multiphysics systems laboratories.  Our group linvestigates the analysis and synthesis of computational multiphysics systems which range from deformable bodies studied in computational and experimental mechanics to rigid bodies studied in robotics.

Design, Research & Education of Additive Manufacturing Systems Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Christopher Williams

The research mission of the Design, Research & Education of Additive Manufacturing Systems Laboratory (DREAMS) is to be a leader in the transition of rapid prototyping technologies to the new paradigm of additive manufacturing.

Dynamics Laboratory

Dynamics Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Shane Ross

The Dynamics Laboratory at Virginia Tech specializes in applications of nonlinear dynamics, performing mathematical modeling, simulation, visualization,and experiments with applications in several different fields, including: patterns of dispersal in oceanic and atmospheric flows, passive and active aerodynamic gliding, dynamic buckling of flexible structures, transport across the air-water interface, orbital mechanics, chemical physics, and causality analysis in complex natural and artificial systems.

Dynamics and Vibration Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Robert Parker

The Dynamics and Vibration Lab directed by Prof. R. G. Parker applies analytical methods, advanced computational tools, and experimental measurements to explore the vibration of mechanical systems, with special interest in high-speed rotating or translating systems. We look for practically important problems whose solution calls for advanced modeling and/or analysis, that is, problems that sit at the interface of fundamental academic research and engineering applications. Topics where the lab has been especially active include aircraft engines, helicopters, automotive systems, geared transmissions, cyclically symmetric systems, centrifugal pendulum vibration absorbers, high-speed moving media, and efficient computational algorithms.

Energy Harvesting and Mechatronics Research Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Lei Zuo

The Energy Harvesting and Mechatronics Research Lab conducts applied and fundamental research in  energy harvesting, vibration control, mechatronics design, thermoelectric materials, vehicle dynamics, smart structures, and advanced sensors.

Heat Transfer Measurements Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Thomas Diller

The Heat Transfer Measurements Lab (HTML) performs heat transfer measurements across different length scales: nano, micro, and macro. Facilities include time-domain thermoreflectance equipment to measure nano to microscale heat conduction, thermoelectric measurement systems, heat flux calibration systems for convection, conduction, and radiation modes, as well as heat flux sensor fabrication equipment. 

High Performance Computational Fluid Thermal Science and Engineering Group

Director:  Prof. Danesh Tafti

The High Performance Computational Fluid Thermal Science and Engineering Group focuses on research in the advancement and application of computational methods and tools to aid the physical understanding of complex engineering, biological, and bioinspired fluid-thermal flows.

Intelligent Transportation Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Saied Taheri

The mission of the Intelligent Transportation Laboratory (ITL) is to improve the road transportation safety through development and application of the state-of-the-art sensors, actuators, and control systems.


Laboratory for Advanced Multifunctional Materials and Thermal Engineering

Director:  Prof. Roop Mahajan

The laboratory hosts a prototype facility for fabrication on non-woven nanofibers, and a facility for nanocoatings using graphene, graphene oxide and carbon nanotubes.

Laboratory of Transport Phenomena for Advanced Technologies

Director:  Prof. Rui Qiao

The Laboratory of Transport Phenomena for Advanced Technologies focuses on quantum, atomistic, mesoscopic, and multiscale simulation of transport phenomena including fluid, ion, thermal, and particulate transport. These researches are driven by challenges emerging at the frontiers of advanced technologies such as electrical energy storage, thermal management, biomanufacturing, and lab-on-chip.

Li Energy Storage Systems Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Zheng Li

Li Energy Storage Systems (LESS) lab focuses on the design and development of energy storage materials, systems and their manufacturing process that provide technically and economically viable energy storage solutions for electric transportation and power grids.

Micro/NanoScale Biotic/Abiotic Systems Engineering Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Bahareh Behkam

Micro/NanoScale Biotic/Abiotic Systems Engineering (MicroN BASE) laboratory's interest is in experimental and theoretical investigation of phenomena at the interface of biological and synthetic systems at the micro and nanoscale. Current research activities are: (1) Developing bio-hybrid engineered systems in which biological components are utilized for actuation, sensing, communication, and control (e.g. bacteria-enabled autonomous drug delivery systems for cancer therapy) (2) Studying mechanism of adhesion, motility and sensing in mammalian cells and unicellular microorganisms (e.g. effect of surface nanotopography on fungal biofilm formation). We utilize 2D and 3D microfluidic platforms to establish well-defined and repeatable test environments for most of our projects.

Multi-Phase Flow Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Yang Liu

The Multi-Phase Flow Laboratory (MFTL) performs experimental and computational studies on various multiphase flow and reactor thermal-hydraulics topics. In the first area, we study the full spectrum of two-phase flow regimes that are of practical interest, ranging from bubble nucleation to film and droplet dynamics. Research activities include advanced instrumentation development, experimental studies, and model development for both 1-D system codes and 3-D CFD codes. In the area of reactor thermal-hydraulics, the focus is on reactor safety related issues. Specific topics include air entrainment in the emergency core cooling system, flow structure development in rod bundles, flow induced vibration on piping elements, passive safety systems, and spent fuel pool safety.

MFTL has several test loops for two-phase flow experiment and instrumentation development. These test loops are equipped with high-precision instruments including magnetic flow meters, air mass flow meters, and differential pressure transducers. An existing high-speed imaging system consists of multiple (up to five) high-speed cameras, with an attainable frame rate up to 500,000 fps and resolution up to 6016x1024 pixels. A fast X-ray line-detector system can provide X-ray imaging at spatial resolution of 100 micrometer and a frame rate exceeding 1000 Hz. MFTL also has the capability to develop in-house instrumentation systems, such as multi-sensor conductivity probes, impedance void meters, and film thickness sensors. The dedicated computing resources include a 64-core AMD Opteron workstation and several multi-core Intel Xeon based workstations. The lab has access to Virginia Tech's high-performance computing systems, which houses more than five high performance clusters and necessary software packages including ANSYS CFX, ANSYS FLUENT and OpenFOAM, to perform single- and multi-phase CFD simulations.

Ng Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Wing Ng

The Ng Laboratory is a state-of-the-art research facility dedicated to advancing the core technologies and capabilities of aerospace propulsion and ground-based power generation. It is part of the Advanced Power and Propulsion Laboratory which houses four test cells and a fundamental research laboratory with a number of experimental rigs that simulate the flow and thermal conditions throughout propulsion engines and gas turbines.

Nonlinear Sytems Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Craig Woolsey

The Nonlinear Sytems Laboratory (NSL) in the Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department at Virginia Tech provides a facility for research and instruction in
dynamics and control of nonlinear systems, with particular focus on autonomous ocean and atmospheric vehicles. Founded in 2005, the NSL is co-directed by Dr. Cornel Sultan, Dr. Mazen Farhood, and Dr. Craig Woolsey. The Lab supports Virginia Tech's Autonomy and Robotics group.

Nuclear Science and Engineering Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Alireza Haghighat

The Nuclear Science and Engineering Laboratory (NSEL) is a unique research laboratory strategically located within a regional triangle of the Virginia Tech Research Center (VTRC) at Arlington, the Virginia Tech Campus in Blacksburg, and the Center for Advanced Engineering and Research (CAER), an industry-based research hub in New London, Virginia. Under the auspices of the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS), NSEL facilitates collaboration among its members and government agencies, industrial organizations, and educational institutions. It draws the expertise of faculty members from different disciplines and promotes nuclear education by offering workshops, courses, and seminars.

NSEL enables the VT Nuclear Engineering Program to fill a void in nuclear education and research in the National Capital Region. It is expected that NSEL activities will lead to establishment of new centers, vigorous research activities, engagement in nuclear policy development, and innovations of new tools and devices and computational tools for application in nuclear power, nuclear security and safeguards, and radiation diagnosis and therapy. NSEL will contribute to enhancing nuclear education in the NCR, and training of the next generation nuclear scientists and engineers.
In August 2015, NSEL signed an agreement with the US Naval Academy (USNA). Under this agreement, VT faculty and students engage with the USNA midshipmen and faculty in joint research and educational activities and benefit from the nuclear facilities at USNA.

Occupational Ergonomics and Biomechanics Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Maury Nussbaum

The Occupational Ergonomics and Biomechanics Laboratory (OEB) conducts work in theoretical and applied ergonomics, occupational biomechanics, and work physiology, primarily relating to worksite, workstation, and equipment evaluation and design. Research in the lab addresses: biomechanics of the human body (modeling, strength, motions, and working postures); human engineering of systems, equipment, tools, workstations, and work tasks; and ergonomic design for safety, efficiency, and performance.  Two primary areas of emphasis are the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders and slip/trip/fall accidents.

Performance Engineering Research Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Steve Southward

The mission of the Performance Engineering Research Laboratory (PERL) is to enhance the performance of sport, military, industrial, and commercial vehicles with the development and application of innovative active & adaptive control strategies. Our goal is to advance the state-of-the-art in vehicle suspension design, testing, and optimization with breakthrough innovations for improving vehicle ride and handling.



Radiation Measurement, Simulation and Visualization Laboratory

Directors:  Prof. Alireza Haghighat & Mark Pierson

The Radiation Measurement, Simulation and Visualization Laboratory (RMSVL)
 supports research activities in radiation detection and materials, radiation dosimetry, light-weight radiation shielding materials, radiation detection arrays, medical physics, nuclear safeguards, design of passive and active interrogation systems, benchmarking of particle transport codes and radiation transport visualization. In addition, it provides modeling, simulation and visualization of the results. Finally, it provides radiation literacy through experiments conducted by students in the various nuclear engineering courses.

Equipment included in the lab:
  • Reverse electrode Germanium detector, 60% efficiency with hybrid cryostat
  • Digital spectrum analyzer
  • NaI and LaBr scintillation detectors
  • Various radiation detection instruments and probes
  • Lead-shielded counting systems
  • 32 processor computational cluster with large panel displays for visualization

Railway Technologies Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Mehdi Ahmadian

The Railway Technologies Laboratory's mission is to explore and help implement technologies that will enable the U.S. railroad companies to become more efficient and competitive in their day-to-day operation.


Robotics and Mechatronics Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Pinhas Ben-Tzvi

The Robotics and Mechatronics Laboratory's mission is to conduct advanced fundamental and applied research in robotics, intelligent autonomous systems, mechatronics, human-robot interactions, systems dynamics and control, mechanism design and system integration, and novel sensing and actuation. Examples of research application areas and projects include autonomous mobile robots with symbiosis of locomotion and manipulation and modular & reconfigurable mobile robotics for search & rescue and hazardous environment sensing and monitoring; design of intelligent biomimetic robotic tails for robust dynamic stabilization and agile maneuvering of legged robots on rough terrain; autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) launch and recovery from naval vessels; haptics devices and upper-extremity exoskeletons for tele-operation and rehabilitation therapy; advanced medical devices and robotic systems for precision surgery; and novel smart sensors and actuators for biomedical applications.

Spinneret based Tunable Engineered Parameters Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Amrinder Nain

The Spinneret based Tunable Engineered Parameters (STEP) is a pseudo dry spinning technique that allows the deposition of nano-micron sized diameter fibers with user defined control of  diameter, spacing, and deposition angle.

Terramechanics, Multibody, and Vehicle Systems Laboratory

Director:  Prof.   Corina Sandu

The Terramechanics, Multibody, and Vehicle Systems (TMVS) Laboratory educates students and conducts research in a broad range of fundamental and applied topics in the three main areas mentioned in its name: terramechanics (vehicle-terrain interaction, tire/track modeling, vehicle mobility, soil/terrain modeling), multibody systems (modeling, simulation, uncertainty quantification, parameter estimation, sensitivity analysis, design optimization), and vehicle dynamics (tire dynamics, suspension modeling; handling, ride, and performance analysis).

Terrestrial Robotics and Control Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Alex Leonessa

The Terrestrial Robotics and Controls Laboratory  (TREC)  at Virginia Tech is a facility for graduate and undergraduate robotics research and education with an emphasis on studying novel mobile robot locomotion strategies, such as bipedal, quadrupedal, and soft robotics. Potential areas of application are exoskeletons for rehabilitation and performance enhancement, search and rescue, precision agriculture, just to mention a few.


Thermal Radiation Group

Director:  Prof. Robert Mahan

The Thermal Radiation Group conducts fundamental and applied research in optical and thermal radiation phenomena with applications in the fields of Earth radiation budget monitoring, infrared low observables, calibration, and related instrumentation.

Turbomachinery and Propulsion Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Walter O'Brien

The mission of the Virginia Tech Turbomachinery and Propulsion Research Laboratory is to support and facilitate advanced research in turbomachinery, gas turbines, and related modeling and diagnostics.  

The goals of the laboratory include providing laboratory facilities and an environment for collaboration of faculty, students, and researchers on turbomachinery and gas turbine research.  Educating students for research and development in turbomachinery and related fields.  Generating funding to support the research and publication of research results.  Presenting research results to the turbomachinery research community at conferences and meetings and enhancing the reputation of the laboratory and Virginia Tech as a leader in turbomachinery and propulsion research.

Unmanned Systems Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Kevin Kochersberger

The Unmanned Systems Laboratory brings together a diverse collection of researchers to a common facility dedicated to autonomous and remotely operated systems development and integration.

Vehicle Terrain Performance Laboratory

Director:  Prof. John Ferris

The mission of the Vehicle Terrain Performance Lab (VTPL) is to improve vehicle system performance by studying the interactions between vehicles and terrain.


Vibrations & Acoustics Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Christopher Fuller

The Vibrations and Acoustics Laboratory's (VAL) mission is to devote our research staff and facilities to the solution of major scientific problems in vibrations and acoustics and to improving the quality of life as far as noise pollution, in the communities that we serve.  One of our primary goals is to develop seminal new knowledge and solutions to difficult problems in sound and vibration. In addition we aim to provide a foundation of knowledge, expertise and leadership in the field of sound and vibration control.

Vibrations, Adaptive Structures and Testing Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Pablo Tarazaga

Vibrations, Adaptive Structures and Testing Laboratory (VAST) studies the dynamic behavior of structures from very large inflatable satellites (Gossamer Structures) to micron size stereocilia.  Adaptive Structures research relates to structures that have the ability to adapt, evolve or change their properties or behaviour in response to the environment around them" (taken from Adaptive Structures: Engineering Applications).

Virginia Tech Microelectromechanical Systems Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Masoud Agah

Virginia Tech Microelectromechanical Systems Laboratory (VT MEMS Lab) The current research at VT MEMS Lab centers on the development of CMOS-compatible three-dimensional silicon micro-machining techniques, smart microchip coolers, micro gas analyzers for environmental and healthcare applications, and bio-chips for cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment monitoring. In addition, the lab is pursuing research to merge MEMS (top-down approach) and nanotechnology (bottom-up approach) in order to enhance the performance of the micro-systems under development in our group. 

Virginia Tech Smart Infrastructure Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Pablo Tarazaga

The Virginia Tech Smart Infrastructure Laboratory (VTSIL) works to advance research and education in topics that utilize sensor information to improve the design, monitoring and daily operation of civil and mechanical infrastructure as well as to investigate how humans interact with the built environment.

Visionarium

Director:  Prof. Terry Herdman

Visionarium for virtual 3-D visualization was built in June 2010, the VisBox VisCube(TM) is the replacement to the old CAVE. Like the CAVE before it, the VisCube has three rear-projected ten foot square walls and a top-projected floor with a cutout hiding a MOOG motion platform. The VisCube features numerous hardware and software upgrades to increase the fidelity of the visualization (more pixels (1920×1920 per wall), more brightness, more contrast) as well as the ease of use for the researcher (wireless tracking).

X-ray Systems Laboratory

Director:  Prof. Guohua Cao

The X-ray Systems Laboratory houses two micro-CT systems. One is a carbon-nanotube based dynamic micro-CT scanner (DynaTom). This micro-CT scanner is one of the world's best in 4D micro-CT imaging of small-animal models with high spatial and temporal resolution and minimum radiation dose. Another is a bench-top micro-CT platform (Xplorer) for early proof-of-concept development of novel imaging technologies. Overall, the X-ray Systems Laboratory focuses on the system engineering of next-generation CT systems through novel x-ray sources, detectors, and algorithms. The lab has the following resources:
  • two x-ray shielding rooms of 12' by 9' dimension each and rated for up to 80kVp
  • two optical tables
  • one Pfeiffer HI CUBE vacuum pump station
  • a custom-built CNT field emission measurement station
  • one chemical hood for electro-polishing vacuum parts
  • several workbenches for electrical and mechanical assembling
  • several motorized electromechanical devices including 1 goniometer, 3 linear stages and 2 rotation stages
  • four Dell PC's for CAD design, numerical simulations, data acquisition and equipment control.
Machine shop services are readily available on VT campus.

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