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Research Areas

Research within the department can be categorized under the following areas of focus:

Click here to learn about specific research projects happening with professors in the department!


Aerospace engineering focuses on flight systems such as aircraft and spacecraft. Applications also include other "flight" systems such as underwater vehicles, wind turbines, and high performance automobiles. Research in the department includes both computational and experimental research across various applications including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, turbomachinery, satellites, airports, and wind turbines.

  • Steve Gorrell (TRL): Turbomachinery aerodynamics, CFD modeling of inlet distortion.
    Matt Allen (SDRG): Structural Dynamics of Launch Vehicles, Spacecraft and Hypersonic Aircraft.
    Larry Howell (Compliant Mechanisms): Compliant mechanisms analysis and design, including origami-based design for space mechanisms.
    Tim McLain (MAGICC Lab): Unmanned aircraft systems: guidance, control, and autonomy.
    Andrew Ning (FLOW Lab): Aircraft, UAV, wind turbine, and wind farm design.
    John Salmon (BESD Lab): Systems engineering of aerospace systems particularly UAVs and airport design.


      Biomechanics is the application of mechanics to biology and has origins dating back to Aristotle. Biomechanics seeks to understand the mechanics of living systems, from molecules to organisms. Biomechanical engineering is the practical implementation of this understanding, and embodies the attempts of humans to design and develop mechanical devices that mimic, measure, improve, repair, or replace the function of living systems.

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        • Matt Allen (SDRG): Wave propagation in Bio-materials, System Identification for Biomechanics
        • Anton Bowden (BABEL): Spinal Biomechanics, Medical Device Design, Nanocomposite Biomaterials
        • Steven Charles (Neuromechanics): Biomechanics and neural control of movement; Movement disorders; Technology to evaluate, assist, or rehabilitate patients with movement disorders.
        • Douglas Cook: Crop Biomechanics, Agricultural Robotics, Plant biomechanics, Composites Manufacturing
        • Christopher Dillon (Bioheat Transfer): Bioheat transfer and Focused Ultrasound Thermal therapies, Wave-propagation in Bio-materials.
        • Larry Howell (Compliant Mechanisms): Compliant mechanisms analysis and design, including origami-based design for medical devices.
        • Brian Jensen (BioMEMSDesign): Fabrication and testing of biomedical systems on the nano- and micro-scale.
        • Matt Jones: Radiofrequency cardiac ablation, Near infrared imaging and spectroscopy, Personal Protective Equipment.
        • Nathan Usevitch: Assistive device design, wearable haptic devices.


      Engineering design affects everyday life - everything around us has been designed. Design involves the systematic interplay between creation and validation with the intent to bring useful parts, products, or systems, to the marketplace. Researchers in engineering design develop theories, methodologies, and tools that improve the design process and bring new capabilities to the hands of the mechanical designer. This includes computer aided engineering, systems design, product development, numerical and optimization methods, and the integration of engineering with other disciplines.


      Dynamic Systems, Controls, and Robotics

      Many modern engineering systems, including robots, biomedical devices, vehicles, sensors, and machinery are comprised of interconnected dynamic elements. The ability to design, model, and control such systems is essential in modern engineering. Current areas of focus related to dynamic systems and controls at BYU include unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), active noise control, haptic interfaces, and robotics.

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      Energy Systems and Air Quality

      The dual specters of global warming and political instability in oil exporting countries have made the development of sustainable energy systems a national priority. Research in the department spans various aspects of energy engineering and includes collaborations with other departments, industry, and national labs.

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      Fluid Mechanics and Thermal Transport

      Fluid mechanics deals with the study of liquids and gases at rest or in motion. Research in fluid mechanics focuses on understanding how fluids move and interact with their surroundings over the range of length scales from the nano-scale to the global scale. Fluid mechanics research encompasses many complicated dynamic systems which are solved through a combination of experiments and direct observation, analytical methods, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Research topics at BYU are broad and include areas such as: biological flows, micro- and nano-fluidic systems, flow physics in turbomachines, turbulence, fluid-structure interactions, atmospheric and oceanic flow dynamics, aircraft aerodynamics, and reacting flows.

        • Nathan Crane (CREATE lab): Additive Manufacturing process development, design for additive manufacturing, capillary microfluidics, electrowetting.
        • Julie Crockett (Waves): Stratified flow and internal ocean waves; Superhydrophobic fluid physics and thermal transport.
        • Steve Gorrell (TRL): Turbomachinery aerodynamics, CFD modeling of centrifugal compressors/pumps.
        • Dan Maynes (Fluids Lab): Superhydrophobic surface fluid physics and thermal transport, train aerodynamics, turbomachinery.
        • Andrew Ning (FLOW Lab): Aerodynamics, particularly theoretical and computational aerodynamics. Applications focused on wind turbines and aircraft.
        • Nathan Speirs: Entry of objects into a body of water, inception and collapse dynamics of vaporous cavitation, microscale interactions of particles and droplets in the atmosphere.


      Progress in materials science is at the heart of most exciting advances in modern engineering. Materials science consists in exploring the relationships between structure, properties and processing operations that define a material. The engineering materials group develops novel processing techniques to prepare advanced materials. We use cutting edge microscopy to determine material structure at the nano-scale. Then, we employ mathematical tools to characterize the structure and properties of the material, and we design even better ones.

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        • Nathan Crane (CREATE lab): Additive Manufacturing process development, design for additive manufacturing, capillary microfluidics, electrowetting.
        • David Fullwood (Materials): Microscopy, Microstructure of Metals, Elastomeric Sensors, Nanocomposites
        • Eric Homer (Materials): Computational materials modeling, Metallic grain boundaries, shape memory ceramics.
        • Oliver Johnson (Johnson Group): Clean Energy, Grain Boundary Networks, Microstructure-Properties Models, Uncertainty Quantification
        • Troy Munro (TEMP Lab): Thermodynamics of biomaterials, Heat transfer in manufacturing.
        • Jason Porter (MODES Lab): Optical diagnostics, batteries, and renewable fuels.

      Structural Dynamics and Acoustics

      Acoustics research at BYU is strongly cross-disciplinary in character and focuses on the following areas: active noise and vibration control, sound-structure interaction, nonlinear acoustics, audio acoustics and architectural acoustics. The research in acoustics is both experimental and computational in nature and includes simulation and measurement of physical systems, as well as signal processing. Structural dynamics research focuses on modeling and experimental methods to ensure that structures such as aircraft and launch vehicles can survive the dynamic loads that they experience during operation.


        • Matt Allen (SDRG): Structural Dynamics of Aerospace Vehicles, Dynamic/Acoustic Environments, Noise Reduction
        • Jon Blotter (BYU Acoustics): Structural Acoustics and Vibration, Vibration effects on the Human Body, Vibration and Noise Control, Vibration and Neuroscience

      Thermal Transport

      Thermodynamics and Heat and Mass Transfer play a critical role in the design and optimization of energy conversion systems at all length scales (nano-, micro- and meso-scales). At BYU, we investigate methods to enhance and/or control transport of heat and mass to achieve efficient thermal management, chemical reactions and energy systems. Efforts include experimental and analytical approaches and address a host of applications (combustion, aerospace, biosensors, energy harvesting, etc.).

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        • Brad Adams (AQR Lab): Radiative heat transfer in combustion systems.
        • Nathan Crane (CREATE lab): Additive manufacturing, Thermal monitoring techniques for quality assurance
        • Christopher Dillon (Bioheat Transfer Lab): Tissue property characterization.
        • Brian Iverson (Flux Lab): Heat transfer in microsystems, microfluidics, spacecraft thermal management, transport at superhydrophobic surfaces.
        • Matt Jones: Reduced order methods, Analysis and Compression, Thermophysical Property Measurements
        • Troy Munro (TEMP Lab): Fluorescence thermometry, thermophysical property measurement, in situ thermal measurements.
        • Dale Tree: Combustion and optical diagnostics.
        • Brent Webb: Spectral modeling approaches for radiation in high temperature gases.
        • Jason Porter (MODES Lab): Optical diagnostics, batteries, and renewable fuels.