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Research Areas

Aerospace

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.

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Faculty with research in this area include:
Steve Gorrell  ( TRL ): Turbomachinery aerodynamics.
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.

      Bioengineering

      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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      Faculty with research in this area include:

      • Anton Bowden ( BABEL ): Spinal biomechanics, computational biomechanics.
      • Steven Charles ( Neuromechanics ): Biomechanics and neural control of movement; Movement disorders; Technology to evaluate, assist, or rehabilitate patients with movement disorders.
      • Larry Howell ( Compliant Mechanisms ): Compliant mechanisms analysis and design, including origami-based design for medical devices.
      • Brian Iverson ( Flux Lab ): BioMEMS, biosensing, mass transport enhancement.
      • 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.
      • Scott Thomson : biological fluid flow, experimental and computational fluids, human voice biomechanics, additive manufacturing of ultra-soft materials

      Design

      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.

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      Faculty with research in this area include:

      • Nathan Crane ( CREATE lab ): Additive Manufacturing process development, design for additive manufacturing, capillary microfluidics, electrowetting.
      • Larry Howell ( Compliant Mechanisms ): Compliant mechanisms analysis and design, including origami-based design, medical devices, and space mechanisms.
      • Brian Jensen ( BioMEMSDesign ): Fabrication, and testing of biomedical systems on the nano- and micro-scale.
      • Spencer Magleby : Engineering design, product development, compliant mechanisms.
      • Chris Mattson ( Design Exploration ): Product development, Design for the developing world, Multiobjective optimization.
      • Andrew Ning ( FLOW Lab ): Multidisciplinary optimization, optimization under uncertainty, design of wind energy and aircraft systems.
      • Alan Parkinson: Engineering design, robust optimization
      • John Salmon ( CAD Lab ): Mechanisms and automation.
      • John Salmon ( BESD Lab ): Systems Engineering.
      • Carl Sorensen ( FSRL ): Friction stir welding, manufacturing processes.

      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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      Faculty with research in this area include:

      • Steven Charles ( Neuromechanics ): Biomechanics and neural control of movement; Movement disorders; Technology to evaluate, assist, or rehabilitate patients with movement disorders.
      • Mark Colton : Robotics, haptic interfaces, and mechatronics.
      • Marc Killpack ( RaD Lab ): Controls, robotics.
      • Tim McLain ( MAGICC ): Unmanned aerial vehicle dynamics and control.

      Energy Systems

      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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      Faculty with research in this area include:

      • Brad Adams : Combustion systems, combustion simulations, air pollutants.
      • Brian Iverson ( Flux Lab ): Solar thermal energy.
      • Matt Jones : Power harvesting, energy transport and conversion
      • Troy Munro ( TEMP Lab ): Nuclear energy.
      • Andrew Ning ( FLOW Lab ): Wind energy.
      • John Salmon ( BESD Lab ): Alternative energy systems including solar, electric vehicles, and human-powered.
      • Dale Tree : Combustion systems and optical diagnostics.

      Fluid Mechanics

      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.

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      Faculty with research in this area include:

      • Nathan Crane ( CREATE lab ): Additive Manufacturing process development, design for additive manufacturing, capillary microfluidics, electrowetting.
      • Julie Crockett ( Waves ): Environmental fluid dynamics.
      • Steve Gorrell ( TRL ): Turbomachinery aerodynamics.
      • 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.

      Materials

      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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      Faculty with research in this area include:

      • Nathan Crane ( CREATE lab ): Additive Manufacturing process development, design for additive manufacturing, capillary microfluidics, electrowetting.
      • David Fullwood ( Materials ): Composites.
      • Eric Homer ( Materials ): Computational materials modeling.
      • Oliver Johnson ( Johnson Group ): Microstructure Design; Grain Boundary Networks; Microstructure-Properties Models; Multi-scale Modelling & Homogenization; Synthesis of Advanced Materials.
      • Troy Munro ( TEMP Lab ): Biomaterials as fiber optics.
      • Tracy Nelson ( FSRL ): Friction stir welding.
      • Carl Sorensen ( FSRL ): Friction stir welding, manufacturing processes.

      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 the interaction between aerodynamics and structures.

      Faculty with research in this area include:

      • Jon Blotter ( BYU Acoustics ): Vibrations and optical-based measurements.

      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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      Faculty with research in this area include:

      • Brad Adams : Radiative heat transfer in combustion systems.
      • Nathan Crane ( CREATE lab ): Additive manufacturing, Thermal monitoring techniques for quality assurance
      • Brian Iverson ( Flux Lab ): Heat transfer in microsystems, microfluidics, spacecraft thermal management, transport at superhydrophobic surfaces.
      • Matt Jones : Reduced order methods - Modeling, Analysis and Compression, Thermophysical Property Measurements, Energy Transport and Conversion.
      • 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.