Mechanical Engineering Research

The mechanical engineering department at the University of Memphis has an active research program with the graduate study and research categorized under two basic areas of specialty - thermo/fluid and applied mechanics/materials. The department has identified manufacturing and materials and energy as key areas of strategic growth for the future. The programs of study are flexible and can be adjusted to fit personal needs and interests. The curriculum is designed to assist individuals who seek professional careers as advanced engineers, researchers, or teachers.

Examples of research currently ongoing in the department include: Structural health monitoring, Packaging, Biomaterials and Biomechanics, Computational Mechanics and Computational Fluid Dynamics, Energy, Biofuels (production and testing), Low Gravity Fluid Management and cryogenics, Gas Turbine Heat Transfer and Gas Turbine Combustion. These research projects have been funded by a wide variety of sources such as Department of Energy (DOE), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Institute of Health (NIH), and biomedical and consumer product companies (e.g.,  Smith & Nephew, Richards, Inc., Wright Medical Technology, Inc., Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, True Temper Sports, Select Comfort, Inc. etc.). Graduates of our program receive excellent training in research and development, and have gone on to demonstrate excellence in their chosen careers having reached the highest levels of professional achievements. 

Listed below are examples of some ongoing projects. Please contact the faculty directly if interested in these projects.

Low Gravity Fluid Physics (Dr. Jeffrey G. Marchetta and  Dr. John I Hochstein)
The next generation of manned space missions, such as a mission to the Moon or Mars, will require new technologies to manage fluids in low gravity.  In space, fluids behave in strange and unfamiliar ways.  When a person fills up a cup with water on earth, the water settles to the bottom of the cup because of gravity. Read More ...

University of Memphis Industrial Assessment Center (Dr. Jeffrey G. Marchetta)
The University of Memphis Industrial Assessment Center Program is part of the Tennessee 3-Star Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) which has been active since 2008.  The IAC is a federally sponsored industrial energy efficiency program provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Read More ...

Material failure is studied with novel Big-Data analyses (Dr. Gary Qi and Dr. Steve Wayne)
Analytics of 'Big Data' has been so promising and useful that it is thought to be a frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity in business. The concept of big data is not new in the fields of traditional science and engineering since engineers and scientists have been dealing with it for many generations. Read More ...

Navy supports U of M Mechanical Engineering thru STTR program on helicopter reliability (Dr. Gary Qi and Dr. Steve Wayne)        
Rotorcraft structures are subject to damage accumulation due to the harsh environment and conditions in which they operate. Components are currently designed using a safe-life approach, in which analytical methods are used to calculate the predicted service life of components. The major disadvantage is that the components are retired from use after a specified number of service hours, regardless of the remaining useful life of the component, and consequently some parts are not utilized to their full potential of useful life. Efforts are currently underway to transition from a safe-life design approach to a more practical conditional maintenance approach, in order to achieve optimum service life out of structural components. Read More ...

Analyses of Experimental Datasets of Properties of Poly (Methyl  Methacrylate Bone Cement (Gladius Lewis)
Poly (methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) bone cement (FIGURE 1) is widely used in orthopaedic surgery for applications such as fixation of total joint replacements (TJRs), augmentation of fractured vertebral bodies, and drug delivery. Read More ...

Development of Methodologies for Selection of Antibiotic-Loaded Acrylic Bone Cement (Gladius Lewis)
The prophylactic use of antibiotic-loaded poly (methyl methacrylate) bone cement (ALBC) is common in cemented total joint replacement (TJR) surgery as a means of reducing the potential for prosthetic joint infection following the procedure. Read More ...



CFD Laboratory: The Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) laboratory at Memphis State University serves as the focal point for research on computational methods of modeling fluid flow and for using computational models to investigate flow dynamics. Since its inception in 1992, the physical assets of the laboratory have grown to include several high-speed workstations and personal computers connected to form an efficient computing network that includes terminals, hard copy devices and access to other computing facilities on campus. The laboratory has also been used as a "front end" to access supercomputers at various sites across the country to perform research with particularly high computational demands.

 Materials Laboratory: The focus of this laboratory is to provide facilities for undergraduate instruction and to support research activities. To this end, the laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art mechanical testing systems; high-powered optical microscopes; fracture toughness measurement systems; a rotating-beam fatigue test system; a corrosion rate measurement system; furnaces; metallographic specimen preparation stations; hardness testers; and a creep tester.

Fluid Dynamics Laboratory: This is mainly a research laboratory for faculty and graduate students. Currently, the major component of the laboratory is a standard ELD Model 406(B) Open Circuit Wind Tunnel with a speed range from 10 fps to 150 fps in a 2'x2'x4' plexiglass test section. It is also equipped with several flow visualization and aerodynamic force measurement devices. Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) and Hot Wire Anemometry (HWA) systems are available for flow measurements as well as standard pitot probes and shear stress sensors. Please see FRC (FLOW) for additional details.

Computational Mechanics and Design (CMD) Laboratory: The CMD laboratory is equipped with computing and experimental research facilities to conduct research in various areas of applied mechanics and design, which include composite material mechanics, finite element analysis, computer simulation of dynamic systems, seismic structural response, nonlinear dynamics and chaos, and computer-aided design of mechanical systems. The CMD laboratory has connection to local campus computer network and direct access to the supercomputers. Finite element software such as ALGOR and ANSYS are utilized in the laboratory. The laboratory has supported research efforts funded by United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), NASA, US Navy, and True Temper Sports Company. Examples of research conducted include three dimensional finite element analysis of helical gears; computer modeling of gear system including bearings, shafts and housing; optimum design of transmission for minimum vibration and noise; finite element analysis of pipeline under seismic loading; and design and analysis of composite golf club for better performance. Please see CIDM (Design) and MAR (Acoustics) for additional details.



Graduate students interested in the research in the department are encouraged to apply for Fall or Spring admission. Financial aid in terms of assistantships and fellowships may be available for deserving candidates. Additional information regarding graduate studies in the department of Mechanical Engineering may be obtained by contacting the Coordinator of Graduate Studies Dr. Teong Tan at (901) 678-2173 or by email at The facsimile number fro the department is (901) 678-5459.

Information regarding application forms and deadlines may be obtained from Graduate Admissions at (901) 678-3685.