Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


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Acoustic Engineers use Carbon Nanotubes

Our students and faculty know what tomorrow needs. Acoustics engineering focuses on making spaces sound the best they can by analyzing complex sound waves, testing new materials, and building sound-cancelling devices. That matters because in places like hospitals, noisy heating and cooling units affect people’s ability to recover from illness and prevent airborne infection.

Alternative Energy Research Building (AERB)

Alternative Energy Research Building (AERB)

The AERB is a 4,000-square-foot building dedicated to alternative energy research. The all‐new facilities include a laboratory with unique equipment to study fundamental combustion and sprays; a fuel cell laboratory with an environmental chamber capable of reaching –40 degrees Celsius; and a wind flow laboratory used to study topics including the effects of variable-geometry wind turbine blades. The building also facilitates a full‐scale 50 kW biomass-fueled, grid‐connected generator and a vehicle hoist of NVH experimentation.

In addition to the state-of-the art combustion vessel laboratory, the facility includes an air compressor room, a gas storage room, a mixing vessel enclosure, an equipment preparation room, and a control and monitoring room.

Location: Lahti Building (Hancock, MI)
Contact: Jeff Naber, Jaclyn Johnson

Nonlinear and Autonomous Systems (NAS) Lab

Nonlinear and Autonomous Systems (NAS) Lab

The NAS Lab was established to develop innovative practical solutions for control of individual and multiple autonomous vehicles in harsh dynamic environments and address challenges that currently limit the use of autonomous vehicles in unknown complex situations.

Researchers in the NAS Lab develop autonomous systems and their control systems while specializing in cooperative control strategies to enhance autonomous systems via redundancy, swarming and robotic synergy.

Lab Equipment
The NAS Lab features the following equipment:

  • a polycarbonate water tank for testing prototype platforms;
  • five lab-size National Instrument DaNI robots for research development purposes;
  • a high-resolution desktop 3-D printer, which has a building volume of 4.9 by 4.9 by 6.5 inches; and
  • a real-time high-speed camera system with eight 1.3 megapixel cameras capable of taking high-speed photos, a low latency of 4 ms during wireless communications, and data-analysis software with gait-analysis and EMG-analysis modules.

Location: MEEM 301
Contact: Nina Mahmoudian

Human-Interactive Robotics Lab (HIRoLab)

Human-Interactive Robotics Lab (HIRoLab)

Research in the Human-Interactive Robotics (HIRo) Laboratory focuses on the development of lower-extremity assistive and rehabilitation devices for enhanced agility and improved mobility. Our goal in the HIRoLab is to further the critical understanding of the dynamics of gait, especially during different maneuvers, through experiments with human subjects and mathematical modeling. The lab measures approximately 1,000 square feet.

Major Lab Equipment


The lab is equipped with an Anklebot, a wearable therapeutic robot (by Interactive Motion Technologies Inc.). In addition to its intended use for rehabilitation, the Anklebot is used for studies on the estimation of mechanical impedance of the human ankle.

EMG Systems

Bagnoli Desktop EMG Systems
This system supports eight channels for monitoring surface EMG signals and other biological signals. The system includes surface EMG sensors, force sensors, foot switches, goniometers, and EMGworks software with signal acquisition and signal-analysis modules to record and analyze both EMG and auxiliary signals.

Delsys Wireless Trigno system
This is an eight-channel, wireless, surface EMG measurement system with built-in accelerometers. The device is employed in experiments that measure the leg’s muscle activities, identify the heel strike, and lower leg accelerations during the gait.

Real-Time Camera system

The lab is equipped with an Optitrack high-speed camera system. The system consists of eight Prime 17W cameras with a low latency of 2.8 ms during wireless communications. This system is used for gait analysis and to monitor and analyze the interaction kinematics of the ankle-foot prostheses in different evaluation platforms.

Force Plate

The lab has a multicomponent Kistler 9281E force plate with a wide measuring range of –10 kN to 20 kN and a natural frequency of 1000 Hz. It is used for measuring the ground-reaction forces in the gait experiments.

Location: MEEM 701A
Contact: Mo Rastgaar

Heavy-duty Diesel Engine Lab

Heavy-duty Diesel Engine Lab

The Heavy-Duty Diesel (HDD) Engine Lab is the experimental facility supporting the Diesel Aftertreatment Research Consortium and other industry- and federal-funded research. The lab features a dual-ended 500 hp dynamometer with two state-of-the-art diesel engines with full control of engine and dynamometer operation including transient cycles. Emissions of gaseous and particulate matter concentrations provide the detailed data for characterization of aftertreatment components, dosing for particulate matter oxidation, and SCR NOx reduction. High-output electrical heaters provide precise control of exhaust gas temperature separate from engine operation. Procedures have been developed for diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC), catalyzed particulate filter (CPF), and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) component evaluation. Results from the experimental work support the development and validation of detailed and reduced order models and estimators and prototype sensors.

Location: MEEM S010
Contact: Jeffrey Naber

Ion Space Propulsion Lab

Ion Space Propulsion Lab

The focus of the Ion Space Propulsion Lab (Isp Lab) is to develop and study next-generation thruster systems that use electrical energy to propel spacecraft. Electromagnetic forces are used to manipulate and exhaust ionized gases, producing reactive forces on in-space vehicles. The so-called “plasma thrusters” can only operate in the vacuum of space, so the Isp Lab maintains large, space-simulation chambers that enable ground-based testing of full-scale flight systems.

Current projects include xenon and magnesium Hall-effect thrusters that are used to raise the orbits of geostationary communications satellites, arcjets that are used to maintain orbits against gravitational perturbations, and electrospray microthrusters that are used to maneuver cell-phone-sized nanosatellites.

Location: MEEM B007C
Contact: Lyon (Brad) King

Micromechanical Applications and Processes Lab

Micromechanical Applications and Processes Lab

The Micromechanical Applications and Processes Lab is part of the Multi-Scale Technologies Institute at Michigan Tech. In this lab, scientists research components and systems that use features and phenomena spanning dimensional scales, from nanometers to millimeters. The lab uses a precision micromilling machine that is capable of machining with 1–2-micrometer tolerances and has used tools less than 25 micrometers in diameter, or approximately one-quarter the diameter of a human hair.

Metrology is conducted for surface roughness at the nanometer scale; optical surfaces can be fabricated with natural-diamond cutting tools; and a single layer of opto-electric proteins or other biomolecules can be deposited onto surfaces for bio-solar cells and biosensors, for example.

Recent research includes modifying the surface of orthopedic implants, which results in nanoscale features for enhanced bone bonding and antibacterial properties; developing nanoscale biomolecular strain gauges for shock measurement; and separating and sensing potential disease biomarkers using microfluidic methods.

Location: MEEM 101
Contact: Craig Friedrich

Mobile Lab

Mobile Lab

The Mobile Lab travels the country, providing hands-on professional-development training for engineers, technicians, and managers, as well as STEM outreach opportunities. On campus, the Mobile Lab is used for several Michigan Tech courses. 

The basis of the Mobile Lab is a semitrailer with an expandable side, providing a comfortable, climate-controlled classroom. The lab includes two fully functional powertrain test cells. The test cells can be configured with spark-ignited or diesel engines or electric motors and can be set up to function as a hybrid powertrain.  The test cells use AC dynamometers and include instrumentation for combustion and emissions analysis. The embedded control systems are used for rapid prototyping, and the cells can run fully automated. A fleet of twenty instrumented light-, medium-, and heavy-duty test vehicles and a vehicle-chassis dynamometer accompany the Mobile Lab.

The Mobile Lab provides over two dozen hands-on professional-development short courses at the customer’s location. Courses are available in electric machines and power electronics, batteries, engines, controls, instrumentation, data processing, and other areas. Custom course requests are always welcome.

Location: Variable
Contact: Jeremy Worm

Nanoindentation Lab

Nanoindentation Lab

A nanoindenter is a low-load indentation system for acquiring mechanical characterization data at the submicron scale. A diamond tip is used for the indentation. Given the known geometry of the diamond indenter tip, the depth of an indentation yields the area of contact between the tip and material being indented. Making an indentation with a controlled force, while continuously monitoring the displacement of the indenter, produces data from which hardness, modulus of elasticity, fracture behavior, and other mechanical properties can be calculated. The Nanoindentation Lab houses the Agilent NanoIndenter XPS system with the following options:

  • Continuous Stiffness Measurement
  • Lateral Force Measurement
  • High-Load System
  • High-Performance Table
  • Dynamic Contact Module
  • Nanopositioning Stage and Nano-Vision Microscope
Agilent NanoIndenter XPS System Specifications
Displacement Resolution <0.01 nm (XP), 0.0002 nm (DCM)
Maximum Load 500 mN (XP), 1 kg (XP-High Load), 10 mN (DCM)
Load Resolution 50 nN (XP and XP-High Load), 1nN (DCM)

Location: MEEM S005
Contact: Ibrahim Miskioglu