University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Research Areas

The controls area in mechanical engineering at UMass is composed of multiple labs, the Process Automation Laboratory, the Mechatronics and Robotics Research Laboratory, the Fluid Structure Interactions Laboratory, and the Control in Biomedical Systems Laboratory. The Process Automation Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts Amherst focuses on development of general solutions that can cope with process uncertainty. Areas of concentration are Simulation Tuning, Fault Diagnosis and Manufacturing Automation.  The Mechatronics and Robotics Research Laboratory, both in the controls group and the mechanical design group, focuses on exoskeleton and intelligent prosthetic development.  The Control in Biomedical Systems Laboratory focuses on topics such as Math Models of the Human Thyroid, Optimal dosing of radioactive iodine in Graves’ disease,  Pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics model of erythropoiesis, and Design of anemia management protocols in end-stage kidney disease.

Energy is an important and exciting topic not only in the MIE department, but at UMass Amherst more generally. We contribute to this important national priority through our work on wind energy, energy efficiency, and energy economics and policy. We have the nation’s foremost graduate wind energy research program, developing cutting edge research solutions to issues ranging from turbine dynamics and controls to wind resource assessment. We approach energy efficiency and energy technology R&D policy from multiple perspectives, combining deep technological knowledge in thermodynamics, mechanical design, and operations research, with an understanding of the economic, social, political, and environmental drivers that are key to effecting changes on the ground.

The Facilities, Systems, and Network Planning groups consists of two separate labs, the Dynamic Facilities Layout and Simulation Modeling Laboratory and the Supply Chain Management Group. The Dynamic Facilities Layout and Simulation Modeling Laboratory conducts research in the following areas topological network design, facility layout and location, stochastic network design and analysis, Steiner minimal Trees in 3-dimensions, and state dependent queueing network analysis and finite buffer queueing network models. The laboratory has carried out many and varied projects for manufacturing and service industries in and around Massachusetts, and J. McGregor Smith is a co-author of the textbook "Facilities, Planning, and Design." Within the broad and rapidly evolving field of Supply Chain Management the Supply Chain Management Group headed by Professor Ana Muriel, focuses on analyzing and modeling the coordination of production, inventory, distribution and pricing policies of the supply network.

In the Biological and Healthcare Delivery Systems group, we improve health through advancements in bioengineering and biomechanical design, and through operational and human factors-based improvements to the way healthcare is delivered.

In the Human Factors Group, we design products, interfaces, and systems that make peoples’ lives more safe, healthy, enjoyable and productive. We use a state-of-the-art driving simulator to study the effects of in-vehicle technologies on driver performance and collaborate with physicians and nurses to design information systems that help care providers co-manage patients’ chronic diseases. By designing systems that account for how people see, hear, think, and physically function, our research is leading to transportation and healthcare systems that save lives and money.

The manufacturing program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Mechnical Engineering program is centered around the Injection Molding Lab. This lab is involved in numerous research topics involving injection molding. The research work is both numerical and experimental. Typical research area ranges from optimization of injection molding process, minimization of birefringence and residual stress, processing of biodegradable nanocomposite, application of rapid thermal response molding, micro injection molding. Most of the research work is carried out in close coordination with industries in an effort to solve industrial problems.

The materials group at UMass Amherst is composed of two labs, the Computational Nanomaterials Laboratory and the Materials and Processes Laboratory. The Computational Nanomaterials Laboratory is a young research group lead by Ashwin Ramasubramaniam, with overarching interests that lie in using computational methods to probe materials at length scales ranging from the nano- to macroscale. This lab's primary tools are density functional theory, empirical potential methods, and continuum mechanics-based models (with the occasional paper-and-pencil theory too). The Materials and Processes Laboratory, headed by Dr. Robert Hyers, conducts research in the design and control of the processes that lead to the required structure or properties in materials. This lab uses mathematical modeling to identify and quantify the effect of different process parameters on the structure and properties of materials, and measure the thermophysical properties that are used in the models.

In the design and manufacturing group, our labs conduct research in engineering analysis models and ontologies, finite element analysis models of biological and biomechanical systems, the development of pedagogical tools for supporting engineering education,and mechatronics and robotics research focusing on powered exoskeletons and intelligent prosthetics. We use industry standard computer software packages. We also strongly encourage innovative research through our "Partnerships for Innovation Program"

In the Thermofluids Group, we create models of fluid flow to help produce cleaner power, conserve energy, and understand structural instability. We also make measurements using advanced optics to interrogate complex fluids and nano-particle suspensions. Our research employs some of the world's largest computers in order to simulate the complex flows occurring in nature and engineered systems. We combine these simulations with laser-based experimental diagnostics from our experimental laboratories to reveal comprehensive images of velocity, pressure, and temperature.