University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Robert W. Hyers of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department is the co-investigator of the EML Thermolab, an experiment aboard the International Space Station that suspends liquid metals in a weightless environment while they cool. The Thermolab experiment seeks to improve models to help industrial casting and solidification techniques.

There has been extensive news coverage in the science press about a research team headed by Jae-Hwang Lee, mechanical and industrial engineering, which reports in Science magazine that it has carried out miniature ballistic tests by firing tiny silica spheres at sheets of graphene, a material that could be used to make new and improved bulletproof vests. The researchers reported that atom-thick layers of this material can be stronger than steel when it comes to absorbing impacts.

During the fall semester, alumnus Daniel J. Riccio (’86, ME), the senior vice president of Hardware Engineering at Apple Inc. since August of 2012, spoke to approximately 120 invited students from various departments throughout the campus. The subject of Riccio’s talk was “From Amherst to Cupertino: My Leadership Journey With Apple Inc.” The event was moderated by College of Engineering Dean Tim Anderson and occurred in the packed Cape Cod Lounge of the Student Center on campus. After the talk, Riccio engaged his audience in a lively question and answer session.

On December 4, the MIE 415 Senior Capstone Design course, taught by Professor Frank Sup of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, held its fall-semester poster contest, and the three winning teams produced a trio of brilliant and practical inventions aimed at solving major engineering problems.

A team of researchers in Sundar Krishnamurty’s mechanical and industrial engineering laboratory is putting a couple of new, high-end 3D printers through their paces now in their temporary location in Elab II while they await the building of new facilities at the Life Science Laboratories (LSL), expected to be finished in 2016. See News office Story.

To realize that the United States is in the throes of a nutritional crisis, all you have to do is pay attention. We are a country festering with obesity, eating disorders, and nutritionally caused conditions such as diabetes. As the founder and CEO of a new company targeting this crisis, alumna Alaina Hanlon Adams has her finger on the pulse of a country in big nutritional trouble. Her company, NuPlanit (, empowers people to sustain healthy, balanced eating habits using mobile technology and a network of nutrition experts.

The Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department and MIE Professor Yahya Modarres-Sadeghi, together with Professor Christian Santangelo from the Physics Department and Professor Ryan Hayward from the Polymer Science and Engineering Department, hosted NEW.Mech 2014, a one-day workshop in ELab II. The purpose of the event was to bring together academics and professionals in the New England mechanics community with an interest in exploring new directions for the mechanics of materials and structures and share the latest advancements in the field.

America has a problem: Not enough U.S. students are pursuing engineering careers.

That troubling fact helps explain why there are currently millions of vacant jobs across our nation, even as the number of Americans not in the labor force is the highest it’s ever been.

A team of four mechanical engineering students from UMass Amherst is in the process of designing, building, testing, and launching a 92-inch-long, four-inch-diameter, 200-ounce rocket to compete in the NASA Student Launch challenge. The national competition engages teams from many colleges and universities across the nation in an eight-month commitment to design, build, and fly payloads and/or vehicle components on high-powered, scale-model rockets to support the “Space Launch System,” America’s new rocket program being developed for deep space travel.

On December 5, Professor David McLaughlin of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department held his second, annual, end-of-class demonstration of model, collision-avoiding  “smart cars,” as built by the students in his Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering course, ECE 361. The event is a sort of anti-demolition derby, in which 60 model smart cars, built in teams by the 193 mechanical and industrial engineering students in McLaughlin’s class, duck, dodge, and dart across the floor in a choreography of collision avoidance.