Areas of Study and Facilities
The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers graduate study and research in a number of diverse technical fields.
Acoustics. The Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering offer an interdisciplinary course of study in this field. Research projects are carried out in physical acoustics, industrial and environmental acoustics, electroacoustics, nonlinear acoustics, underwater acoustics, noise control, and ultrasonics. Major experimental facilities available are a general purpose acoustics laboratory, a signal analysis and transducer laboratory, an anechoic chamber, a reverberation chamber, waveguides for high-intensity sound, a computer-controlled water tank for ultrasonics, and various underwater sound facilities at the Applied Research Laboratories.
Biomedical engineering. This concentration provides studies for application of mechanical engineering principles to biological and medical problems. Areas of study include physiology, analysis of biological signals, biomedical heat transfer, biomaterials, biorheology, health physics, blood flow, and biomechanics. Supporting courses and facilities are also provided through the interdisciplinary Biomedical Engineering Program.
Manufacturing. Manufacturing is an interdisciplinary field incorporating traditional and nontraditional elements of engineering and business. Manufacturing has production at its core, which involves design for manufacturing, concurrent engineering, manufacturing processing, and manufacturing machines. Other concerns are labor, operations, and control. Courses cover design for manufacturing; materials processing; design of precision and automated machinery; operational control systems; manufacturing systems analysis; simulation; production engineering management; statistical and quality assurance techniques; and organization. Faculty research also includes rapid prototyping and production flow control. The faculty members most involved with this field are associated with mechanical systems and design and operations research and industrial engineering. The mechanical engineering research facilities described in this section are available to manufacturing students.
Mechanical systems and design. This concentration offers intensive study in the analysis and design of mechanical systems as well as the methodology of engineering design. Areas of study include system dynamics, vibrations, automatic control, machine design, tribology, mechatronics, robotics, methodology of design, computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM), manufacturing processes, and machine intelligence. Well-equipped laboratories are available for research in vibrations, control systems, microcomputer applications, tribology, robotics, CAD/CAM, and real-time dynamic model simulation. In addition to remote links to the mainframe and supercomputer, departmental computation facilities equipped with minicomputers, microcomputers, and engineering workstations are available to support research.
Metallurgy and materials engineering. This concentration encompasses graduate study in the fields of materials engineering and processing. The department is also a primary participant in the graduate degree program in materials science and engineering. Areas of study include materials processing, physical metallurgy, the relationship of microstructure to properties, phase transformations, diffusion in solids, and the fundamentals of mechanical behavior. Programs of both theoretical and experimental research are available. Extensive laboratory facilities are also available. These include a scanning transmission electron microscope and other electron microscopes as well as a scanning Auger microscope; extensive X-ray facilities; metallographic facilities; a radioactive tracer laboratory; metal welding, forming, and cutting equipment; secondary ion mass spectrometer; mechanical testing equipment; and a corrosion, friction, and wear laboratory; a rheology laboratory; and a magnetic materials laboratory.
Nuclear engineering. This concentration provides instruction and research in nuclear radiation science and nuclear reactor theory, analysis and design of nuclear systems, and experimental techniques in nuclear technology. Emphasis is on radiation transport and measurements, neutron physics, health physics and dosimetry, transport and disposal of nuclear wastes, and nuclear material safeguards and disposition. The Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory is equipped with a TRIGA pulsing nuclear reactor, a cold neutron source, a solid homogeneous subcritical assembly, a neutron generator, californium-252 neutron sources, a cobalt-60 irradiator, and many radiation detection systems.
Thermal/fluid systems. This concentration offers graduate study and research in the areas of thermodynamics, heat and mass transfer, fluid mechanics, gas dynamics, energy conversion, energy conservation, alternative energy, combustion, and acoustics. Experimental facilities include subsonic and supersonic wind tunnels, liquid metal heat transfer loop, heat and mass transfer air loops, three-dimensional laser-Doppler anemometry, holographic interferometry and spectroscopy facilities, fundamental combustion research facilities, engine and emission test facility, solar energy components and systems, dielectric heating and infrared test facilities, and various fluid mechanics and heat transfer equipment. The University's computation facilities for numerical investigations are extensive.
Graduate Studies Committee
The following faculty members served on the Graduate Studies Committee in the spring semester 1998-1999.
To enter the graduate program in mechanical engineering, a student should have an undergraduate degree in engineering or in an equivalent quantitative field of study. Students who do not meet this requirement may have to take additional courses at the discretion of the graduate adviser.
Master of Science in Engineering. Students generally follow the thesis option, which requires thirty semester hours of credit, including six hours in the thesis course. Students who are appointed as teaching assistants or research assistants are expected to choose the thesis option. The report option requires thirty-three semester hours, including three hours in the report course. The option without thesis or report requires thirty-six hours of coursework. At least eighteen hours (including the thesis or report, if any) should be in the major area; at least six hours should be in a supporting area. The supporting courses may be in mechanical engineering but must represent a specialty distinct from the major courses. Some areas of study have required core courses.
Doctor of Philosophy. The student must pass oral and written qualifying examinations administered by faculty members in the area of specialty. After passing the qualifying examinations, the student applies for candidacy by submitting a Program of Work that includes a proposed dissertation topic and a suggested dissertation committee. The dissertation committee recommends courses to be taken as part of the Program of Work, which should include at least eighteen hours (for students with a master's degree) or forty-eight hours (for students without a master's degree) of graduate coursework in the area of specialization. This coursework must be taken on the letter-grade basis. The Program of Work must be approved by the chairman of the Graduate Studies Commmittee. Application for candidacy must be submitted before the student completes fifty hours of credit toward the doctoral degree.
For More Information
Campus address: Engineering Teaching Center (ETC) 5.218, phone (512) 232-2702, fax (512) 471-8727
Mailing address: Graduate Program, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712-1063
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