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Faculty Research Areas

The MABE department consists of approximately 30 full-time faculty, as well as numerous adjunct faculty and postdoctoral associates. The faculty hold doctoral degrees from major research universities in the US and other countries. Research activities are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and by industrial companies such as Exxon, Boeing, Denso, Dupuy products, and Lexmark.

Our faculty members are involved with the basic research, design, and implementation of hardware and software systems across the mechanical, aerospace, and biomedical engineering fields. Many of our faculty serve on the editorial boards of recognized journals, hold professional society officer positions, and are nationally recognized.

Aerospace Engineering

Faculty Members:

A.J. Baker

Stan Johnson

Majid Keyhani

Evans Lyne

Mancil Milligan

C. Lin

Masood Parang

Research Areas:

  • Aerodynamics of meltblown fibers
  • Atmospheric entry / Meteor entry
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Hypersonic aerodynamics
  • Microgravity fluid mechanics
  • Rocket nozzle ablation
  • Space mission planning
  • Hybrid Rocket Propulsion
  • Hypersonic boundary layer simulation

Automotive Systems

Faculty Members:

D. Irick

K. ?Metal Combustion; Pulsed Combustions; Fluidized Beds; Control of Chaos

W.R. ?Robotics and Automation; Controls & Signal Processing; Mechatronics; Simulation & Visualization; Real-Time Digital Control


To perform research and development in advanced automotive systems and technology. Emphasis on fuel efficiency and emissions minimization. Supporting both undergraduate and graduate activities in automotive engineering.


  • Alternative fuels
    • cold starting of alcohol fueled engines
    • natural gas fueled vehicles
    • bio-diesel fueled engines
  • Emission controls and evaluation
  • Hybrid electric vehicles
    • design
    • vehicle controls
    • vehicle modeling and simulation
  • Dynamometer design and control
  • Vehicle dynamics and control
  • Human-powered vehicle systems
  • On road vehicle data acquisition and analysis


Biomedical Engineering and Biomechanics

Faculty Members:

W. Hamel

K. Kihm

R. Komistek

M. Mahfouz

M. Zhang

X. Zhao


To use the principles of engineering to address problems in the broad areas of medicine and biology. Research is performed in collaboration with the University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville, the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Arts and Sciences, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.


  • Tissue engineering
  • Cellular biomechanics
  • Exercise equipment design
  • Human body and hand/arm vibration analysis
  • Trauma biomechanics
  • Computational biofluid mechanics
  • Biofluid rheology
  • Aerospace physiology

Graduate study in biomedical engineering (BME) at the M.S. and Ph.D. levels is presently offered under the Engineering Science Graduate Program. Students specialize their Engineering Science program to BME through enrollment in an appropriate set of engineering, mathematics, and life sicence courses in support of a chosen BME research topic. Several biomedical engineering courses are available for graduate credit as listed in the current University of Tennessee Graduate Catalog.

Recent Initiatives:

Currently, BME graduate research opportunities are being expanded through the addition of new BME faculty and the establishment of new collaborative arrangements with professionals at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine and area biomedical companies and practicing physicians. Research areas that have been given special priority of rapid development include, but are not limited to

  • Computational biofluid mechanics
  • Bioimaging
  • Cell and tissue engineering
  • Advanced biomaterials


Computational Engineering Sciences

Faculty Members:

A. J. Baker

Cheng-Xian (Charlie) Lin

M. H. Mahfouz


To synthesize, implement, and apply mathematical/computational simulation models to a wide range of engineering and scientific systems.


  • Computational fluid mechanics
  • Turbulence closure modeling
  • Heat treating process sensitivity simulation
  • Computational structural mechanics
  • Environmental ventilation systems simulations
  • Computational diffuse plasmas with turbulent flows
  • Internet-based courses, collaboration with industry and universities
  • Geothermal heat exchanger modeling
  • Turbulent reactive flow in gas turbine


Mechanics of Composite Materials

Faculty Members:

M. Madhukar


To characterize and predict the mechanical response of polymeric and ceramic matrix composites for use in civil and defense applications. To train and educate undergraduate and graduate students in the analysis and testing of, and design with, composite materials.


  • Sample and small scale structural manufacturing
  • Mechanical testing at the coupon and mini-sample level
  • Incorporation of and accounting for the effects of moisture and fluids
  • Nonlinear and time-dependent material response
  • Process optimization
  • Modeling of electromagnetic effects
  • Constitutive modeling
  • Piezoelectric actuation, Smart structures and structural control

Robotics, Automation, and Manufacturing

Faculty Members:

William R. Hamel

Gary V. Smith


To perform research and development in the broad areas of robotics and automation as they apply to manufacturing automation, industrial controls, remote operations in hazardous environments, military operations, and space applications. R&D projects are performed for local/regional industries, national laboratories, and federal agencies.


  • Telerobotic systems for hazardous environments including variable impedance and scaling and Intelligently assisted telerobotics for complex task execution
  • Advanced teleoperations including human-machine cooperative telerobotics with uncertain sensor and model data and human factors of manual controllers
  • Redundant manipulator systems and control
  • Flexible manipulator control
  • Sensor-guided manipulation
  • Structural modeling and compensation of robot manipulators
  • Human-interactive 3D task space geometric modeling
  • Advanced mechatronics
  • Transmission-based servoactuators
  • Open architecture machine tool controls
  • Real-time distributed digital control architectures
  • Brick manufacturing automation and inspection
  • 3D simulation and modeling of automation systems
  • Unmanned ground vehicle systems including vehicle dynamics and control, mobility characterization and sensor pointing controls


Structures and Vibrations

Faculty Members:

J. A. M. Boulet

Vijay Chellaboina

Hans DeSmidt

William R. Hamel

John D. Landes

Jack F. Wasserman


To address engineering issues in the area of Structures/Vibrations through a coordinated research effort that involves national laboratories and industry, and which involves the training and education of undergraduate and graduate students.


  • Fracture mechanics
  • Dynamic simulation of mechanical and structural systems
  • Finite element structural mechanics, structural dynamics and mechanical vibrations
  • Machine dynamics
  • Machine design
  • Design of high efficiency mechanical/electrical devices
  • Low level servomechanism modeling, simulation and control
  • Modal testing
  • Structural vibration damping using passive and active control methods
  • Nonlinear controls and analysis
  • Nondestructive damage detection in structures


Thermal Fluid Sciences

Faculty Members:

R. Arimilli

A.J. Baker

K. Ekici

J. Frankel

D.K. Irick

M. Keyhani

K. Kihm

C. Lin

E. Lyne

K. Nguyen

Z. Zhang


To address engineering issues in the area of heat transfer and fluid dynamics through a coordinated research effort that involves national laboratories, federal agencies and industry as well as the training and education of undergraduate and graduate students.


Heat Transfer and Fluid Mechanics

Deactivation of After-treatment Devices for Lean-Burn Engines (K. Nguyen)

  • Deactivation of zeolite-based SCR catalysts
  • Lube-oil poisoning of diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs)
  • Accelerating aging of lean NOx traps (LNTs)
  • Accelerated ash loading protocol for diesel particulate filters (DPFs)
  • Impact of biodiesel fuels on after-treatment devices
  • Combustion and emission modeling of HCCI engines using surrogate fuels

Laser Diagnostics and Photonics (Z. Zhang)

  • Laser-based plasma diagnostics: Radar REMPI
  • Biomedical imaging

Micro/Nano-Scale Fluidics and Energy Transport (K. Kihm, C. Lin)

  • Individual tracking of nanoparticles and vesicles
  • Nanofluidic self-assembly and crystallization
  • Near-field (100nm) characterization using TIRFM and SPRM
  • Development of advanced optical diagnostic techniques
  • Flow and heat transfer in microchannels and micronozzles (C. Lin)
  • Nano particle transport (C. Lin)

Computational Fluid-Thermal Sytems

  • Continuous Galerkin Methods (A. J. Baker)
  • Finite Volume Methods (M. Keyhani, C. Lin)
  • Spectral and pseudo-spectral methods (J. Frankel, K. Ekici)
  • Turbulence Closure Issues (A. J. Baker)
  • Nonlinear Frequency-domain Methods (K. Ekici)
  • Parallel and High Performance Computation (K. Ekici)
  • Secondary combusion in turbine (C. Lin)

Unsteady Aerodynamics and Aeroelasticity (K. Ekici)

  • Flutter and Forced Response in Turbomachinery
  • Rotorcraft Aerodynamics
  • Aerodynamic Design Optimization
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics

Internal Cooling Concepts in Fusion Reactors (M. Madhukar)

  • Cooling of long-stranded copper wire/polymer composite conductors
  • Characterization of oven heat transfer behavior to optimize the heat cycle to cure the polymer

Sensor Development and Inverse Analysis (R. Arimilli, J. Frankel, M. Keyhani)

  • Inverse heat conduction
  • Parameter estimation
  • Rate based sensors

Hypersonics and Reentry Studies

  • Man-made bodies and meterors (E. Lyne)
  • Heat flux calculations in arcjets (J. Frankel)
  • Detecting transition in transient hypersonic flows (R. Arimilli, J. Frankel, M. Keyhani)
  • Supersonic and hypersonic flow characterization (Z. Zhang, C. Lin)