University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering

News and Events




ME News - Department Newsletter


December 2013

Graduate students Ke Li and Chen Zhang working with Professor Zongxuan Sun on the hydraulic free piston engine won first prize in the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA).

Asst. Professor Will Northrop has been awarded a National Science Foundation Career Award.

November 2013

A story featuring interdisciplinary fellow and ME Ph.D. student Zhenpeng Qin, who was awarded an Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship for 2012-13 with the Center for Infectious Diseases & Microbiology Translation Research, can be found on the Graduate School's homepage. See story. This story will also appear on the University's homepage in late January 2014.

Professor Jane Davidson and the Solar Energy Laboratory are being featured in the 2013-14 Driven to Discover campaign for the University being aired on local network stations and select cable programming. Here is a link to the story and video.

October 2013

Professor Allison Hubel received a Scholar Award from the National Blood Foundation in recognition of pivotal scientific research and commitment towards the NBF and its mission.

On November 6, 2013, former Regents Professor Ernst R. G. Eckert will be honored for his contributions to science and industry and inducted into the Minnesota Science and Technology Hall of Fame. He joins Professor Emeritus Benjamin Liu, who was inducted in 2011.

The Minnesota High Tech Association and the Science Museum of Minnesota created the Hall of Fame in 2007. It honors Minnesotans whose achievements in science and technology have made significant, far-reaching contributions that have positively impacted our state and our world. By sharing and celebrating the stories of some of Minnesota’s greatest scientific minds, the Hall of Fame also aims to inspire the next generation of leaders in science and technology. For more information visit

Graduate students Ke Li and Chen Zhang working with Professor Zongxuan Sun on the project "Free Piston Engine Hydraulic Pump" won first place for the poster competition at the 2013 annual conference of the NSF Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) in Sarasota, Florida.

The Thomas E. Murphy Engines Research Laboratory held its Grand Opening on October 4, 2013. The new laboratory facility is located just off the Twin Cities campus, near Como Avenue SE. With four engine test cells, control room, and office space, the lab ensuresthat Mechanical Engineering will remain among the top universities for engines, new fuels, and emissions research. More...

September 2013

Cari Dutcher joined the department as Benjamin Mayhugh Assistant Professor. Professor Dutcher adds expertise in non-Newtonian fluid mechanics as well as atmospheric aerosol science.

Professor Max Donath will lead a new Region 5 Center for Roadway Safety Solutions funded by the US Department of Transportation. The $10.4 million Center will be a regional focal point for transportation safety research, education and technology transfer initiatives. More...

Congratulations to Professors Perry Li and Jim Van de Ven for obtaining a patent on their Open Accumulator for Compact Liquid Power Energy Storage.

August 2013

The University of Minnesota has launched a record number of startup companies in fiscal year 2013. "Our continued success as a research institution depends upon our ability to transfer knowledge created at the University into the real world where it can have a direct impact on our society," said Brian Herman, vice president for research."

Mechanical Engineering Professor Rajesh Rajamani invented a handheld probe that can measure tension in soft tissues, such as tendons and ligaments, during invasive orthopedic surgery is being produced by FocusStart.

A surgical training platform that provides quantifiable feedback for medical students and practicing physicians was invented by the 2013 Mechanical Engineering Design Class and is being commercialized by MEDules.

Development, manufacturing and marketing of consumer technologies that help patients and caregivers ensure medication adherence was developed by the 2012 Medical Device Fellows in the Medical Device Center and is being commercialized by ReMinD Technologies.

July 2013

Professor and Department Head Uwe Kortshagen, and Ph.D. student, Lance Wheeler, along with colleagues from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, have overcome technical hurdles in the quest for inexpensive, durable electronics and solar cells made with non-toxic chemicals. The research was published in the most recent issue of Nature Communications, an international online research journal. You can read the full paper at Nature Communications website.

Professor Kumar Tamma was awarded the International Conference on Computational & Experimental Engineering and Sciences (ICCES) Outstanding Research Medal for his "outstanding research in computational structural dynamics".

Asst. Professor Chris Hogan has received the Smoluchowski Award 2013, named after the physicist Marian Smoluchowski (1872-1917), to recognize significant research contributions to aerosol science. The award will be confered during the European Aerosol Conference to be held in Prague in September.

Professor Allison Hubel has been named a semi-finalist in the Minnesota Cup competition, a statewide contest for up-and-coming businesses hoping to get their ideas noticed by top investors. Hubel's idea is called Meso-Flow, which is a technology that improves the cell cryopreservation process.

June 2013

Peter Bruggeman, PhD, who will join the Department as Associate Professor beginning Fall, 2013, has been awarded the 2013 Young Scientist Medal and Prize in Plasma Physics of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics. The prize will be awarded at the 31st International Conference on the Physics of Ionized Gases, in Granada, Spain, July 14-19, 2013. For more information, see

Asst. Professor Wojciech Lipiński received the 2013 Elsevier / JQSRT Raymond Viskanta Award in Radiative Transfer at the 7th International Symposium on Radiative Transfer in Kusadasi, Turkey.

Vincent Wheeler, ME graduate student, has won a Fulbright grant to study at the Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet (NTNU).  It is the technological university in Norway located in the city of Trondheim.  Wheeler and his wife leave in August and will be there for ten months.  While there, he will be working with two professors (one in Physics and one in Energy and Processes Engineering) on various aspects of modeling and simulations of small-scale thermal systems using kinetic theory.

May 2013

Professor Kumar Tamma and Jason Har have authored a new textbook and reference book for graduate students, researchers, engineers and scientists working in the field of computational mechanics, and in the general areas of computational sciences and engineering. Available from Wiley.

Professor Kumar Tamma will give a plenary lecture titled, "Isochronous Integrators and Implicit/Explicit Framework for Computational Dynamics" at the 4th International Conference on Computational Methods in Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering at COMPDYN, June 12-14, 2013, in Kos Island, Greece.

April 2013

Daniel Boman, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, has been named a 2013 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in his major field and a career in research and development in the energy sector. Currently, he is conducting research with Mechanical Engineering Professor Jane Davidson on a model of the reaction kinetics of the production of carbon monoxide and hydrogen over reduced cerium oxide, a technology that will be utilized in a new solar thermochemical reactor that Davidson’s laboratory is developing. In his spare time, Boman enjoys ballroom dancing. He holds a corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship, a Gold Scholar Award and a Frank Louk Scholarship from the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

March 2013

The Chinese Academy of Sciences has awarded the Einstein Professorship to Professor David Pui. The award goes to internationally recognized distinguished scientists who are actively working at the frontiers of science and technology. Professor Pui will spend two to three weeks giving lectures at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, the Institute of Earth Environment in Xi'an, and the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology in Beijing.

Professor Tianhong Cui and colleagues from Tsinghua University in Beijing, have received a Best Paper Award 2013 from Sensors. Their paper, "Humidity Sensitivity of Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube Networks Deposited by Dielectrophoresis" received the 4th prize in the "Articles" category.

A Symposium on Plasma Science and Technology in honor of Professor Joachim Heberlein was given in the Department by the High Temperature and Plasma Laboratory on March 8, 2013. Photos from the event can be downloaded, and the sesssion recordings are available to view.

Professor Will Durfee's work with robotics is featured on the University of Minnesota home page. Read more...

February 2013

Mr. Tejas Ulavi, working in the Solar Laboratory with Professor Jane Davidson, is the 2013 recipient of the  Minnesota Architectural Foundation Thomas F. Ellerbe scholarship.  Mr. Ulavi is working on hybrid solar systems that use wavelength selective films.

Assistant Professor Wojciech Lipiński has been elected the Vice Chair of the K6 (Heat Transfer in Energy Systems) Technical Committee of the ASME Heat Transfer Division.

A handheld sensor for measurement of tension in soft tissues invented by Kalpesh Singal and Professor Rajamani has been licensed to FocusStart. FocusStart is a medical technology development company and plans to make the technology ready for FDA submission in 3 years.

January 2013

Assistant Professor Rusen Yang has been selected for the 2013-15 class of McKnight Land-Grant Professors.

Professor Zongxuan Sun's research work on free piston engines was reported by the latest issue of the magazine Diesel Progress.

ME graduate student, Baris Mutlu, with Sujin Yeom of the Medical School, were finalists for the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA) for their project, Development of a Silica Gel Encapsulated Cell Bioremediation System for Wastewater Treatment. More...