Engineering department changes name

On July 1, the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace & Structural Engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science changed its name to the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science.

The change was made to reflect the department’s continued emphasis on the development and study of advanced materials, according to Ralph S. Quatrano, PhD, the Spencer T. Olin Professor, who also assumed his duties as dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science on July 1.

Philip V. Bayly, PhD, the Lilyan and E. Lisle Hughes Professor of Mechanical Engineering who is also chair of the department, says that the department is adjusting its strategic position to take advantage of one of the most exciting and promising fields in modern engineering.

“New materials — nano-structured, multi-functional, energy-harvesting, light, strong, and environmentally sustainable — will play a significant role in addressing the most pressing challenges of the 21st century,” Bayly says.

Materials engineering plays to the university’s strength in interdisciplinary research, where engineers closely interact with chemists, physicists and biologists.

The department took a first step on this new pathway in January, when it hired Srikanth Singamaneni, PhD, as an assistant professor. Singamaneni’s research interest is organic and inorganic nanostructured materials for use in chemical and biological sensors, tissue engineering and drug delivery.

“We expect to make similar hires in the near future,” Bayly says.

Although it is changing direction, the department will continue to award an ABET-accredited bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering and master’s and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering. It will award the ABET-accredited bachelor of science degree in civil engineering through September 2013.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science is one of five departments in the School of Engineering & Applied Science. The other four are: biomedical engineering, computer science & engineering, electrical & systems engineering, and energy, environmental & chemical engineering.