Research areas in AME

Aligned with the University’s mission to be a powerful force for good in the world, the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering aspires to Innovate for Humanity, tackling problems that affect human dignity and quality of life worldwide.

Research in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering falls within five primary areas: Bioengineering, Computation, Fluid Mechanics, Materials and Thermal Science and Engineering, and Robotics and Controls.

Faculty research spans the fundamental to applied domains, including technology development, and includes theoretical, computational, and experimental activities. Many faculty and faculty collaborations have projects that bridge these pillars, bringing together intra-departmental interdisciplinary research.


Bioengineering research is focused on applying engineering principles to understanding and manipulating biological systems from the cell to organism scale.

We develop novel methods to culture cells in engineered three-dimensional environments that can be applied to engineering artificial tissues or used as experimental platforms to study new drugs or interactions of normal and diseased cells.

We also engineer nanoparticles that target specific tissues or cell receptors for applications in imaging and drug delivery.

Computational modeling is another major emphasis in our research. We create computational models to predict tissue and organ development and growth and to analyze the functional performance of natural and engineered tissues.

Bioengineering research is highly cross-disciplinary, and most students work collaboratively with faculty in AME, other departments, and in several university centers, such as the center for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, Harper Cancer Research Institute, and the Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics Institute.

Computational Engineering

Computation has developed into the third pillar of science (along with theory and experiment).
The Computational Engineering research group in AME applies computational science to engineering problems to enable more rapid advancement of technology and understanding of systems.

Our research spans multiple domains to apply mathematics, computer science, and statistics to utilize the fastest computers in the world and the next generation of high-performance computing systems.

The Computational Engineering research group also studies how data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence can accelerate engineering science and provide understanding of the uncertainties in a simulation.

Our faculty perform research that impacts materials science, combustion, fluid mechanics, high-energy density physics, and biology. Research into data-driven modeling also opens up natural connections to other fields across the university.

Computation is a broad research field and our faculty are active in many areas from optimization, inverse problems, uncertainty quantification, high-fidelity simulation, reduced-order modeling, and scientific machine learning.

The university provides a range of resources that our computational engineers employ during their research. Two research centers are important resources and areas for the exchange of research across disciplinary boundaries: Center for Research Computing (CRC) and the Center for Informatics and Computational Science (CICS).

• applied mathematics
• numerical methods
• model reduction
• model verification and validation
• uncertainty quantification
• machine learning
• data-driven modeling
• high-performance computing
• integration science
• multiscale and multiphysics modeling
• optimization
• inverse problems

Computational Engineering Faculty
Jonathan MacArt
Karel Matous
Ryan McClarren
Joseph Powers
Jian-xun Wang
Nicholas Zabaras
Matthew J. Zahr

Fluid Mechanics

Fluid Mechanics has been an area of focus at Notre Dame for more than 100 years. Manned gliders were on campus even before the Wright brothers flew for the first time. The College of Engineering’s Institute for Flow Physics and Control (FlowPAC) accelerates the research activities in fluid mechanics at Notre Dame. Faculty conduct research using theoretical, numerical, and experimental methods.

Based in the Hessert Laboratory and Hessert Laboratory at White Field, FlowPAC operates a dedicated HPC cluster to support student research. The experimental facilities include 19 wind tunnels of various sizes and speeds, including subsonic tunnels up to 1m in cross section, transonic tunnels up to 1m in cross section, and large-scale hypersonic facilities. Specialty facilities include an anechoic wind tunnel, an atmospheric boundary layer tunnel, a hypersonic combustion tunnel, and multiple turbo machinery facilities.

Our faculty and students are working on advancing technology and understanding of fluid flows through diagnostics, prediction, and control. Active areas of research currently include: acoustics, aero-optics, chemical flow control, dynamic stall, geophysical flows, high-fidelity simulation methods, hydrothermal stability, hypersonic flow, luminescent imaging, plasma actuators, image-based flow diagnostics, turbomachinery, and turbulence.

Fluid Mechanics Faculty
Gianluca Blois
Joshua Cameron
Kenneth Christensen
Thomas Corke
Stanislav Gordeyev
Aleksandar Jemcov
Thomas Juliano
Eric Jumper
Eric Matlis
Scott Morris
R. Mark Rennie
Hirotaka Sakaue
Flint Thomas
Meng Wang

Materials and Thermal Science and Manufacturing

Materials & Thermal Science and Manufacturing
The technologies needed to address the grand challenges of our day are rooted in discovering and developing new materials and processes. Perhaps nowhere is this more important than the energy sector. Whether it be new devices to convert wasted heat into electricity, new strategies to harness the power of the sun to purify water, new approaches to creating fuels and degrading pollutants, or new technologies that enable fabricating and developing these tools, materials and thermal science and manufacturing play a critical role.

Research in this area spans many fields, from nanoparticle synthesis to 3D printing, and is inherently interdisciplinary, bridging traditional mechanical engineering with applied physics, chemistry, materials science, electrical engineering, and computer science.

Our research is diverse and broad, with faculty working at the smallest of atomic scales to fully-developed functional devices using a wide variety of theoretical, computational, and experimental tools.

We actively utilize a wide variety of the facilities at Notre Dame including the Center for Research Computing (CRC), the Integrated Imaging Facility (NDIIF), Materials Characterization Facility (MCF), and the Nanofabrication Facility (NDNF). Our faculty are also heavily engaged in many research centers across campus, most notably NDnano and ND energy.

• nanoparticle and nanomaterial synthesis
• nanomaterial-integrated device fabrication
• thermal interfaces and energy processes
• thermal energy conversion
• chemical sensing and sensors
• water purification
• nanoscale and multiscale thermal and energy modeling
• laser-material interactions
• plasma chemistry and engineering
• advanced and additive manufacturing of thermal, optical, and functional materials
• manufacturing methods
• mechanical interfaces and tribology

Materials & Thermal Science and Manufacturing Faculty
David Go
Robert Hughes
Edward Kinzel
Eungkyu Lee
Svetlana Neretina
Tengfei Luo
Timothy Ovaert
Steven Schmid
Yanliang Zhang

Robotics and Controls

Increases in computational power, reductions in advanced sensor costs, and improvements in actuator power and efficiency have converged to increase the impact of robotics and autonomous systems in society.

The Robotics and Controls research group leverages these advancements to address pressing challenges in the design and control of robots, the development of new control theory, and the study of whole-body human biomechanics.

Applications span these areas of inquiry, such as developing robotic solutions for restoring human mobility. Our research is inherently interdisciplinary, so it involves extensive collaborations within the group and with other domain experts in engineering, applied math, physical therapy, and psychology.

Leveraging advanced computational capabilities, the Robotics and Controls group studies how applied optimization techniques can enable sophisticatedly dynamic robot behavior on rapid time scales, how design algorithms can lead to unintuitive mechanical systems that push the bounds of performance, how new analytical formulations can create fundamental insight into the dynamics of mechanical systems, and how advanced models and simulations of human motion can explain both healthy and impaired motor control.

Our faculty’s research spans experiment, theory, and computation. Laboratories feature custom-built robots designed in-house and fabrication facilities to support on-going experimentation with them. Motion capture and other sensing systems provide for high-speed data collection.

The Center for Research Computing (CRC) is a critical resource facilitating the computational elements of the research.

• robotics
• applied optimization and control
• nonlinear control
• fractional-order modeling and control
• biomechanics of human locomotion
• robotic locomotion
• rehabilitation robotics
• mechanism design
• computational mechanical design

Robotics and Controls Faculty
J. William Goodwine
Mark Plecnik
James Schmiedeler
Michael Stanisic
Patrick Wensing