Laboratories

Research and innovation are integral parts of the Mechanical Engineering department at The University of North Texas, a Carnegie Tier One research institution. The department offers state-of-the-art facilities ranging from a variety of instructional laboratories to research facilities including the Net Zero Energy (ZØE) Research Laboratory. These facilities allow our faculty and students to work side-by-side on industry-sponsored senior capstone design projects or on cutting-edge graduate research.

The department’s research focus include energy and the environment, sustainable products and manufacturing systems, biotechnology, nanotechnology, materials for energy storage, advanced manufacturing, and renewable energy systems. Faculty, post-doctoral researchers and student teams work on exciting inter-disciplinary projects on robotics and controls, manufacturing of composite and engineered materials, characterization of high-performance structural material, air quality modeling and environmental monitoring. They are also developing next-generation sensors for extreme environments, and energy harvesting using phase-change materials. If you are interested in partnering with the ME Department or if you are a prospective graduate student, email us at mechanical@unt.edu or contact the department at 940-565-2400.

Research Labs

  • Air Quality Research Laboratory

    This lab is used in support of field-based environmental monitoring of air pollutants. Measurement of environmental contaminants in the ambient atmosphere and indoors is conducted using state-of-science compliance grade monitors for ozone, fine particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, volatile organics, and toxic compounds. In addition, meteorological parameters are measured using weather stations. Routine testing and calibration of monitors are performed here. The lab is also used for the development and evaluation of low-cost and low-energy portable sensors for measurement of environmental para-meters including concentrations of air pollutants in the ambient atmosphere.

    Lab location: F177
    Faculty/Staff: Kuruvilla John
  • Composites Characterizations Laboratory

    This lab is used for material characterizations including, mechanical properties, thermal, acoustic, electrical, surface properties, specific surface area, and porosity, biodegradability, flammability, and etc. This lab contains a large amount of equipment which is used to determine the properties of the different materials that are brought to our department or made within the department. The lab includes universal testing machine that can determine the mechanical properties, various machines that can determine surface area, there is a composter that is used to determine the gasses produced by a material that is undergoing decomposition which can measure how biodegradable a material is and it is only one of a few in the southern united states.

    Lab location: D126
    Faculty/Staff: Sheldon Shi, Faculty/Staff: Nandika D'Souza
  • Composites Pre-processing Laboratory

    This lab is used for fabrication and study of bio products which can include wood products, bio composites, activated carbon, and any materials made from renewable resources. The lab is used to prep materials and construct composites. Currently in the lab is a concrete tester, a differential scanning caloromiter, a plasma etcher, and some other equipment most of which is used to characterize the material properties of what is made in the lab. Most characterization is specific to properties that are important most bioproducts. A seconday Lab to this space is D140 where this lab is stores the large box furnace, tube furnace, large universal testing machine, and wind tunnel senior design project. The furnaces are used to activate materials into complex carbon structures or modify materials with heat treatments. Much of the research done in D140 is linked to lab D144.

    Lab location: D144
    Faculty/Staff: Sheldon Shi
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

    The computational fluid dynamics lab focuses on the development of numerical methods including turbulent flow modeling using large-eddy simulation and detached eddy simulation methods, two-phase free-surface flow modeling, particulate flow modeling, fluid-structure interactions, higher-order discretization methods such as spectral difference, non-traditional CFD approaches such as Lattice Boltzmann Method, deterministic and stochastic simulation-based design and optimization, uncertainty quantification (UQ), and high-performance computing methodology. The code development and models are for ocean and aerospace engineering applications (ship hydrodynamics, drone aerodynamics, wave/winds, stratified flows, etc.), biomedical applications (heart flow, hemodynamics, etc.), and energy systems (onshore and offshore wind turbines, wave energy converter etc.).

    Research Projects

    1) Study the interaction of a dynamic system and particles using coupled discrete element method and CFD
    2) Novel immersed boundary methods for strong fluid-structure coupling for extremely flexible structures
    3) Development of methodologies to predict extremely rare events
    4) Stable Lattice Boltzmann schemes for stratified flows
    5) Simulation of supported cardiovascular systems to minimize eddies and stasis, and to mitigate thrombotic risks
    6) Modeling acoustics using acoustic perturbation equations

    Lab location: D206B
    Faculty/Staff: Hamid Sadat
  • Digital Manufacturing Laboratory
    • Profilometry for Surface Characterization
    • 3D Printing with UV Projection in Biocompatible Materials
    • Mold and Die Manufacturing with High Speed Machining
    • Computer Aided Engineering and Topology Optimization
    • Nano and Micro Scale Surface Mechanics by Nanoindentation
    • Rapid Fabrication for Biomedical and Aeronautical Applications
    Lab location: F173
    Faculty/Staff: Hector R. Siller
  • Materials Technology Laboratory

    Materials

    • Iron oxides and hydroxides
    • Magnetic materials (magnetite)
    • Cubic boron nitride
    • Diamond coatings
    • Diamond like carbon
    • silicon
    • nanocomposites

    Applications

    • Corrosion resistance coatings
    • Rust transformers formulation
    • Durable flat panel display
    • Micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS)
    • Thermal management in electronic packaging
    • Advanced tooling for materials processing

    Processes

    • Physical vapor deposition (electron beam evaporation)
    • Hot filament chemical vapor deposition
    • Micro and nano surface engineering
    • Materials characterization
    • Failure analysis
    • Electron microscopy
    Faculty/Staff: Seifollah Nasrazadani
  • Nanoscale Energy Transport Laboratory

    Nanoscale Energy Transport  Laboratory provides researchers with top-of-the-line computational software and hardware. The student and faculty researchers are developing improved computational modeling techniques and design tools open to collaborators in both industry and academia. Tools developed here in the laboratory or our various commercial programs (MATLAB, ANSYS, SINDA/Fluint, and more) have resulted in publications in prestigious journals and have been used in classroom teaching. Between Dr. Sadat and Dr. R. Zhang, they share thousands-CPU dedicated cores to ensure express development of simulations. Funding has been supported by Office of Naval Research.

    Zihao Richard Zhang Ph.D.

    Research Interest

    • Understanding nanoscale heat transfer phenomena, by modeling quantum interactions and electrodynamics of atomic-scale energy carriers, such as electrons, phonons, and photons. Outcomes in theoretical methods for optical and infrared properties of ultra-thin films, heat conduction in 2D materials and nanotubes/wires, and thermoelectric/piezoelectric effect for waste heat recovery.

    • Characterization of materials for aerospace systems, including optical reflectors, radiators, thermal switches, interfaces, electronics, etc. Supporting student-led CubeSat design and testing team for NASA space flights.

    Research Projects

    1) Few-parameter computational modeling of electron and phonon interactions driving a non-equilibrium thermoelectric effect in a semiconductor nanowire/2D sheet pulsed by a femtosecond laser (AFOSR)

    2) Far-field and near-field (nanogap) thermal radiative properties of patterned topological insulator semiconductors

    3) CubeSat thermal management using temperature-actuated shape memory alloys (NASA)

     

    Lab location: D206B
    Faculty/Staff: Zihao Richard Zhang
  • Photonics Micro-Devices Fabrication Laboratory
    • Sensor development
    • Instrumentation and flow diagnostics
    • Biomedical micro-devices
    Faculty/Staff: Maurizio Manzo
  • Small Scale Instrumentation Laboratory

    The Laboratory of Small Scale Instrumentation (LSI) has been served for several research projects including thermal characterization of one dimensional, two dimensional and three-dimensional materials. One dimensional materials are carbon nanotubes, boron nitride nanotubes, and silicon carbide nanowires. Their thermal conductivities were characterized by using either 3-omega or thermal conductance method. Recent advances in micropipette-based thermal sensors have been used to measure thermal conductivities of 2D materials such as graphene and carbon nanotube thin film. We are extending this technology to characterize fluid thermal properties and furthermore cellular level thermal conductivities (3D). In the LSI we are also conducting research related with 3D manufacturing as a recently awarded NSF-funded project. In addition, one PhD student is working on simulation of membrane mass transfer that may provide important data to develop a membrane heat pump system.

    Research Projects

    F102B

    1. Thermal properties of a cell as a biomarker to detect early-stage epithelial ovarian cancer (Sponsor NSF-CBET)
    2. Cellular level temperature measurement for photothermal damage mechanism (Sponsor: AFOSR)
    3. Cellular level mechanical characterization due to laser-initiated cavitation bubbles (Sponsor: AFOSR expected)

    F102E

    1. Study of water transport through nanocomposite membranes using an MD simulation tool (Sponsor: KIMM)
    2. Mechanical properties characterization based on phononic crystals (Sponsor: NSF-EFRI)

     

        

    Lab location: F102B & F102E
    Faculty/Staff: Tae-Youl Choi
  • Smart Materials Laboratory

    The Smart Material Lab (SML) in the University of North Texas (UNT) is focused on design, analysis, and experiments for piezoelectric devices used for sensing, energy harvesting, and structure health monitoring applications. This group has conducted research in high-temperature material test methodology, modeling and experiment of novel sensing and energy harvesting mechanism, and structure health monitoring in harsh environments. The technology we have developed addresses critical national needs in the monitoring of power plants, manufacturing process and control, aerospace propulsion systems, oil and gas exploration, and other applications. The group’s research is funded by National Science Foundation (NSF), Army Research Office (ARO), Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Energy (DoE), Peterbuit, US Army Natic Program, USDA and UNT.

    Research Projects

    1) “Self-powered Wireless Through-wall Data Communication for Nuclear Environments,”  US Department of Energy
    2) “Energy harvesting nanorods-enhanced MEMS temperature-insensitive gas sensor for combustion monitoring and control,” National Science Foundation

    SML photo

    Lab location: F179
    Faculty/Staff: Haifeng Zhang
  • Structural Testing Laboratory

    Our research focuses on Thin-Walled, Cold-Formed Steel Structures: Research and Development, Computational Mechanics, Earthquake Engineering, Structural Dynamics and Control,Structural Stability, Building Information Modeling, and Construction Technology.

    Faculty/Staff: Cheng Yu
  • Thermal Laboratory

    Research in the thermal laboratory focuses on projects such as the latent heat thermal energy storage (LHTES) system using phase change materials (PCMs) for large-scale electricity generation in concentrated solar power (CSP) plants. Research is also being done into high-temperature PCMs (melting points above 700 °C) combined with graphite foam to significantly increase the effective thermal conductivity, and therefore, enhance the heat transfer performance in the LHTES system. Researchers are also investigating on dispersing nanoparticles in the PCMs to improve the latent heat of fusion. Another area being researched is the efficient thermal control technologies for the power electronics heat removal in hybrid electric or all-electric vehicles, i.e., use of vapor chamber combined with high thermal conductivity graphite foam to enhance the heat spreading, studying on a novel jet impingement configuration to enhance the heat removal capacity.

    Weihuan Zhao Ph.D.
    Zhao’s research interests focus on thermo-fluids sciences, including computational heat transfer and fluid dynamics, thermal management technologies, thermal energy storage, PCMs, and thermal-fluids experimental design. She is working on innovative solutions for built environment and human comfort using PCMs. She is also working closely with researchers at Argonne National Laboratory on the numerical modeling and analyses of the high-efficiency thermal energy storage for concentrated solar power plants. Zhao is currently the research director of the Zero-Energy (ZØE) Facility at UNT.

    Research Projects

    1) High efficiency latent heat based thermal energy storage system for concentrated solar power plant
    2) Use of PCMs for efficient building temperature control and energy savings
    3) Infiltrated Boron nitride nanotubes by PCM for thermal management
    4) Thermal transport analysis in 3D pillared-graphene structures
    5) Investigation of the Fresnel-lens based solar concentrator system for efficient usage of solar energy

    Lab location: F102C
    Faculty/Staff: Weihuan Zhao
  • Thermal Management Laboratory

    We perform research on two major areas:

    High heat flux thermal management with two-phase cooling techniques

    • Immersion Cooling
    • Spray Cooling
    • Enhenced Surfaces
    • Heat Spreaders

    with applications in computing, power electronics and electro-optics

    Stirling cycle-based energy conversion

    • Innovative Rotary Displacer Stirling Engine

    with applications in distributed power generation and waste heat recovery

    Faculty/Staff: Huseyin Bostanci
  • Zero Energy (ZØE) Research Laboratory

    The Zero Energy (ZØE) Research Laboratory is a unique kind of building in Texas – designed specifically to test and demonstrate various alternative energy generation technologies in order to achieve a net-zero energy consumption of energy. The net-zero energy philosophy is based on a combination of different renewable energy technologies in a building (such as solar, geothermal, and wind systems) which leads to produce enough energy to power a building and in many cases even create excess energy to power a building and in many cases even create excess energy to return back to the power grid and thus the net energy consumption over a period or a year becomes zero. The lab is over 1,200 square feet and has an open flexible work/laboratory space along with an attached work shop area. There is a living quarter with a bathroom and a small kitchen with a refrigerator. Steel columns/beams were used for building as well as structural insulated panels for the walls and roof. It has a centered utility core for easy operation and remodeling. The sustainability features include: bamboo flooring and millwork, local materials, a recycled glass counter top and back splash, a rain-harvesting water system, and renewable solar and wind power for energy.

    Lab location: Discovery Park
    Faculty/Staff: Weihuan Zhao

Teaching Labs

  • Department Teaching Laboratory

    The Lab F158 is an undergraduate teaching lab for MEEN 3240 Lab I and MEEN 3242 Lab II courses. The Lab is equipped with the following apparatus to offer MEE undergraduate students with hands-on experiments covering a broad spectrum of topics of in instrument and measurements, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer.

    Subsonic wind tunnel with completed modules (manometer, pitot tube, pressure cylinder, lift and drag balance, aerofoil, pressure wing, pressure cylinder and boundary layer plates). Computer controlled heat transfer teaching equipment (linear heat conduction, combined convection and radiation, extended surface heat transfer, unsteady state heat transfer, free & forced convection). Viscometer, cup viscometers, air viscosity measurement equipment, thermocouples, thermistor, RTD and data acquisition system.

     

    Lab location: F158
    Faculty/Staff: Xiaohua Li
  • Manufacturing Laboratory

    The Manufacturing Lab is used for the class 3100 Manufacturing Processes as well as the capstone design classes. Students will study the manufacturing processes and their capabilities, analysis and economics. Study of the fundamentals of engineering processes in manufacturing as related to design and production and materials properties. Traditional and non-traditional manufacturing process and selection optimization. Students are given laboratory assignments in material removal, forming, casting, joining, forging and computer-aided machining.

     

     

    Lab location: F157
    Faculty/Staff: Mark Wasikowski
  • Senior Design Laboratory

    Senior Design is the capstone undergraduate design project of the Department of Mechanical and Energy Engineering. Seniors are able to apply their knowledge and showcase their abilities through the completion of challenging, real-world design problems. Students will research and select an issue, then design a project with the guidance of advisors and sponsors. In Design II, student ideas are brought to life by prototype construction, testing and final analysis. Senior Design culminates with Design Day, a college-wide event where teams from each engineering department present projects to engineering faculty members and industry leaders.

     

     

    Lab location: F102D
    Faculty/Staff: Mark Wasikowski