Research Opportunities


Scroll down for the current research opportunities for undergraduate students.


Research Experience for Undergraduates

Some faculty members may hire undergraduate students to assist them on their research projects. Take some time to explore the faculty web pages to learn about department research activities, and contact faculty members in your area of interest to ask if a position is available.

Honors Research Program

Students in the University Honors Program may choose to enroll in a Mechanical Engineering Honors Research course, ME 3299, and work in a research laboratory to earn credits. These credits may be applied toward the Honors Program requirements and will count as a technical elective. As part of the course, the students will be involved in research programs of their choice in areas of emerging technologies. The research work will be directed by a Mechanical Engineering faculty member who serves as the research advisor for the course. The work typically involves collaborative efforts with graduate students and other researchers and provides significant independent problem-solving experience to supplement the classroom experience obtained from traditional coursework. Explore the website to learn about research labs and contact faculty members in areas of interest to ask about completing an Honors Research course in their lab.

It is expected that the students will enroll in the ME Honors Research courses during their Junior and Senior years, working on a focused research project, ideally for multiple semesters. There is also the possibility of continuing work during the summer months as an undergraduate research assistant. The research work is expected to culminate in a technical publication in a recognized scientific or engineering journal or conference proceeding. This research publication can form the basis for the Honors Thesis.

Current Opportunities Actively Seeking Undergraduate Student Researchers (Spring 2023)

Prof. George Lykotrafitis – the details of this project can be found here

  • Summer project on machine learning-based design of auxetic materials for underwater drones.
  • The ideal candidate must have strong programing background in Python. They must also be an American citizen or a permanent resident.
  • If interested email Prof. Lykotrafitis

Prof. Ugur Pasaogullari – the details of this project can be found here

  • This project involves testing proton exchange and liquid alkaline electrolyzer for green hydrogen production. 
  • The student is expected to work in the lab, building and testing electrolyzer cells with support from graduate students and faculty.
  • If interested email Prof. Pasaogullari

Prof. Osama Bilal – the details of this project can be found here

  • Using additive manufacturing and hands-on testing to create novel materials for controlling vibrations and sound waves.
  • Highly motivated undergraduate students with aptitude to hands-on testing and experimentation
  • If interested email Prof. Bilal

Prof. Rajiv Naik – the details of this project can be found here

  • Characterization and modeling of the processing of composite materials – This work is related to the manufacturing of polymer matrix composite materials. It will involve the characterization of the polymer resin cure kinetics of the resin matrix in the composite. Based on this characterization, we will need to develop a cure kinetics model that can be coupled with a finite element analysis to simulate (and optimize) the processing of the composite material. We will also need to build a few laminated composite panels with different thicknesses and special features to verify that the simulations based on the cure kinetics model are accurate. Developing such an experimentally validated simulation capability could significantly reduce the cost and schedule of the highly empirical trial-and-error approach that is currently used in industry for the manufacture of composite materials and structures.
  • Junior/Senior level, Some knowledge of composite materials and willingness to work in the lab to characterize the polymer cure kinetics. Interest in finite element modeling.
  • If interested email Prof. Naik

Prof. George Lykotrafitis –

  • Lykotrafitis’s lab has an opening for a summer project involving design and construction of a small underwater drone and a floating charging station. This is a paid position for the right candidate. The project could be expanded to become an accelerated MS project. In particular, the project involves:
    -Design, prototype and conduct testing on a three-thruster underwater drone configurations
    -Investigate & tune propulsion PID coefficients for optimal underwater motion
    -Implement control interfaces in Python
  • The ideal candidate must pursue a double major in Mechanical Engineering and in Computer Science. They must also be an American citizen or a permanent resident. They must be be familiar with: Python, programmable microcontrollers (Arduino, etc.), DIY electronics/robotics, CAD
  • If interested email Prof. Lykotrafitis

Prof. Alexei Poludnenko – the details of this project can be found here

  • Computational combustion modeling for aerospace propulsion
  • Fluids I and II, Aerodynamics class
  • Knowledge of programming (C/C++/Fortran/Python/MPI)
  • If interested email Prof. Poludnenko

Prof. Baki Cetegen – the details of each project can be found here

  • Gas turbine combustor heat transfer
  • This announcement is for an Accelerated MS student position that is fully funded
  • If interested email Prof. Cetegen

Prof. Julian Norato – the details of this project can be found here

  • Undergraduate Research Opportunity in Computational Topology Optimization
  • Junior / programming experience

Prof. Hongyi Xu – the details of this project can be found here

  • Numerical modeling of Fluid-Structure Interaction system and Machine Learning
  • Work with Prof. Xu for a senior design project and then continue this research for the MS study within his group

Prof. Wilson Chiu – the details of each project can be found here

  • Two Opportunities: Next Generation Nuclear Reactors; Li-ion Batteries
  • Junior level

Prof. Alexei Poludnenko – the details of this project can be found here

  • Aerospace propulsion and combustion, high-performance computing
  • Fluids I and II, Aerodynamics class
  • Experience with C/C++/Fortran/Python
  • If interested email Prof. Poludnenko 

Prof. Chao Hu – the details of this project can be found here

  • Dr. Hu is trying to answer the following questions:
  • (1) “how fast can we detect and quantify an event?” with applications to blast detection and other fun systems like hypersonic vehicles and
  • (2) “how early can we predict battery end-of-life with confidence?” with applications to electric vehicles (EVs) and grid storage.
  • You will learn how to integrate ML with sensor measurements through these projects. Wait, hypersonic vehicles? EVs? ML? What do we know about this? A lot! Chao can convince you that you know enough about it to do the research with a Mechanical Engineering background! Graduate research is easier than you might think, especially if you are self-driven and intellectually curious.
  • On the technical side, you need to be strong in mathematics and statistics and willing to learn to program in MATLAB/Python.
  • If interested email Prof. Hu