Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Virginia has increased research citations and funding for tenured/tenure-track (T3) professors.  MAE annual research expenditures are now increased to $547K per T3 faculty and the average H-index at 25.   In addition, Science Citation Papers Index reached a new high of 6.5 and GRE Quantitative scores averaged 164.  These numbers compare favorably with top institutions such as Georgia Tech, MIT, Penn State, Princeton, Stanford and Virginia Tech. See more faculty metrics at our “Research Excellence: By the Numbers” page.  In addition, one-third of MAE faculty have already achieved the high rank in their professional societies as fellows (AIAA,  ASME, ASEE, Inst. of Physics, and SAE).

The MAE program’s aerospace engineering research strengths include the Applied Research Laboratory, the Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Center for Advanced Propulsion, and projects in combustion and wind energy. Key research strengths for the Mechanical program include the Center for Applied Biomechanics (world leaders in auto safety engineering with $10 million in annual research), the Center for Rotating Machinery (more than 40 member companies), a new $7.8 million MURI in bio-propulsion, and award-winning nano-scale research (including a Presidential Award to Patrick Hopkins given at a White House ceremony).

Aerogel Research Lab

Aerogel Research Laboratory

The Aerogel Research Lab is active in aerogel production and material modification techniques, as well as flow characterization studies, acoustic studies, and the development of thin film coatings for electrical, acoustical, and thermal isolation in sensors.

Lab director: Pamela M. Norris
Executive Associate Dean for Research, School of Engineering and Applied Science
Frederick Tracy Morse Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace Research Laboratory

Founded in 1986, the Aerospace Research Laboratory spans a wide range of basic and applied research efforts in advanced aerospace technologies. Its experience derives from 30 years of projects including the National Aero-Space Plane (NASP) and the National Center for Hypersonic Combined Cycle Propulsion (NCHCCP). Ongoing work includes high-speed mixing and combustion, aerobreakup of liquids, and hypersonic rarefied gas jet interactions.

Bart Smith Labs

Bio-Inspired Engineering Research (BIER) Laboratory

Current research teams are engaged in a broad array of issues related to reverse engineering of biological systems, including central pattern generator control, active tensegrity structures with integrated actuation, electro-active polymers (artificial skin/muscle), and hydrodynamics.

Lab director: Hilary Bart-Smith

Center for Applied Biomechanics

Center for Applied Biomechanics

As the largest university-based injury biomechanics laboratory in the world, the center specializes in impact biomechanics for injury prevention. It’s where crash survival becomes a science.

Lab director: Jeff R. Crandall
Nancy and Neal Wade Professor of Engineering and Applied Science


Combustion LabCombustion Energy Laboratory

The Combustion Energy Lab lab is focused on developing highly optimized combined heat and power systems using a range of renewable biofuels.

Lab director: Harsha K. Chelliah



Experiments and Simulations in Thermal Engineering (ExSiTE)

The research for the ExSiTE group focus on energy transport, charge flow, and photonic interactions with condensed matter, soft materials, liquids, vapors and their interfaces.

Lab director: Patrick E. Hopkins
Associate Professor

Fluid Research & Innovation LaboratoryFluids Research & Innovation Laboratory (FRIL)

The Fluids Research and Innovation Lab projects focus on unsteady fluid dynamics including micro- and nano-texturing coatings for self-cleaning, fluid dynamics and heat transfer of energy-storage systems, inlet aerodynamics of supersonic aircraft and inlet particle separators of helicopters, and bio-inspired morphing wind turbines to reduce off-shore cost of energy.

Lab director: Eric Loth
MAE Department Chair and Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor

Flow Simulations Research Group (FSRG)Flow Simulations Research Group

The Flow Simulation Research Group focuses on understanding the physics of complex flows of flying and swimming in nature by combining state-of-the-art computational methods, experimental tools, and theoretical fluid dynamics research. Research is driven by the quests to answer questions both from fundamental fluid dynamics problems and from practical applications.

Lab director: Haibo Dong
Associate Professor

Nanoscale Heat LaboratoryNanoscale Heat Transfer Laboratory

The Microscale Heat Transfer Laboratory houses a state-of-the-art laboratory facility for optical techniques in microscale heat transfer. The lab performs experimental, computational, and theoretical investigations of thin-film thermophysical properties and interfacial thermal transport. Dr. Norris’ current research interests include thermal management, optical measurement techniques, microscale heat transfer, thin-film thermophysical properties, integration of sol-gel materials into microanalytical devices and sensors, and advancement of aerogel technology.

Lab director: Pamela M. Norris
Executive Associate Dean for Research, School of Engineering and Applied Science
Frederick Tracy Morse Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Capillary Micro Mechatronics Research GroupCapillary Micro Mechatronics Research Group (CMMRG)

Research efforts are underway to better understand the electrowetting of conductive liquids on insulated electrodes and to optimize materials and geometry to enhance electrowetting performance. In addition, we are investigating how capillary forces might be harnessed to provide powerful actuators for micro electromechanical systems (MEMS).

Lab director: Carl R. Knospe
Associate Professor

mechatronics-lab-leftMechatronics Lab

Mechatronics involves the synergistic integration of Mechanical Engineering with electronics and intelligent computer control in the design and manufacture of industrial products and processes.

Lab director: Gavin Garner
Research Associate Professor

Multiscale Muscle Mechanics LabMultiscale Muscle Mechanics (M3) Laboratory

The goal of the M3 Lab’s research is to identify the principles of muscle design by characterizing the relationships between muscle structure, mechanical properties, biology, and function. We are integrating a variety of computational and experimental approaches to achieve this goal, and we are applying our findings to understanding and improving treatments for musculoskeletal impairments.

Lab director: Silvia S. Blemker
Courtesy Appointment, Associate Professor Department of Biomedical Engineering


IMG_0194Rapid Prototyping Lab

The RPL is a state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing facility that provides Design, 3D Printing, Laser Cutting, and CNC machining services to our students, faculty, staff, and external clients.  We welcome sponsored research projects and grant collaborations.


ROMACRotating Machinery and Controls Laboratories (ROMAC)

The interaction between industry and university professionals through the medium of ROMAC benefits both parties. It provides university researchers with an understanding of practical industrial problems with rotating machinery, while simultaneously allowing industrial participants to obtain very timely research results.

Lab director: Houston Wood

UVA Thermal Management Diagnostics GroupUVA Thermal Management Diagnostics Group

This group integrates first-principle modeling, simulations, computations, and experimentation in a unique way in order to advance the field of thermal management. The team includes material scientists, physicists, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and computer scientists diverse in composition, but united in vision.



Xu Research GroupXu Research Group

The Xu Research Group projects focus multiscale mechanics for functional material and device design in particular, nanoporous materials, nanopore-functional liquid composite materials, bioinspired and biointegrated electronics and devices, soft-hard integration and adaptive soft materials. This work can be applied to energy, environment, manufacturing and healthcare systems.

Lab director: Baoxing Xu
Assistant Professor