History

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Established in 1891, Delaware’s first mechanical engineering degree program sought to prepare students for jobs in steam engineering. More than 100 years later, the Department of Mechanical Engineering offers a wide-ranging curriculum in biomechanics, composite materials, environmental fluid mechanics, clean energy, manufacturing processes, and robotics and controls. Throughout its history, the department has provided a strong technical foundation to prepare students to meet the changing needs of industry. In the 1930s, courses such as surveying, chemistry of combustion and technical motion pictures were dropped to make way for thermodynamics, industrial management and government. By the early 1970s, the department was engaged in a major thermal sciences research project for the U.S. Department of Defense, and had developed an extensive aeronautics program to serve Delaware’s growing aerospace industry. Mechanical Engineering faculty were among the first in the country to teach courses in composite materials, and led the way in creating the University’s Center for Composite Materials in 1974. Today, the department’s research program is recognized nationally and includes many cross-disciplinary efforts, including the Center for Biomechanical Engineering Research. UD Mechanical Engineering research focuses on applications such as space-based robotics, micro-aerial vehicles, active aircraft noise suppression, coating flows, tissue engineering, neural control of human movement, nanocomposites, fuel cells, and intelligent control in composites manufacturing.

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