Research Groups

We are seeking to gain a deeper understanding of the world around us, and also to apply that understanding to improving and advancing our world. Current research activities in the Department of Mechanical Engineering include topics related to fluid mechanics, heat transfer, solid mechanics, dynamics and vibrations, control systems, robotics, and thermodynamics.

Thermal Science and Engineering Teaching and Research

Director: Yildiz Bayazitoglu

Thermal Science and Engineering Teaching and Research is concentrated on computational and experimental techniques for heat transfer at nano/micro/macro scales and the understanding of combined-mode heat transfer physics.


Tribomechadynamics Lab

Director: Matthew Brake

The central question of the Tribomechadynamics Lab’s research is how can we design and predict the response of an assembled structure that contains strong nonlinearities. This research is strongly motivated by the aerospace, defense, and automotive industries.


Additive Manufacturing, Performance & Tribology Center

Directors: Matthew Brake, C. Fred Higgs III

The Additive Manufacturing, Performance & Tribology (AMPT) Center at Rice University is an industry-focused, multidisciplinary research unit that leverages the deep expertise of Rice engineering faculty to solve the fundamental problems facing Industry 4.0. This designation refers to the companies driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in which technologies spanning the physical, digital, and biological worlds are changing how people work and live, and how products are produced and consumed.


Rice Computational Neuromechanics Lab

Director: B.J. Fregly

The vision of the Rice Computational Neuromechanics Lab is to make model-based personalized treatment design for neurologic and orthopedic movement impairments a clinical reality.


Robotics and Intelligent Systems Lab

Director: Fathi H. Ghorbel

The Robotics and Intelligent Systems Lab focuses on dynamic systems and control, robotics, and biomedical engineering systems.


Environmental Fluid Dynamics Group

Director: Pedram Hassanzadeh

Environmental Fluid Dynamics Group studies fluid dynamics and heat transfer in complex natural phenomena and engineering systems using numerical, mathematical and statistical models, guided by observational and experimental data. Our work is often motivated by theoretical and applied problems related to energy and the environment.


Particle Flow & Tribology Lab

Director: C.Fred Higgs III

The Particle Flow & Tribology Lab (PFTL) researches new methodologies to predicting the behavior of granular, powder, and slurry flows in sliding contacts. Our research is conducted through the synergistic use of experiments, physics-based modeling, and computational simulations.


Lillehoj Research Group

Director: Peter B. Lillehoj

The Lillehoj Research Group aims to develop innovative microtechhnologies for broad applications in medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring and global health. Our research is highly interdisciplinary and combines multiple specialties, including micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS), microfluidics, biosensors, nanotechnology, analytical chemistry, and microelectronics.


Mechatronics and Haptic Interfaces Lab

Director: Marcia O'Malley

In addition to traditional dynamic systems, controls, and mechatronics research, the Mechatronics and Haptic Interfaces Lab focuses on mechanisms to enhance human performance through physical human-robot interactions, such as for robotic rehabilitation and prosthetics.


Preston Innovation Laboratory

Director: Daniel J. Preston

The Preston Innovation Laboratory conducts interdisciplinary research at the intersection of energy, materials, and fluids. Please check our website to browse current research directions, recent publications, and open positions.


Energy Systems Lab

Director: Laura Schaefer

The focus of the Energy Systems Lab is the analysis, design and optimization of multi-scale energy systems. This research relies on a solid basis of thermofluids modeling, augmented by a small experimental verification program.


Team for Advanced Flow Simulation and Modeling

Director: Tayfun E. Tezduyar

The Team for Advanced Flow Simulation and Modeling focuses on computational analysis in fluid mechanics, fluid-structure interaction, biomechanics, aerospace engineering, and thermo-fluids. Applications include spacecraft parachutes, cardiovascular fluid mechanics, heart valve flow analysis, bioinspired flapping-wing aerodynamics, wind turbines, ground vehicles, tires, disk brakes, turbochargers, and ram-air parachutes.


Nanoscale Heat Transfer Lab

Director: Geoff Wehmeyer

The goal of Nanoscale Heat Transfer Lab's research is to understand the mechanisms of heat transfer, particularly at the nanoscale, and to use this information to design improved thermal systems and energy conversion devices. This experimental and theoretical thermal research is motivated by society’s demand for renewable and sustainable energy sources, energy-efficient information and lighting technologies, and improved thermal management of electronics and batteries.