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Mechanics at UW-Madison

Engineering mechanics has impacted our society for centuries and continues to be essential today. Much of the research in mechanical, civil and aerospace engineering is focused on advancing the science of mechanics—and mechanics is also important to research in biomedical engineering and materials science. For example, in the last several decades mechanics has been used to enable the development of military and commercial jet aircraft, improve automotive safety and engine efficiency, create earthquake-resistant structures, improve energy availability by improving the use of conventional resources and creating alternative renewable resources, reshape manufacturing with robotics and 3-D printing, revolutionize healthcare with biomedical devices and biomechanics, and to explore the potential of new materials.

In the scientific community, mechanics related research is usually classified into one of three subfields:

  • Solid mechanics and materials
  • Fluid mechanics/dynamics
  • Structural & multi-body dynamics

In each of these subfields, the College of Engineering at UW-Madison has a balance between experimental, computational, and theoretical mechanics.

The application areas in which these fields are applied are often more visible than the fields themselves. For example, the strengths within the College of Engineering at UW-Madison in which mechanics is foundational include:

  • Additive manufacturing
  • Biomechanics
  • Dynamics and control of complex and multi-scale systems
  • Mechanics within energy production, storage and use
  • Response of civil infrastructure to manmade and natural hazards