UW Today

Department of Mechanical Engineering


May 31, 2016

Tiny probe could produce big improvements in batteries and fuel cells

image of nanoscale details seen by probe

A team led by University of Washington engineers has developed a new tool that could aid in the quest for better batteries and fuel cells. Although battery technology has come a long way since Alessandro Volta first stacked metal discs in a “voltaic pile” to generate electricity, major improvements are still needed to meet the…


May 19, 2016

Using static electricity, insect-sized flying robots can land and stick to surfaces

Image of flying insect robot

A new study co-authored by a University of Washington mechanical engineer demonstrates how flying insect-sized robots can land and stick to surfaces, which conserves energy and extends flight times.


May 17, 2016

UW team first to measure microscale granular crystal dynamics

Photo of slide showing granular crystals

UW mechanical engineers have for the first time analyzed interactions between microscale granular crystals — a first step in creating novel materials that could be used for impact mitigation, signal processing, disease diagnosis, or even making more controllable solid rocket propellants.


May 11, 2016

UW researchers secure prestigious MURI grants for self-cooling lasers and fluid mechanics

campus-TILE

University of Washington professors Peter Pauzauskie and Alberto Aliseda are part of two U.S. Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grants to develop innovative approaches to cutting-edge fields of engineering.


April 27, 2016

‘Walk-DMC’ aims to improve surgery outcomes for children with cerebral palsy

Walk-DMC is a new, quantifiable measure of motor control in children with cerebral palsy. It relies on data from electromyography (EMG) shown in this demonstration, which uses electrodes to monitor muscle activity.

A UW mechanical engineer has developed a new assessment of motor control in children with cerebral palsy called Walk-DMC, which could help predict which patients are — or are not — likely to benefit from invasive surgical interventions.


April 5, 2016

UW joins public-private partnership for flexible electronics

An example of flexible hybrid electronics.

The University of Washington has joined NextFlex, a consortium of 30 academic institutions and industrial partners to develop the next generation of flexible electronic devices. As a founding member of this alliance, the UW will seek local and regional partners in the electronics and manufacturing industries to develop and produce flexible electronics for applications from…


February 24, 2016

Clean, efficient cookstoves from UW-industry partnership to be manufactured in Kenya

Photo of woman testing stove in Kenya

A more efficient and clean wood-burning cookstove — developed by Vashon Island’s BURN Design Lab and UW mechanical engineers — will reduce the amount of fuel families need to collect or buy by 55 percent. It will also reduce exposure to the harmful particulate pollution produced by traditional cooking flames.


January 25, 2016

New handheld, pen-sized microscope could ID cancer cells in doctor’s offices and operating rooms

Microscope photo

UW mechanical engineers are developing a handheld microscope to help doctors and dentists distinguish between healthy and cancerous cells in an office setting or operating room.


February 5, 2015

New tool monitors effects of tidal, wave energy on marine habitat

From left to right: UW researchers Ben Rush, Nick Michel-Hart, James Joslin and Paul Gibbs prepare to test the monitoring device underwater in a tank on campus.

A robot developed at the University of Washington will deploy instruments to gather information in unprecedented detail about how marine life interacts with underwater equipment used to harvest wave and tidal energy.


January 19, 2015

Boeing, UW open research lab on Seattle campus

Gov. Jay Inslee learns about riveting from Boeing engineer Riley Hanson Smith, left, and Sai Krovvidi, a UW doctoral student in mechanical engineering, at the opening of the Boeing Advanced Research Center on campus.

The Boeing Advanced Research Center, located in the Department of Mechanical Engineering on the UW campus, will let students and faculty members work collaboratively with Boeing engineers on aircraft and spacecraft assembly and manufacturing. Four initial projects are underway at the UW, led by Boeing-employed affiliate instructors and UW engineering professors.


November 20, 2014

UW undergrad’s early life challenges become a hectic schedule of opportunity

David Coven in the lab.

From starting his own company – and recruiting 11 friends to join him – and running a successful nonprofit to doing research in the lab and taking a full course load, engineering undergraduate student David Coven is an expert schedule juggler.


October 24, 2014

U.S. Navy awards $8 million to develop wave, tidal energy technology

students on boat

The UW has an $8 million, four-year contract to develop technologies that can harness waves, tides and currents to power naval facilities worldwide.


September 30, 2014

UW students to build hybrid-electric muscle car in EcoCAR 3 contest

A Chevy Camaro

The UW is one of 16 schools invited to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors Co. EcoCAR 3 competition that spans four years with stand-alone contests each spring. Their challenge in this next competition is to convert a Chevrolet Camaro into a hybrid-electric car.


September 22, 2014

New degree programs aplenty starting with school year

The University of Washington is offering a number of new degree programs with the start of fall quarter 2014.

Through new degree programs starting this fall, students will learn architecture from a liberal arts perspective, complete social sciences degrees online, become expert in the teaching of science, and much more.


June 23, 2014

Ferroelectric switching seen in biological tissues

An illustration of the molecular structure of tropoelastin, the smallest unit of the protein elastin.

University of Washington researchers have shown that a favorable electrical property is present in a type of protein found in organs that repeatedly stretch and retract, such as the lungs, heart and arteries. These findings are the first that clearly track this phenomenon, called ferroelectricity, occurring at the molecular level in biological tissues.


June 20, 2014

UW students’ electric-hybrid car takes 2nd in international competition

Members of the UW team test their car during the competition.

The University of Washington’s Advanced Vehicle Works team won second place in the international EcoCAR 2 competition this month for turning a Chevrolet Malibu into a highly efficient hybrid vehicle running on electric grid energy and biodiesel.


April 15, 2014

UW graduate’s lens turns any smartphone into a portable microscope

Photo of the micro phone lens on a smartphone.

The Micro Phone Lens, developed by UW mechanical engineering alumnus Thomas Larson (’13), can turn any smartphone or tablet computer into a handheld microscope.


February 6, 2014

UW’s James Riley elected to National Academy of Engineering

A large 'W' is at the north entrance to the UW campus.

James Riley, a University of Washington professor of mechanical engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Election to the academy is among the highest professional distinctions accorded an engineer.


Credit card-sized device could analyze biopsy, help diagnose pancreatic cancer in minutes

the device is shown up close.

University of Washington scientists and engineers are developing a low-cost device that could help pathologists diagnose pancreatic cancer earlier and faster. The prototype can perform the basic steps for processing a biopsy, relying on fluid transport instead of human hands to process the tissue.


September 11, 2013

UW engineers to make cookstoves 10 times cleaner for developing world

An example of one of the more efficient cookstoves used in developing countries.

University of Washington engineers have received a $900,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to design a better cookstove, which researchers say will use half as much fuel and cut emissions by 90 percent.


June 27, 2013

UW gas-, electric-powered cars claim 1st and 2nd in national contest

Racecar competing in Lincoln, Neb.

The University of Washington Formula Motorsports team took first place at the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers competition held June 19-22 in Lincoln, Neb.


May 6, 2013

New device can extract human DNA with full genetic data in minutes

close-up view of the device.

A new device will give hospitals and research labs a much easier way to separate DNA from human fluid samples to help with genome sequencing, disease diagnosis and forensic investigations.


April 15, 2013

High glucose levels could impair ferroelectricity in body’s connective tissues

Figure shows how glucose can suppress ferroelectric switching

Researchers found that a protein in organs that repeatedly stretch and retract can lose their functionality when exposed to sugar.


April 12, 2013

New device could cut costs on household products, pharmaceuticals

Surfactant gel structure forms after passing through device.

A new procedure that thickens and thins fluid at the micron level could save consumers and manufacturers money, particularly for some soap products.


January 24, 2013

Organic ferroelectric molecule shows promise for memory chips, sensors

Image of electric response

A paper in Science describes an organic crystal that shows promise as a cheap, flexible, nontoxic material for the working parts of memory chips, sensors and energy-harvesting devices.