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Mechanical & Materials Engineering

News & Kudos

Farritor and team's surgical robotics get reduced gravity testing

Surgical robot advances to reduced gravity testing; Farritor earns NU IDEA honor with Oleynikov

Spring 2014 - Lincoln, NE

MME Professor Shane Farritor worked with UNMC surgeon Dmitry Oleynikov in developing miniature robotics to conduct emergency surgery on astronauts during extended space travel. The device will undergo reduced gravity testing according to reports from NASA 's Human Research Program Investigators' Workshop. MORE

SEE ALSO: Farritor and Oleynikov earn Innovation Development and Engagement Award (IDEA) from the University of Nebraska

Dana Valish tries a space suit in his work with NASA

NASA space suit redesign team includes UNL MME alumnus

Spring 2014 - Lincoln, NE

Dana Valish, who earned business and engineering degrees from UNL, is part of the EC5 Space Suit and Crew Survival Systems group, a Johnson Space Center team developing the Z-2, NASA's newest prototype spacesuit. MORE

Forbes 30 Under 30: Lee Redden '09 MECH

Terry co-develops "third lung" with oxygen delivery via microbubbles

Winter 2014 - Lincoln, NE

The Jan. 15 edition of Biomaterials reports research by UNL’s Ben Terry, assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering, and Mark Borden, CU associate professor of mechanical engineering, on microbubbles that deliver oxygen and remove carbon dioxide through the body's peritoneal cavity. MORE

Forbes 30 Under 30: Lee Redden '09 MECH

Alumnus on Forbes “30 under 30” list

Winter 2014 - Lincoln, NE

Lee Redden ’09 MECH co- founded Blue River Technology, developing a robotic gardener for large-scale agriculture—to overcome labor shortages. Tested successfully in California’s Central Valley, the “LettuceBot” (nicknamed Caesar) is a precision thinning device that recognizes specific plants to improve crop yields. His work is gaining attention—most recently from Forbes “30 under 30” list. MORE

Jinsong Huang

Huang research with Stanford advances organic semiconductors

Winter 2014 - Lincoln, NE

Research by UNL MME's Jinsong Huang and Stanford engineering faculty significantly improved organic thin film transistors (OTFT) for electronics. In the Jan. 8 edition of Nature Communications, the team's "off-center spin coating method" enhanced charge effectiveness and device transparency for exciting new applications such as large-scale, flexible screens and more. MORE ...

UNL MME Associate Professor Li Tan's research published in Advanced Materials

Tan's research published in Advanced Materials

Autumn 2013 - Lincoln, NE

Research by UNL MME Asssociate Professor Li Tan and a team of international scientists was featured in the Nov. 13 edition of the journal Advanced Materials. Tan focused on metal–organic frameworks (MOFs), such as copper-based Cu (MOF)s, and applied lower temperatures to let the crystalline solids overcome their instability. Specifically, temperature altering of the materials’ lattice structures yields more organized pores to trap small molecules of gases for energy storage or drug delivery. Tan found even at low temperature of -56 degrees Celsius these hard solids can still be patched at their defects, and the mended crystal structures then show significant improvement in strength and resilience. The reformed structures allow for dense packing that aids the toughness of the solid, facilitating multiple cycles of loading and unloading as carrier structures.

Huang's solar cell engineering research enlightens Sunday Wtih A Scientist at UNL

Huang's solar cell research enlightens Sunday Wtih A Scientist

Autumn 2013 - Lincoln, NE

The Sunday with a Scientist program at the University of Nebraska State Museum of Natural History featured the research of Jinsong Huang, assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering, Nov. 18 at Morrill Hall. Huang's presentation included hands-on activities related to cutting-edge solar technology that could someday cover clothing or backpacks to power electronic devices. Visitors explored flexible solar panels and learned how a flexible solar cell is made. Huang displayed a solar cell that can be wrapped around a human hair, plus solar cells' use in charging a cell phone, laptop and toys. 

MME Assoc. Prof. Florin Bobaru named to the MURI Center for Material Failure Prediction through Peridynamics via AFOSR

Bobaru named to MURI team via AFOSR

Summer 2013 - Lincoln, NE

Associate Professor Florin Bobaru has been named to a group funded via the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Bobaru’s team, led by Dr. Erdogan Madenci, is the "MURI Center for Material Failure Prediction through Peridynamics” and includes participants from the University of Arizona, UNL, Pennsylvania State University, Arizona State University and the University of Texas at San Antonio. The highly competitive MURI program pursues carefully chosen topics identified for potential significant and sustained progress via collaborative research.

Joe Turner

With research award, MME's Turner embarks on international collaboration

May 2013 - Lincoln, NE
Joe Turner, Robert W. Brightfelt Professor with UNL Mechanical & Materials Engineering, will receive a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany. Up to 25 of these awards annually promote international scientific cooperation. Turner’s award, including 45,000 Euros (approx. $60,000), helps him conduct materials characterization research with his nominator, Prof. Konrad Samwer, at the University of Goettingen and with other German labs. MORE...

Research by team including MME Assistant Professor Jinsong Huang is cover feature of April 2013 journal: Advanced Optical Materials

Huang team research is Advanced Optical Materials' cover story

December 2012 - Lincoln, NE

Research on "Photodetectors: Fullerene Photodetectors with a Linear Dynamic Range of 90 dB Enabled by a Cross-Linkable Buffer Layer" is the cover feature for Advanced Optical Materials' April 2013 edition. UNL MME Assistant Professor Jinsong Huang and colleagues report a low-noise, high-sensitivity, fullerene-based organic photo detector with a wide dynamic range. The enhanced dynamic range is achieved via an inserted cross-linkable buffer layer. The advance in light responsiveness is among the highest reported for any organic photodetector, and larger than those of inorganic photodetectors such as GaN and InGaAs.

UNL's rover design for RASC-AL Robo-Ops competition

Rehab device, co-developed by Nelson, wins daVinci award

April 2013 - Dearborn, MI

Carl Nelson, associate professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, collaborated for three years with researchers at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln to develop the Intelligently Controlled Assistive Rehabilitation Elliptical Training System, or ICARE. It won the da Vinci award in the Recreation and Leisure category at an April 11 ceremony in Dearborn, Mich.

Yuris Dzenis

Dzenis and team create high-quality, low-cost nanofibers

December 2012 - Lincoln, NE

Carbon nanotubes, the super-strong building blocks of nanotechnology, hold the promise of reinforcing everything from golf clubs to airplane parts, but they're difficult and expensive to process into something useful. University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineers led by Yuris Dzenis, McBroom Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, have demonstrated a promising new way to exploit their unusual structure and properties more easily and less expensively. MORE....

Research by UNL MME's Huang in Advanced Materials journal

Huang research highlighted in Advanced Materials

December 2012 - Lincoln, NE

Work by UNL MME Assistant Professor Jinsong Huang and team on organic photovoltaics explores fullerene-based Schottky-junction devices that can output a much larger open-circuit voltage (~0.95 V) than most bulk heterojunction (BHJ) organic photovoltaic devices. The efficiencies of the fullerene based Schottky-junction devices are shown to be larger than those of the state-of-the-art BHJ devices under certain conditions. MORE...

Wortman gains prestigious UNL graduate award

Wortman gains prestigious UNL graduate award

February 2013 - Lincoln, NE

Tyler Wortman, who studied with MME Prof. Shane Farritor and the UNL Robotics Lab, received the Lowe R. & Mavis M. Folsom Distinguished Master's Thesis Award from UNL's Office of Graduate Studies for his work, “Design, Analysis and Testing of In Vivo Surgical Robots." MORE...

UNL team designs robotic rover for NASA competition

UNL team designs robotic rover for RASC-AL Robo-Ops competition: June at NASA

March 2013 - Lincoln, NE

Nebraska Engineering was one of eight teams chosen to compete in the 2013 RASC-AL Exploration Robo-Ops Competition, sponsored by NASA and organized by the National Institute of Aerospace. The selected teams of undergraduate and graduate students build a planetary rover prototype to perform tasks in “the Rock Yard” at NASA’s Johnson Space Center this June. The UNL Mechanical & Materials Engineering student team is advised by Professor Shane Farritor and works in an MME robotics lab. MORE...

Research by UNL MME's Huang in Advanced Materials journal

Huang research highlighted in Advanced Materials

December 2012 - Lincoln, NE

Work by UNL MME Assistant Professor Jinsong Huang and team on organic photovoltaics explores fullerene-based Schottky-junction devices that can output a much larger open-circuit voltage (~0.95 V) than most bulk heterojunction (BHJ) organic photovoltaic devices. The efficiencies of the fullerene based Schottky-junction devices are shown to be larger than those of the state-of-the-art BHJ devices under certain conditions. MORE...


MME grad student Frederick wins $1,000 Quick Pitch prize

December 2012 - Lincoln, NE

Tom Frederick of Omaha was chosen as a top Four-Year College Student in the 3-2-1 Quick Pitch Competition 2012. The contest, organized by the UNL College of Business Administration Center for Entrepreneurship, was November 29 at UNL Memorial Stadium’s skyboxes. MORE...

UNL MME Assistant Professor Jinsong Huang

NSF CAREER Award helps Huang improve organic polymers as semiconductors in solar cells

December 2012 - Lincoln, NE

Today's silicon-based solar cells are efficient, but expensive to produce and limited in their applications. Jinsong Huang, assistant professor of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, works to improve organic polymers' efficiency as a semiconductor. Though less expensive, the challenge with polymer solar cells is to make them as efficient as silicon solar cells.

Karen Stelling

MME welcomes Stelling for UNL Master's Week

November 2012 - Lincoln, NE

Karen Stelling added her perspective as a special guest of the UNL College of Engineering during 2012 UNL Master's Week. She majored in mechanical engineering at UNL and is now a vice president with Burns & McDonnell. Stelling's visit includes presenting in classes and meeting with students.

UNL MME Assistant Professor Jinsong Huang

Nature Nanotechnology features Huang's use of nanocomposites to improve photodetectors

November 2012 - Lincoln, NE

Research by Assistant Professor Jinsong Huang is featured in the Nov. 11 edition of Nature Nanotechnology. Huang’s paper, “A nanocomposite ultraviolet photodetector based on interfacial trap-controlled charge injection” details a way to detect light at a much longer distance than is currently possible--to benefit security efforts in radiation sensing, food inspection, water treatment and more.

MME Professor Cho Wing To

Cho Wing To named ASME Fellow

October 2012 - Lincoln, NE

Professor Cho Wing "Solomon" To was named a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 2012. Distinction as an ASME Fellow is the highest elected grade of ASME membership, recognizing exceptional engineering achievements and contributions to the engineering profession.

PS UUNL's Jackbot

MME student track spike innovation advances

October 2012 - Lincoln, NE

Alex Adams and fellow MME student Walter Bircher are part of Blue Inventor LLC: engineering a way to make shoe spikes easier to change for track athletes. The innovation developed with entrepreneurial resources from the College of Engineering and NUtech Ventures. MORE ...

PS UUNL's Jackbot

Team wins ASME graduate robotics competition

September 2012 - Lincoln, NE

A UNL MME Surgical Robotics Lab team won the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ 2012 Student Mechanism & Robot Design Competition, Graduate Student Robotics category, with their project: Miniature In Vivo Surgical Robot for Single-Incision Surgery. MORE...

PS Trauma Mechanics

Trauma Mechanics featured in September issue of Popular Science

August 2012 - Lincoln, NE

"The Labs That Go Boom:" the September issue of Popular Science magazine features MME research focusing on the impact of shock waves from improvised explosive devices on the body and brain. READ MORE (PDF)...

Energy & Environmental Science journal

MME research selected for cover story of Energy and Environmental Science journal

July 2012 - Lincoln, NE

Research by a UNL team including MME Assistant Professor Jinsong Huang was selected as the cover story for the journal Energy and Environmental Science


Mike Nastasi

Nastasi earns grant to develop nuclear reactor metal-ceramic composite

July 2012 - Lincoln, NE

The U.S. Department of Energy announced funding for projects to improve nuclear industry and reactor safety, performance and cost competitiveness—including $979,978 to UNL for a reactor materials collaboration, with partners MIT and Texas A&M.. More...

ICARE assistive device

Nelson's work on ICARE: device enters international sales

June 2012 - Lincoln, NE

Lincoln's Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital and partners begin international sales of the ICARE assistive device. MME Associate Professor Carl Nelson worked on the team that developed the equipment, which can help some people with disabilities regain their ability to walk. More ...

UNL Baja SAE vehicle competes

Nebraska finishes in top five at Oregon competition

May 2012 - Lincoln, NE

UNL’s Baja SAE team finished fourth among 79 collegiate teams at the 2012 Baja SAE Oregon competition in May—the highest finish yet achieved by the Nebraska Engineering team at this major competition. More... Also: View video of Nebraska at the event.

  • MME'S Wright wins NCAA national discus title
    Chad Wright, a sophomore Mechanical Engineering major from Kingston, Jamaica, earned the NCAA title in the men's discus during the first day of competition at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. He made Husker history with his winning throw of 206-0 (62.79), setting a personal best and moving to second all-time in the Husker record books. More at
  • MME students earn NSF Graduate Research Fellowships
    Zach Connell, Eric Markvicka and Nate Otten were among five Nebraska Engineering students or recent graduates who earned Graduate Research Fellowships this year from the National Science Foundation. More...
  • MME mourns Hewit
    William "Bill" Hewit died Dec. 31, 2011 at age 88. He earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering at UNL in 1950 and became an independent oil producer. In 1994, Hewit and his wife, Betty-Ruth (also a UNL graduate), endowed the James K. Ludwickson Professorship in the Department of Mechanical Engineering to honor a favorite faculty member who was especially devoted to student development.
  • Science Art Competition recognition
    Several MME students were recognized at the Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience Spring 2012 Science Art competition. Students' original artwork featured a static visual image representing a nanoscience structure or phenomenon. More...
  • Nebraska Engineering student team to work with NASA
    Nebraska Engineering students are floating on news from NASA that their team was selected for the space agency's 2012 Microgravity University (UNL's fifth consecutive year with the program). Among the 20 students on the UNL team, 16 are from the Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering. The UNL team's project is Flame Behavior of a MEMS-GC Detector. Learn more on their team page. More...


2011 News & Kudos

Los Alamos' Mike Nastasi joins MME faculty, leads UNL's NCESR

MME welcomes Los Alamos' Nastasi, new director of UNL's Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research

December 2011 - Lincoln, NE

Materials scientist Mike Nastasi became director of UNL’s Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research on Jan. 3. Nastasi is also a professor of mechanical and materials engineering and holds the Elmer Koch Professorship.

Nastasi came to UNL from Los Alamos National Laboratory where he was a longtime researcher and, since 2009, director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Frontier Research Center on Materials at Irradiation of Mechanical Extremes. More...

  • Alumna McMullen-Gunn wins SWE’s national “Distinguished New Engineer” Award
    The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) announced 52 award winners at its 2011 national conference, October 13-15 in Chicago. Nebraska’s Angel McMullen-Gunn, who earned her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (2003) and her MEng (2007) at UNL, was one of five winners nationwide for SWE’s 2011 Distinguished New Engineer Award. McMullen-Gunn is a manufacturing business manager and senior mechanical engineer at Hamilton Sundstrand, an aerospace mechanical operations facility, in York, Neb. She and her husband, Darrin, live in Seward with their young son, Lucian. McMullen-Gunn was cited for her career achievements spanning several engineering realms and her significant involvement in SWE as an officer and role model. The Distinguished New Engineer Award honors women engineers who have demonstrated outstanding technical performance, as well as leadership in SWE and other professional organizations and the community, in the first 10 years of their careers.
  • Team pursues rare earth magnets' development with ARPA-E grant from DOE
    Jeff Shield, MME department chair and professor, is part of a research team that was awarded an Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy grant from the Department of Energy. The grant is for $3.4 million overall for three years, seeking Multiscale Development of L10 Materials for Rare-Earth-Free Permanent Magnets. The team, led by Laura Lewis of Northeastern University, is developing a process to create bulk quantities of iron and nickel in a unique crystal structure with powerful magnetic properties. This iron-nickel crystal structure is found naturally in meteorites and the team will apply advanced synthesis to artificially create this magnetic material structure. The work will stabilize this desired structure by adding other elements, to achieve properties which previously developed over millions of years with meteorites formed in space. Based on this structure, powerful new magnets could be developed with properties exceeding those of scarce and costly rare earth magnets. The goal of this project is to demonstrate bulk magnetic properties with subsequently scalable fabrication processes.
  • Hallbeck, Rousek gain honorable mention in Human Factors Prize
    With more than 40 health care ergonomics entries in its 2011 Human Factors Prize, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society announced five winners whose papers will be published in the December 2011 issue of its journal, Human Factors. “Improving Medication Management through the Redesign of the Hospital Code Cart Medication Drawer,” by UNL graduate student Justin B. Rousek and Professor M. Susan Hallbeck, was one of four runners-up in the competition.
  • Manufacturers collaborate with UNL engineers
    A group of Lincoln-based manufacturers had a field trip to Nebraska Engineering labs to see what can happen when some industrial research money, academic curiosity, local manufacturing help, engineering expertise and the high cost of farming get together. George Gogos, professor of mechanical engineering, showed them a flamer/cultivator that offers farmers a new version of an old and less expensive method of controlling weeds.
  • Nebraska Engineering grad students earn NSF fellowships
    In April, the National Science Foundation awarded Graduate Research Fellowships to an elite selection of recipients nationwide; four students at the UNL College of Engineering were honored, including two in the Department of Mechanical Engineering: Thomas Frederick and Tyler Wortman. According to NSF, these fellowships provide three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant achievements in science and engineering research. The NSF Graduate Fellowship benefits include: $30,000 annual stipend; $10,500 cost-of-education allowance; international research and professional development opportunities; and TeraGrid Supercomputer access.
  • Huang's work featured in Feb. 13 edition of Nature Materials
    Jinsong Huang, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, applied ferroelectric polymer layers in the structure of organic solar cells, to make energy harvesting more efficient and with less expensive materials. The innovation was reported by the prominent scientific journal Nature Materials in its Feb. 13 online edition.
  • UNL Parents Association honors mechanical engineering faculty
    The UNL Parents Association solicits nominations by parents on the faculty or staff employee/s who made a significant difference in their student's life. Among several College of Engineering honorees in 2010-11, several members of the Department of Mechanical Engineering faculty were recognized: Associate Professor Kevin Cole (his third year nominated), and Assistant Professor Linxia Gu (her second year nominated).
  • Bircher honored with National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) Scholarship
    Walter Bircher, a UNL freshman from Omaha who majors in mechanical engineering, was awarded one of 650 NSLI-Y Scholarships for 2010-11. The merit-based scholarship covers all program costs that enabled Bircher to study the Turkish language in Turkey for a summer. Funded by the U.S. State Department and administered by non-profit organizations, NSLI-Y seeks to increase Americans' capacity to engage with native speakers of critical languages and promote mutual understanding through educational and cultural activities. (Applications for future NSLI-Y opportunities are available at
  • Huang awarded DOD honor
    Mechanical engineering assistant professor Jinsong Huang gained a 2010 Young Investor Program award with a $200,000 grant from the Department of Defense's Threat Reduction Agency for his project: “A Novel High Quantum Efficiency Mechanism in Organic Photodetector for Sensing the Radiation from Weapons of Mass Destruction.”
  • Szdlowski receives teaching award
    Wieslaw Szdlowski, associate professor of mechanical engineering, received a Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's annual All University Honors Convocation in April.
  • Engineering faculty chosen for research fellows program
    Fourteen UNL faculty members were selected for the 2010 Research Development Fellows Program, an initiative to help pre-tenure faculty successfully compete for grants. Among the 14 assistant professors selected as research fellows were seven faculty members from the College of Engineering, including Jinsong Huang, Mechanical Engineering.
  • Faculty gain promotions, tenure
    UNL regents approved 75 UNL faculty to receive tenure or promotion in April. MECH's Shane Farritor was promoted to professor, and Carl Nelson received tenure and was promoted to associate professor.