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Research Theme - Computational Engineering

Simulation Aids Rapid Development

With the advent of large-scale computers, computational approaches have become indispensable for characterizing, predicting and simulating physical events and engineering systems.

Industrial competitiveness demands reduction in design cycle time, which in turn relies heavily on numerical simulations to reduce the number of tests of physical prototypes. From the point of view of scientific investigations, one of the great strengths of computer simulations over physical experiments is the ability to study a complete range of physical and temporal scales. That is, we can study in detail physical phenomena that last only a picosecond, or we can move back in time and identify the evolution of interesting physical events.

The Mechanical Engineering Department has many faculty working at the forefront of simulation techniques from several groups.  Faculty from the  Flow Physics & Computational Engineering Group have led for decades in the simulation of complex transport processes, starting with turbulent fluid mechanics and now ranging from fuel cell chemistry and biomedical devices to high-speed aircraft.  Faculty from FPCE play a central role in the continuing presence of large, externally funded computational centers in the department (such as the Center for Turbulence Research and the PSAAP). 

Faculty from the Mechanics and Computation Group are at the forefront of computational methods, especially techniques required for the design of nanoscale devices and nanostructured materials.  Applications range from the motion and transport of molecules and tissue to the atomic-scale physics of material behavior. Much research focuses on the special challenge of multi-scale simulations, which are essential for engineering systems containing nanoscale components.

Research Focus

We are focusing our energies on several areas in computational engineering:

  • computational geometry and virtual design
  • multi-scale phenomena including bridging of atomistic to continuum models
  • biomedical applications, including predictive surgery
  • computational study of cells, tissues, bones and other biological systems
  • chemical reactions and multiphase flows
  • atomistic physics of material behavior and failure
  • climate modeling
  • energy systems including fuel cells and efficient engines

Success in these areas leverages our core competencies in computer science such as parallel computing, numerical analysis, model selection and adaptivity.

Leadership in Computational Mathematics and Parallel Computing

Some of these areas have traditionally been in the domain of other departments such as Computer Science, but experience has shown that the best numerical tools are developed by those interested in specific applications. Furthermore, Stanford's ME Department has an excellent track record and international reputation for making contributions in both research and educational components of computational mathematics and parallel computing.

Thursday, November 12, 2015 - 16:00 to 17:30
Building 520, Room 131

The second Mechanics & Computation seminar of the year is announced below:

Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 16:00 to 17:30
Hewlett Teaching Center, Room 201

Creation of extremely strong yet ultra-light materials can be achieved by capitalizing on the hierarchical design of 3-dimensional nano-architectures. Such structural metamaterials exhibit superior thermomechanical properties at extremely low mass densities (lighter than aerogels), making these solid foams ideal for many scientific and technological applications.

Thursday, October 29, 2015 - 16:00 to 17:30



Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 16:00 to 16:45
Paul G. Allen Building,420 Via Palou Mall

Space is limited.  RSVP to Jim Chen, if you would like to attend.

The Porsche 919 Hybrid is the brand's most complex and efficient race car to date.  Competing as a Class 1 Le Mans Prototype (LMP1) in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the 919 Hybrid acts as a running research laboratory for future sports car technology.  After a 16-year absence, Porsche returned to endurance racing in 2014.

Thursday, May 14, 2015 - 16:00 to 17:30
Hewlett Teaching Center, room 201

The third seminar in the 2015 Solid Mechanics@Stanford series will be:

Professor Zhigang Suo

Allen E. and Marilyn M. Puckett Professor of Mechanics and Materials

Harvard University

Thursday, May 14th from 4-5:30pm in the Hewlett Teaching Center, Room 201


“Hydrogel as tough water”

Zhigang Suo, Harvard University


Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 16:00 to 17:30
Hewlett Teaching Center room 201

Welcome to the Solid Mechanics@Stanford Seminar Spring 2015 seminar series.

Our first speaker for spring quarter will be Prof. Jean H. Prévost, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University.

His talk is entitled “Faults Simulations for Three-Dimensional Reservoir-Geomechanical Models with the Extended Finite Element Method”

The lecture will be on Thursday, April 23rd at 4:00-5:30 pm in Hewlett Teaching Center room 201.

We look forward to seeing you at the lecture.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Associate Professor Beth Pruitt has been elected a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME) for work that includes a focus on creating micro-electrical systems (MEMS) to detect the minute forces that cells exert upon one another as they carry out the basic mechanics of life.

Monday, March 30, 2015 - 16:15 to 18:00
Spilker 232 (Ginzton Lab)

Stanford University

Applied Physics 483 Optics & Electronics Seminar

Monday, March 30, 2015
4:15 p.m. Spilker 232
“The novel electro-mechanical structure and
function of the inner ear”
Charles R. Steele
Professor Emeritus, Mechanical Engineering & Aeronautics and Astronautics
Stanford University
Monday, March 9, 2015 - 19:00 to 20:30
The Atrium, Peterson Building 550

Free and open to the public.

Student-engineered HOOP-BOTS shoot baskets with the efficiency of the Splash Brothers!Two-minute sudden-death elimination rounds! The BOT with the highest score wins! It’s WILD! It’s CRAZY! It’s STANFORD MECHATRONICS!

Friday, August 29, 2014 - 12:00 to 13:00
Huang Courtyard (Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center Courtyard, 475 Via Ortega) on Friday, August 29th, 2014
The 2014 Stanford Undergraduate Research Institute (SURI) Poster Session was held in the Huang Courtyard (Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center Courtyard, 475 Via Ortega) on Friday, August 29th, 2014, from noon to 1 p.m.  Every year the posters have been getting more awesome, and this year was no exception.  This year's event was larger than ever, as we hit the 85-student mark for the first time.


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