Research and Labs
Research is at the core of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. It goes hand-in-hand with what students learn in the classroom and reinforces our status as a unit with state-of-the-art research facilities and a strong education in materials, computational methods, stress analysis, renewable energy, and thermal analysis.
Since 2000, NAU faculty and staff have engaged in clean energy research and education initiatives, in order to provide society with energy experts, who through their research and outreach help shape energy decision-making in both the private and public sectors while increasing the public's energy literacy. We work to be at the cutting edge in exploring the possibilities for a renewable energy future and directing society to make these a reality. Our faculty-led projects in partnership with industry, national laboratories, private foundations, Native American tribes, and other external partners are advancing the frontier of renewable energy systems and resources. We invite you to visit our new Clean Energy Research and Education site to learn more about our commitment.
Featured Labs & Facilities
Advanced Composite Materials Laboratory
The Advanced Composite Materials Laboratory is an instructional and research facility equipped for the fabrication, testing, and analysis of composite materials. The facility features specimen fabrication equipment, strain gage instrumentation and data acquisition equipment, and everything a researcher would need to manufacture or test composite materials.
Realization of Advanced Products and Innovative Designs Lab
RAPIDLab gained support from the Office of the Vice President for Research in 2011 through TRIF and the Governor's Office on Economic Recovery. Its purpose is to assist NAU by designing and fabricating specialized equipment to help facilitate ongoing research in technological fields. RAPIDLab is also available as a resource to Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NACET) clients who partner with NAU as part of their product development.
Clean Energy Research Laboratory
The clean energy research program in Mechanical Engineering is a multi-disciplinary effort that holds as its objective dramatically increased usage of affordable, clean (no carbon emissions) electricity resources that use little to no water, with the focus on wind and solar power. Electrical grid integration studies, wind flow modeling, and multilevel work with Native American partners are the core activities of the researchers. Graduate and undergraduate students are key contributors, working in partnership with utilities, regulating and market organizations, national labs and academia.
Computer Aided Design Laboratory
The Computer Aided Design Lab is an instructional and service facility that is equipped with 33 computers dedicated exclusively to undergraduate student use. Every terminal has various software packages installed, including AutoCAD and SolidWorks. When the lab is not in use for classes, students have access to it for their studies, projects, homework and assignments.
The Dynamic and Active Systems Laboratory
The Dynamic and Active Systems Lab is a research facility setup for the development and study of mechatronic and vibrating systems. Major equipment in the lab includes a single-point laser vibrometer, a data acquisition system, a fused deposition modeling 3D printer, and multiple pieces of active and passive electronic systems equipment. The lab’s systems are capable of simultaneous high-precision voltage and current source and sink for energy harvesting applications, and ultra high resolution velocity and displacement measurements for vibrating systems.
Engineering Design Laboratory
The Engineering Design Laboratory is an exclusively instructional facility designed specifically to meet our Design 4 Practice program’s needs.
Engineering Fabrication Laboratory
The Engineering Fabrication Lab, primarily dedicated to educational topics, is a combined instructional and research facility. The lab consist of most traditional metalworking hand tools and machines.
Keck Laboratory for Bioengineering Innovation
The Keck Laboratory for Bioengineering Innovation is managed by a team of faculty from the Departments of Mechanical Engineering, Biology, Physics, and Chemistry. The lab explores both fundamental & applied questions at the intersection of biology & physical sciences/engineering, with shared space to promote scientific interaction & collaboration. Experimental capabilities in the lab include atomic force microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, optical holography and tomography, chemical spectroscopy, biomechanical analysis, and mechanical testing of biological samples.
Multifunctional Materials and Adaptive Systems Laboratory
The Multifunctional Materials and Adaptive Systems Lab is primarily used for research by faculty and graduate students.
The Thermal-Fluids Laboratory is a modern research and instructional facility that emphasizes the design of experiments and report writing skills. At the facility, senior-level Mechanical Engineering students use state-of-the-art computerized data acquisition equipment to perform experiments. Lab exercises are conducted in fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and thermodynamics.