Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering


Picture of ME Department Head John Berger

Greetings from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Colorado School of Mines. ME@Mines continues to be the largest department on campus, with nearly 1,400 undergraduate majors and over 160 graduate students, with 20% of our students being women engineers. The department continues to experience rapid growth, in terms of student enrollment, faculty size, and research volume. I wanted to take a minute to highlight the many activities in the Department over the last year in terms of teaching, research and service

We’ve had some exciting developments this past semester with the approval of several new programs out of ME@Mines. In response to the fact that the aerospace industry is the largest employer sector of our BSME graduates, the department is launching an area of special interest (ASI) in Aerospace Engineering.  Encompassing courses in aerospace structures, composite materials, heat transfer, and aerodynamics we expect this to be a very popular ASI for our students. Additionally, the Advanced Manufacturing Program is up and running, with both an ASI and a minor at the undergraduate level, and a masters and PhD program at the graduate level. Manufacturing in the state of Colorado is a rapidly growing industrial sector, and the ME department is responding to this growth.

ME@Mines was visited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) early this fall. The Department did very well thanks especially to the hard work of our assistant department head, Kristy Csavina, in preparing the Department’s self-study report. There were only a couple of concerns identified at the time of the visit, and ABET will let the campus know officially which of our programs are re-accredited sometime this August.

Over the last six months we’ve had two exciting workshops hosted by ME@Mines on campus.  Last summer, Prof. Tony Petrella hosted a Design for Additive Manufacturing workshop with participants from both academia and industry.  Prof. Petrella has also launched the first US-based Abaqus Professional Certification program through a close collaboration with Dassault Systems.  ME@Mines also hosted a regional HTEC Conference with Hass Automation. A highlight of the conference was a gift from the Gene Hass Foundation to support our traineeship program for student workers in our very busy machine shop. It’s noteworthy that all of our ME@Mines students get hands-on training on most of the machining tools in the shop, and the gift from the Gene Haas Foundation will ensure a steady stream of trained shop workers.

In terms of research, a number of large awards have recently been granted to ME faculty members. Prof. Greg Jackson has received an award of over $2M from DOE in advanced solar technologies, and Prof. Hildreth is part of a $1M DOE award on the use of advanced manufacturing technologies for nuclear power plant components.  Other awards of note are Prof. Bogin’s award from NIOSH on understanding of methane gas explosions in coal mines, Prof. Tilton’s involvement is treatment of brackish groundwater, Prof. Petruska’s research involving robotic inspection of power plant boilers, and Prof. Asle Zaeem’s great from the DOE to research shape memory functional oxides.  This provides a brief glimpse into the broad array of research conducted by ME faculty.

If you are ever in the Golden, Colorado, area and want to visit ME’s rapidly growing department, please stop by. I’ve seen incredible changes in ME since joining the faculty in 1994, and if it’s been a few years since you’ve visited campus I think you’ll be amazed as well!

John Berger
Department Head