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Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering & Computer Science Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering

Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Laboratory Facilities


Acoustic Emission Laboratory

This lab is primarily a research facility.  Students are exposed to this lab at times to assist in setting up experiments or to utilize some of the equipment.  Major equipment in this lab include Spartan AT 18 Channel, Wilson 4JR Rockwell hardness tester, Nicolet Pro 30 wave form analyzer, Instron model 1000 tensile tester, and various filters used for Acoustic Emission detection.  To learn more click here.

Advanced Computational Design Laboratory

The lab contains 10 UNIX Thin Client Workstations with various software.

  • Contact Person - Jon Buckley  
  • Location - Metallurgy 14
Aerosol Laboratory 

The University of Denver Aerosol Group develops and builds instruments and sampling inlets that we then use to study aerosols.  Aerosols are collections of particles suspended in gas.  This is mainly a research facility.  To learn more click here.

Biofluids Laboratory

Biofluids laboratory is dedicated to developing drug delivery and bioprocessing vehicles that lower the cost of therapeutics as well as developing medical devices that advance vaccination discovery and assist individuals with gait abnormalities.  Equipment include metal wet etching fabrication for micro fluidic systems, complete rheology system, UV spectrophotometer for pharmakinetic measurements, as well as various imaging and other basic measurement instruments.  The lab is primarily used by graduate students in bioengineering or thermal fluid sciences, undergraduate researchers involved in projects directed by Dr. Lengsfeld (averaging 2 per year), senior design projects involving Dr. Lengsfeld (average 4 students/year) as well as labs for the following classes Biofluids, bionanotechnology and Micro Heat Exchangers.   To learn more click here.

Biomaterials and Testing Laboratory

The Biomaterials and Testing Lab performs a variety of testing to evaluate implant performance and characterize material properties. The lab's testing experience ranges from coupons under ASTM standards to real components under conditions simulating in-service environments and from metals to polymers and composites. The lab's expertise includes elastic-plastic behavior and fatigue crack initiation and growth.

Cardiac Biomechanics Lab

The Cardiac Biomechanics Laboratory is focused on applied and translational research in cardiovascular diseases. Despite significant scientific advances in the past two decades, cardiovascular disease is the primary cause of death in the industrialized world. To date, medical device industries have lagged behind other sectors of technology in adopting computational and experimental techniques in design and development. Our projects in the Cardiac Biomechanics Laboratory directed by Prof. Ali Azadani lie at the interface of engineering, medicine, and biology. We utilize modern engineering techniques to obtain greater insight into the complex pathways of cardiovascular diseases, and thereby develop new diagnostic and therapeutic devices.

Composite Laboratory

Composite Laboratory has been used predominately by materials science graduate students involved in research supported by the Center for Advanced Materials and Structures. The following tests have been conducted in the lab: stress corrosion testing of glass/polymer composites under static and dynamic loads, high voltage testing of composites used in composite high voltage insulators, thermal expansion testing of materials. Major equipment in the lab includes: (1) Hipotronic High Voltage System, (2) Digital Wave Corporation 8-bit 4 channel Acoustic Emission system, (3) Applied Test Systems fixture, in-house designed four-point bend fixture, and a Netzsch 402C dilatometer.

Computational Biomechanics Laboratory

The Computational Biomechanics Lab creates numerical models of natural and implanted joints to gain insight into clinically relevant issues. The lab uses a probabilistic, finite element-based approach to optimize performance of joint replacement devices and to understand the complex mechanics of the natural knee, hip, shoulder or spine. The lab collaborates closely with other universities performing in vitro and in vivo research, as well as top orthopaedic surgeons. The lab includes state-of-the-art computational hardware and software, including finite element solvers (Abaqus), probabilistic modeling (Nessus), model pre- and post-processing (Hypermesh) and CT/MRI-based model development. While primarily a research lab for graduate studies, a significant number of undergraduate researchers are typically involved with the lab through university-sponsored research and senior design projects.  To learn more click here.

Engine Dyno Laboratory

This facility is located at the south end of the Metallurgy building, on the lower level, and is used in the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory sequence. There are two parts:

  • An engine room containing a water-brake dynamometer, an 8-cylinder, fuel injected, naturally aspirated, computer-controlled Ford engine and various transducers
  • A control room containing dynamometer control hardware, data acquisition equipment and data display hardware.

The dynamometer permits measurement of engine output torque and power. The associated transducers are used to measure air flow, fuel flow, pressure in a cylinder, engine speed, and CO and hydrocarbon emissions. An array of computers and data acquisition systems are used to record data.

  • Contact Person - Jon Buckley 
  • Location - Metallurgy 113
Finite Element Modeling (FEM) Laboratory

The lab work with the following software: Ansys finite element package, MATLAB, Mathematica, MathCAD, etc.  The lab is used by undergraduate and graduate students to perform finite element computations.

Human Dynamics Laboratory

The mission of the Human Dynamics Laboratory is to improve clinical diagnosis and treatment through: biomechanical measurement and analysis, and design of relevant quantitative tools and techniques.

Manufacturing/Integration Laboratory

This facility is used in Engineering Concepts, Integration, Senior Design, and Machine Shop Practice courses (ENGR 1611, 1621, 1700, 2610, 2620, 3313, 3323, 3330), and part of the laboratory component of ENME 2421 (Materials Science II).

Equipment includes:

  • 4 Minitek computer controlled lathes
  • 4 Minitek computer controlled milling machines
  • 1 Rockwell 4JR hardness tester
  • 1 Instron universal tester
  • 1 Lincoln Electric Weld Pak100
  • 1 Miller gas welder
  • 1 Rapid prototyping machine
  • 2 8-inch polishing wheels
  • 1 Zeiss microscope
  • 1 ultrasonic cleaner

In addition there is a Logan 1825 lathe, a Bridgeport milling machine, a drill press, a band saw, a radial saw, and associated necessary machine tools, such as drills, saws, etc.

  • Contact Person - Jon Buckley
  • Location - Metallurgy 28
Manufacturing/Machining Laboratory

This lab contains a Logan 1825 lathe, a Bridgeport milling machine, a drill press, a band saw, a radial saw, and associated necessary machine tools, such as drills, saws, etc.

  • Contact Person - Jon Buckley 
  • Location - Metallurgy 28
Materials Science Laboratory

The Materials Science Laboratory is primarily used for the laboratory portion of Materials Science II. It consists of the equipment and space for three different experiments. The major pieces of equipment are a 10,000 lb capacity Instron tensile and compression testing machine, a Rockwell hardness tester, a mechanically vented hood and specimen polishing wheels. The equipment is meant for student's hands-on use, rather than for demonstrations that students only observe. Using the equipment the students perform tensile tests and hardness tests. They also create a two component phase diagram and polish and etch samples to observe grain structure as a function of different annealing conditions.

  • Contact Person - Jon Buckley 
  • Location - Metallurgy 28
Mechanical Engineering (ME) Laboratory

The Mechanical Engineering Laboratory contains experimental set-ups for the study of heat transfer, mechanical oscillations, open and closed loop control, fluid mechanics, strain in beams, measurement techniques, and other topics. Students utilize USB/GPIB interfaces with Lab VIEW software to develop information and data from the experiments.

  • Contact Person - Jon Buckley
  • Location - Metallurgy 112
Mechanical Engineering Testing Laboratory

Computer controlled system with 50,000 lb Axial and 20,000 in-lb Torsion (MTS 809.25); Axial system with 50,000 lb Tension/Compression (MTS 880); and Environmental heating/cooling chamber with temperature range of -200 to 1000?F (MTS 651). We also have two Digital Wave 8bit Acoustic Emission Systems, one with two and one with four channels. For long-term aging study, students needed to develop a thermal isolation system for the MTS 809.25 load zone. A constant temperature bath with thermal isolation inserts was used to maintain the temperature of the load cell.

  • Contact Person - Jon Buckley
  • Location - Metallurgy 113
Multiscale Computational Laboratory

This lab is used for computational modeling of multiscale multifunctional materials, including fibrous, particulate or energy dissipative media in the applications of energy systems, MEMS and advanced composites. Three graduate students are currently working in this lab. Computational equipments include four high performance Pentium4 computers @3.2GHZ and 2G RAM. The multiphysics simulation software COMSOL is installed on the computers for general-purpose numerical analysis, visualization and image processing. The lab also has the full access to ABAQUS, ANSYS and FLUENT installed on the departmental Sun Server. In addition, the lab is frequently used for undergraduate and graduate education in the following three courses: Computational Methods in Advanced Materials, Elasticity and Introduction to Engineering Computational Tools.  To learn more click here.

Nano/Bio Engineering—Research Laboratory

MET 119 contains a Siemens D-500 x-ray diffraction system with suitable capabilities and software. The future site of the micro/nano testing facility currently under construction.

Nano/Bio Engineering—Teaching Laboratory

This is mainly a research facility, but students taking MTSC 3430 and MTSC 3440 as technical electives use the equipment in connection with these courses. MET 119 contains a Siemens D-500 x-ray diffraction system with suitable capabilities and software.

Probabilistic Mechanics Laboratory

The Probabilistic Mechanics Lab performs research themed around variability and its impact on mechanical systems. The laboratory works on both the innovation of new approaches in probabilistic analysis and the application of these techniques to a variety of fields including biomechanics, materials and nanotechnology, and design. Probabilistic and stochastic analysis represent an important emerging field and by its nature highly collaborative.

Robotics Laboratory 

The Robotics Laboratory is a teaching lab for the topics of Introductory Robotics, Advanced Robotics, Mechatronics, and Computer Vision. The lab houses a variety of robots including two 6-DoF PUMA robots modified with Mark V Automation retrofit kits for PC -based control and two IBM 7535 robots for AML programming. There are also two custom-built Stewart-Gough Platforms, one with pneumatic actuation and the other with DC motor actuation. The electric platform is capable of accelerating a 180-pound student to 2Gs and is suitable for "personal flight simulator" projects. Matlab/Simulink with Real-Time Workshop is used to control the PUMAs via either QNX or RTlinux. There is also a two-fingered dextrous hand.

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) Laboratory

This is mainly a research facility, but students taking Material Science I ENME 2421 have a portion of a lecture devoted to the SEM. There is more extensive use of the SEM in Diffraction and Structure I & II MTSC 3430 and MTSC 3440 which are two technical electives.

The University of Denver has a JEOL 5800LV scanning electron microscope (SEM) equipped with secondary and backscatter electron detectors, and an X-ray detector for energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). The instrument can operate at low vacuum (<2 torr) for analysis of uncoated and biological samples. It has a large specimen chamber and ample stage motion to examine specimens as large as 7 inches in diameter.

Secondary Electron Detector

For each high energy electron striking the surface, usually many low energy secondary electrons are given off the surface. The secondary electron detector sweeps up these electrons and forms an image based on the number of secondary electrons. The secondary electron detector gives the best resolution and it is the mostly commonly used detector.

Backscatter Electron Detector

A backscattered electron is an electron that scatters off the nucleus of an atom. The larger the nucleus of the atom, the more electrons are backscattered. As a result, the backscatter electron detector gives good compositional contrast. If the compositional information from the detector is subtracted off, the result is a surface topography image.

Energy Dispersive X-ray System

The Oxford Pentafet energy dispersive X-ray detector (EDS) is available for qualitative and semi-quantitative elemental analysis. The EDS detector has an ultra-thin window that allows for element detection of carbon and higher atomic number elements. An elemental or X-ray map of the surface can also be obtained using this detector.

Student Projects:

Glass Polymer/Conductive Composites; Johns Manville Corporation

Contamination-Induced Laser Damage; Lockheed Martin

High-Voltage Composite Conductors; Western Area Power Administration