About Duke Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science


Duke MEMS at a Glance: Facts and Stats


  • #12 nationally for doctoral programs in mechanical engineering by the National Research Council (2011)
  • #27 nationally among mechanical engineering graduate programs by U.S. News & World Report (2015)
  • Top 15 in U.S. mechanical engineering faculty research productivity (Academic Analytics 2014)

Department at a Glance

  • 25 tenure track faculty
  • $14.77 million in new research awards, FY 2015 (200% increase since FY 2010)
  • 92 graduate students (10 PhD graduates per year)
  • 85 BSE graduates in 2013-2014

Highlights and Awards

2014-2015 Academic Year

  • Member Spotlight, AIAA Carolinas – Earl Dowell
  • Chair, AIMBE Collge of Fellows – Jennifer West
  • Thomas Langford Lectureship Award (Duke University) – Missy Cummings
  • Clemson Award for Basic Research, Society of Biomaterials – Jennifer West
  • 75th Anniversary Gold Medal, ASME Heat Transfer Division – Adrian Bejan
  • Boeing/ASME Best Paper Award, AIAA SciTech Conference – Earl Dowell
  • Highly Cited Researcher, Thomson-Reuters – Jennifer West
  • Young Investigator Award, Creative and Novel Ideas for HIV Research – Benjamin Yellen

2013-2014 Academic Year

  • Member, Academia Europaea, 75th Anniversary Gold Medal of the ASME Heat Transfer Division, Honorary Doctorate from INSA de Lyon – Adrian Bejan
  • Stansell Distinguished Research Award (Pratt School) – Stefano Curtarolo
  • Awarded the 2015 Nevada Medal (awarded by the state of Nevada for a preeminent scientist/engineer) – Missy Cummings
  • Graduate of ELATE Leadership Program – Linda Franzoni
  • New Investigator Award by the NC Space Grant – Nico Hotz
  • Doak Award: International award for the most-cited paper in the past three years for the Journal of Sound Vibration – Brian Mann
  • NSF Early CAREER Development Award, ONR 2014 Young Investigator Award, and Invited Lecturer, Gordon Research Conference on the Science of Abrasion – Xuanhe Zhao
  • Selected as one of the Top 20 Science & Technology Professors in North Carolina – Neal Simmons
  • ONR 2014 Young Investigator Award – Michael Zavlanos

2012-2013 Academic Year

  • Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement  Award, Oak Ridge Associated Universities -- Nico Hotz
  • NSF Early CAREER Award; Early Career Researcher’s Award, AVES Biomaterial Interfaces Division -- Xuanhe Zhao  
  • IGTI J.P. Davis Award, ASME -- Robert Kielb and Lawrie Virgin
  • Associate Fellow, World Academy of Arts & Sciences; Honorary Member, American Society of Mechanical Engineers -- Adrian Bejan
  • Full Member, Acoustical Society of America -- Linda Franzoni
  • Fellow, ASME -- Robert Kielb
  • Fellow, American Society for Mechanical Engineers -- Brian Mann
  • Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers -- Pei Zhong

2011-2012 Academic Year

  • Promotion to full professor - Stefano Curtarolo, Stefan Zauscher and Pei Zhong
  • New distinguished professors - Jennifer West and Omar Knio
  • Honorary Member, American Society of Mechanical Engineers - Adrian Bejan
  • NSF IGERT doctoral traineeship -- Silvia Ferrari
  • Rhodes Scholar - Jared Dunnmon
  • Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics - Kenneth Hall
  • Fellows, American Society of Mechanical Engineering - Laurens Howle and Pei Zhong
  • Fellow, Institute of Physics - Stefano Curtarolo

2010-2011 Academic Year

  • Lyapunov Award, American Society of Mechanical Engineers - Earl Dowell
  • NIH Merit Award - - Innovations in Shock Wave Lithotripsy Technology - Pei Zhong
  • National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award - Chuan-Hua Chen

2009-2010 Academic Year

  • DARPA Young Faculty Award - Chuan-Hua Chen
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, Indian Institute of Technology in Roorkee - Devendra Garg
  • NIH grant review study section for cancer nanotechnology partnership - David Needham

2008-2009 Academic Year

  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) - Stefano Curtarolo
  • National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award – Chuan Hua Chen
  • 2008 Young Investigator Award in Experimental Science, International Conference on Computational and Experimental Engineering and Sciences – Stefan Zauscher
  • Oak Ridge Associated Universities Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award - Chuan-Hua Chen
  • 2008 Daniel Guggenheim Medal Award – Earl Dowell
  • Bronze Medal, Army Science Conference – Stefan Zauscher, Pei Zhong
  • Best Paper Award Force Protection /Survivability session, Army Science Conference – Stefan Zauscher, Pei Zhong
  • Representative to the United States National Committee on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Acoustical Society of America (ASA) – Linda Franzoni

Research Groups

  • Acoustics
  • Aerodynamics & Fluid Dynamics
  • Biomechanics & Biomaterials
  • Dynamics & Controls
  • Energy Tech & Thermodynamics
  • Manufacturing
  • Mechanics & Material Science

Research Centers

  • Center for Biologically Inspired Materials and Material Systems
  • Triangle Materials Research Science and Engineering Center


Undergraduate Program

  • Double majors with Computer Science, Physics, Biomedical Engineering, Economics
  • Aerospace and Energy certificates
  • Duke, Pratt, Chambers Fellowship award winners
  • The Home Depot Smart Home, Electric Car, Duke Motorsports, Robotics competitions, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics chapter
  • Engage early in research

Graduate Program

  • 66 PhD students
  • 12 MS students
  • 14 MEng students
  • THRUST international master's program in aerodynamics
  • Funding sources are DOD, NSF, NIH, non-government & Industry, and other foundations
  • Students eligible for highly competitive Duke and Pratt fellowships