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Advanced Manufacturing & Materials Overview

manufacturing and materials activitiesResearch in manufacturing and materials is focused on new manufacturing systems, continuous process improvement, sustainable manufacturing, and advanced materials, including characterization, processing, and manufacturing.

Automotive engineering students who choose this area for their technical track will participate in a number of academic and research activities related to production systems, manufacturing process development, and advanced materials.


Dr. Beshah Ayalew
Modeling and optimal control of manufacturing processes; estimation and control of distributed parameter systems with applications to radiant source actuated process (UV, IR, Laser)

Dr. Yunyi Jia
Robotics and automation systems for intelligent manufacturing; collaborative robotics and human-robot interactions; multi-robot systems; human factors and user acceptance of robotics; advanced sensing systems for robotics and human-robot interactions

Dr. Laine Mears
Model-based control of manufacturing processes and extensions to system-level learning (information-enabled manufacturing, per-part intelligence, predictive maintenance); integration of lightweight design and manufacturing, particularly multi-material joining and integration; novel process development to support new designs (manufacturing for design concept): electrically-assisted processing; model-based machining for difficult materials

Dr. Srikanth Pilla
Multi-functional structural composites and foams, fiber-reinforced materials, materials for extreme environments, self-repairing materials, sustainable biobased and biorenewable materials, and recycled materials; out-of-autoclave and UV-based curing technologies, gas-assisted foam processing, injection-molding, etc.; advanced materials characterization and evaluation using experimental mechanics (static and dynamic loadings), rheology, thermal, spectroscopic and microscopic methods; computational materials modeling and component-simulation and optimization using deterministic and probabilistic methods at multiple length scales; manufacturing process physics simulation including materials rheological studies and process parameters in injection molding, MuCell, RTM, etc; chemistry and physics-based understanding of joining methods for dissimilar and hybrid materials and structures; stochastic based life-cycle impact and assessment (LCA)


manufacturing and materials activitiesThe manufacturing and materials research team focus on improving the highly sophisticated process of vehicle and component production for efficiency, economy, quality, sustainability and safety.

Here is a sampling of current research projects being conducted in this area:
Model-based control of machining processes
● Machining force prediction for difficult-to-machine materials
● Electrically-assisted manufacturing processes
● Optimizing work distribution in manufacturing systems
Titanium integration in light-weight vehicles
● Manufacturing process physics monitoring
● Friction stir forming, processing and welding
● Hot blank-cold die (HB-CD) forming of lightweight alloy sheets (aluminum and magnesium)
● Thermal processing and phase changes
● Accumulative roll bonding (ARB)
● Actuated processes: state estimation for automated process control of UV, IR, laser curing/drying in manufacturing/prototyping applications
● Nondestructive testing and process monitoring
● Knowledge-based manufacturing and design
● Knowledge-based material selection and processing
● Design and manufacturing using origami fold forming of metals
● 03rd generation advanced high-strength steels
● Press hardening and hot stamping

Additional Resources
Dr. Laine Mears' manufacturing lab site

This research is made possible thanks to the generosity of the companies and organizations listed below.
Automation Engineering Corporation
BMW Manufacturing
BMW Information and Technology Research Center
Caron Engineering
Dassault Systemes Simulia Corporation
Electric Power Research Institute
GE Energy
Gibbs and Associates
OKUMA America Corporation
Michelin America Research Company
Morris South Corporation
National Instruments Corporation
National Science Foundation
Nippon Steel Inc.
SimaFore, LLC
Stäubli Robotics
Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing of North America (TEMA)
Toyota Motor Corporation TMC, Japan
Third Wave Systems
U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Army Advanced Material Research Lab
U.S. Army TARDEC - Automotive Research Center