Labs and Research Centers

Labs and Research Centers at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology that primarily support Mechanical Engineering are listed below.  For a virtual look at our facilities, view the Mechanical Engineering Virtual Tour below.

All SD Mines Laboratories and Research Centers

Faculty Research Projects

Research is broadly organized into the four areas shown below. Faculty conduct research individually and in collaboration with others both in ME and in other departments at Mines. Click to expand any of the four segments below for more information about individual faculty specializations.


Thermal Science

Dr. Duane Abata

  • Transient and steady state combustion
  • Internal combustion engines
  • Alternative biofuels
  • Fuel delivery and fuel sprays
  • High pressure ignition

    Dr. Bamdad Lessani 

    Dr. Khosro Shahbazi

    • Developing computational framework for multi-physics, multi-phase and multi-scale phenomena with applications in medicine and energy sustainability. Incorporating faithful equation of states for multi-phases, nonlinear constitutive models derived from relevant experimental observations, and accurate phase interaction mechanisms are key to the success of the mathematical models. For numerical solutions, the focus is on developing methods and algorithms that are applicable to a large class of problems, are simple and efficient to implement on large contemporary parallel computers, yield robust computations with high-fidelity solutions. For more information about Dr. Shahbazi's research, please visit his personal website.

    Solid Mechanics

    Dr. Jason Ash

    • Interfacial Mechanics of Composite Materials
      - Interfacial bond strength measurement between fiber and matrix
      - Designed axisymmetric test fixture for microbond experimentation
      - Utilized FEA to perform stress based failure analysis
      - Potential to predict interfacial failure of other systems
    • Biaxial Testing of Composite Materials
      - Composite material failure strength characterization
      - Validation of results with strain gages and FEA
      - Failure data needed for structural design/analysis

    Dr. Cassandra Degen

    Design, fabrication, and analysis of multifunctional structures and materials

    • Manufacturing of structures with multifunctional potential
    • Coupling mechanical stimuli with varied automatic responses
      - Transfer of mechanochemistry knowledge
      - Elicit responses such as optical, chemical, magnetic, energetic, etc.

    Dr. Karim Muci

    Dr. Albert Romkes

    Computational and applied mechanics and mathematics with an emphasis on: (multi-scale) modeling of heterogeneous media and multiphysics/interaction processes, numerical analysis of partial differential equations arising in continuum mechanics applications, development of finite element type methods of approximation, estimation of approximation and modeling error, and development of strategies for mesh-adaptive finite element processes.

    Dr. Christian Widener (Director, Arbegast Materials Processing Lab - AMP)

    • Friction Stir Welding
    • Laser Powder Deposition
    • Cold Spray
    • Direct-Write

    Experimental & Computational Mechanics Laboratory

    Computer Simulations

    • Available Hardware
      Two computer servers
      Twenty-four computer workstations
    • Available Software
      - ABAQUS, AUTODYN, FLUENT, others
      Xcitex-ProAnalyst and GOM-ARAMIS

    Key Experimental Equipment

    • Two Photron SA1.1 monochrome and one Photron SA4 color high speed cameras.
    • Data acquisition systems (up to 2.5 Ms/s/ch).
    • Pressure sensors and accelerometers.
    • Instrumented human head surrogates.

    Small-Scale Ballistics Laboratory

    • Air rifles in 0.177-in, 0.22-in, 9-mm, 0.45-in, and 0.50-in calibers.
    • Maximum speeds ranging from 700 ft/s for 0.50-in caliber, 250-grain projectiles, to 1,350 ft/s for 0.177-in caliber, 5.1-grain projectiles.
    • 20 ft x 13 ft x 9 ft armored testing enclosure.
    • Surrogate extremities made of soft tissue surrogates (ballistic gelatin, PERMA-GEL).
    • Area for bacteria distribution studies

    Small-Scale Compressed Gas Blast Testing

    • 2-in and 4-in diameter open ended shock tubes with bursting pressures up to 800 psig.
    • Vertical impulse measuring module (VIMM).
    • Schlieren imaging with 8-in and 16.25-in parabolic mirrors to visualize shock waves and fluid flow.
    • Testing enclosure with clear sides for viewing.

    Sample Projects

    • Bacteria distribution in surrogate ballistic wounds
    • Development of extremity body armor
    • Blast effects on helmet-head systems
    • Comparison of blast mitigation characteristics of different materials
    • Simulation of shallow buried blasts in sand
    • Helmet for search and rescue (SAR) teams