Research
  /  
Areas of Research
Computational Engineering

Advancing computational simulation to understand and predict phenomena across the natural and technological world

Computational simulation gives researchers the power to explore complex engineering problems that cannot be easily approached through theory and experiment alone. We are creating solutions using high-performance computing platforms and advanced algorithms to impact all our cross-cutting research areas.

View video about computational engineering

View computational engineering faculty

Research Area Subtopics

Coupled multiphase thermal-flow-solidification simulation of metal additive manufacturing (G. Wagner)
Coupled multiphase thermal-flow-solidification simulation
of metal additive manufacturing. (G. Wagner)

Novel Formulations and Algorithms

The ever-increasing capability of high-performance computer hardware, programming languages, and physics models brings opportunities and challenges in improving the fidelity, efficiency, and robustness of simulations. We are developing mathematical and computational tools that leverage these advances to solve complex, multifaceted, multiscale engineering problems.






multiscale-modeling-design.jpg
Multiscale analysis of soft electroactive composites
with source terms. (V. Lefevre)

Multiscale Modeling and Design for Materials and Manufacturing

New fabrication techniques allow unprecedented control of the nano- and micro-structure of materials and the ability to shape those materials into complex parts. Computational modeling gives us the power to understand and optimize the interactions between manufacturing processes, material structures, physical properties, and device performance by linking across multiple spatial and temporal scales.




Biomechanics of the upper GI (N. Patankar, S. Halder, S. Acharya;
Biomechanics of the upper GI. (N. Patankar, S. Halder, S.
Acharya; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:
Sistema_Digestivo.jpg)

Bio Simulations: Organs, Tissues, Molecules and Devices

Computational simulation deepens our understanding of human and biological systems and their interactions with medical technology. From the mechanics of organ systems and tissues, to the modeling of biomaterial at the molecular and microstructural level, to the design of technologies like drug delivery and wearable electronics, we are harnessing computational models to provide crucial insights and predictive power that enable breakthroughs in medicine and health.


Data-driven framework to predict material properties using multiresolution analysis and machine learning (X. Xie, J. Bennett, S. Saha, Y. Lu, J. Cao, W. Liu, and Z. Gan)
Data-driven framework to predict material properties
using multiresolution analysis and machine learning. (X.
Xie, J. Bennett, S. Saha, Y. Lu, J. Cao, W. Liu, and Z. Gan)

Mechanistic Machine Learning

The explosive growth of artificial intelligence technology affects every aspect of our lives, including engineering. But to be truly predictive and safely reliable, AI systems must go beyond simple pattern recognition. We are building knowledge-driven models that combine the raw mathematical power of deep learning networks with physical principles and engineering insight.



ME Faculty

Photo of Jian Cao

Jian Cao

Cardiss Collins Professor of Mechanical Engineering and (by courtesy) Civil and Environmental Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering

Director, Northwestern Initiative for Manufacturing Science and Innovation (NIMSI)

Email Jian Cao

Photo of Wei Chen

Wei Chen

Chair and Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Wilson-Cook Professor in Engineering Design

Email Wei Chen

Photo of Horacio Espinosa

Horacio Espinosa

James N. and Nancy J. Farley Professor in Manufacturing & Entrepreneurship

Director, Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Program

Director of the Institute for Cellular Engineering Technologies

Professor of Mechanical Engineering and (by courtesy) Biomedical Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering

Email Horacio Espinosa

Photo of Sandip Ghosal

Sandip Ghosal

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and (by courtesy) Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics

Email Sandip Ghosal

Photo of Yonggang Huang

Yonggang Huang

Jan and Marcia Achenbach Professorship in Mechanical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and (by courtesy) Materials Science and Engineering

Email Yonggang Huang

Photo of Sinan Keten

Sinan Keten

Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering and (by courtesy) Biomedical Engineering

June and Donald Brewer Professor

Email Sinan Keten

Photo of Sridhar Krishnaswamy

Sridhar Krishnaswamy

Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Director of Center for Smart Structures and Materials

Email Sridhar Krishnaswamy

Photo of Victor Lefèvre

Victor Lefèvre

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Email Victor Lefèvre

Photo of Seth Lichter

Seth Lichter

Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Email Seth Lichter

Photo of Wing Liu

Wing Liu

Walter P. Murphy Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Civil and Environmental Engineering and (by courtesy) Materials Science and Engineering

Email Wing Liu

Photo of Richard Lueptow

Richard Lueptow

Professor of Mechanical Engineering (and by courtesy) Chemical and Biological Engineering

Senior Associate Dean for Research

Email Richard Lueptow

Photo of Neelesh Patankar

Neelesh Patankar

Professor and Associate Chair of Mechanical Engineering and (by courtesy) Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics

Email Neelesh Patankar

Photo of John Rudnicki

John Rudnicki

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Mechanical Engineering

Email John Rudnicki

Photo of Gregory Wagner

Gregory Wagner

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Bette and Neison Harris Chair in Teaching Excellence

Director of Graduate Studies for Mechanical Engineering

Email Gregory Wagner

Photo of Q. Jane Wang

Q. Jane Wang

Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Email Q. Jane Wang

Courtesy Faculty

Photo of Michael Miksis

Michael Miksis

Professor of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics and (by courtesy) Mechanical Engineering

Email Michael Miksis

Photo of Julio Ottino

Julio Ottino

Walter P. Murphy Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and (by courtesy) Mechanical Engineering

Distinguished Robert R. McCormick Institute Professor

Dean

Email Julio Ottino