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Mechanical Engineering

Abdel Bayoumi, Chair of the Department

Abdel Bayoumi, Ph.D., North Carolina State University, 1982
Yuh Jin Chao, Ph.D., University of Illinois, 1981
John Ducate Sr. Chair of Mechanical Engineering
Xiaomin Deng, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 1990
Graduate Director
Walter H. Peters III, Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1978
William F. Ranson III, Ph.D., University of Illinois, 1971
Curtis A. Rhodes, Ph.D., Carnegie-Mellon University, 1963
Michael A. Sutton, Ph.D., University of Illinois, 1981
Carolina Distinguished Professor

Associate Professors
Sarah Collins Baxter, Ph.D., University of Virginia, 1995
Victor Giurgiutiu, Ph.D., Imperial College for Science, Technology, and Medicine, 1977
Donald A. Keating, M.S., University of Dayton, 1967
Jamil A. Khan, Ph.D., Clemson University, 1988
Undergraduate Director
Xiaodong Li, Ph.D., Harbin Institute of Technology, 1993
Jed S. Lyons, Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology, 1990
Stephen McNeill, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1986
Jeffrey H. Morehouse, Ph.D., Auburn University, 1976
Anthony P. Reynolds, Ph.D., University of Virginia, 1990
David N. Rocheleau, Ph.D., University of Florida, 1992

Assistant Professor
Jeff Darabi, Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1999


The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers programs leading to the Master of Science, Master of Engineering, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in both mechanical engineering and nuclear engineering.


Admission to the M.E., M.S., and Ph.D. programs is competitive. In addition to the general entry requirements of The Graduate School, prospective students must meet more stringent departmental requirements, as described below.

For mechanical engineering degrees, applicants should have a B.S. and a GPA of 3.00 or better from an ABET-accredited mechanical engineering program. Others, if admitted, may be required to take certain undergraduate courses. Applicants from non-accredtied or non-mechanical engineering programs must take the General Test of the GRE and receive a minimum score of 1650 (450 verbal, 700 quantitative, and 500 analytical).

For nuclear engineering degrees, applicants should have a B.S. and a GPA of 3.00 or better from any ABET-accredited engineering program. Applicants from non-accredited or non-engineering programs must take the General Test of the GRE and receive minimum scores of 450 verbal, 700 quantitative, and 3 analytical.

All applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL and score at least 600 (250 computer-based test) or on the University of Cambridge's IELTS Academic Course Type 2 exam. The fall 2002 entering class had an average GRE score of 2114 (597 verbal, 780 quantitative, and 737 analytical) and an average TOEFL score of 607.

Fields of Specialization

Fields of specialization include mechanics and materials, thermal and fluid sciences, dynamics and controls, design and manufacturing, sustainable systems, and nuclear engineering. Current research areas include manufacturing (cutting, joining, simulation), fracture mechanics, experimental mechanics (computer vision methods, impact/fracture/creep testing), computational mechanics, MEMS, nanosystems, smart materials and active sensing, structural damage detection and health monitoring, mechatronics, combustion, solidification, bioreactors, and sustainable design.

Degree Requirements

The Graduate School has general requirements for M.E., M.S., and Ph.D. students that must be met by all degree candidates (including earning at least 30 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree for master's degrees and at least 60 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree for doctoral degrees). The Department of Mechanical Engineering has added requirements (some of which are described below) that must be met before students can complete their degrees. Consult the department for complete, current requirements.

For master's degrees in mechanical engineering: An M.S. student must take a minimum of 24 hours of graduate courses and 6 hours of thesis credits leading to a thesis. An M.E. student must take a minimum of 30 hours of graduate courses. The student must select one course from math, one course from mechanical systems, one course from energy systems, and one course from mechanics and materials. In addition, the student must select a focus area and take at least three courses from that area (this may include one that satisfies the above). If an M.S. student's research area does not require depth in one of the traditional areas, the student, with approval from the advisor and the graduate director, may select three related courses that will constitute a focus area. Approval must be gained before any classes are completed in the focus area course work. The remaining courses are typically selected in a major area of interest within engineering and the basic sciences. These courses need not all have EMCH designations; however, students must have their selection of elective courses approved by their major advisor and the graduate director.

For master's degrees in nuclear engineering: An M.S. student must complete 25 hours of courses and 6 hours of thesis credit leading to a thesis. An M.E. student must complete 31 hours of courses. All students will have a common set of required courses and will choose the remaining courses from a given list.

For doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering and nuclear engineering: A student must take a minimum of 18 hours of graduate courses beyond the master's degree and 12 hours of dissertation credits leading to a dissertation.

Bachelor's/Master's Degrees Accelerated Program

The Bachelor's/Master's Degrees Accelerated Program in Mechanical Engineering allows undergraduate students to complete both the B.S. degree and M.E. or M.S. degree in as few as five years. The use of dual credit--courses that can be used toward both degrees--enables acceleration of the program, reducing the total enrollment of the student by one semester.

Mechanical engineering undergraduate students may apply for approval of an accelerated education plan in the semester in which they will complete 90 hours of undergraduate course work. In addition, students must have a sufficient foundation in mechanical engineering course work to enable them to take graduate-level courses. University and department regulations stipulate that applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.40, both overall and in mechanical engineering courses. Students in the accelerated program must maintain a GPA of 3.40 while pursuing the B.S. degree.

Students applying to this program must submit to The Graduate School a completed "Application for Admission to a Combined Bachelor's/Master's Education Plan" with endorsements of the undergraduate advisor, the department graduate director, and the department chair. The dean of The Graduate School has final authority for approving accelerated education plans. A "Senior Privilege Course Work Authorization" must be submitted for each semester in which one or more of these courses are taken.

Participation in the accelerated program does not require acceptance into The Graduate School. After completing the B.S. degree, students wishing to continue toward a master's degree in mechanical engineering at USC must apply formally to The Graduate School by submitting the appropriate form and required supporting documents. Students in the accelerated program will be eligible for graduate assistantships upon admission to The Graduate School.

Only graduate-level courses (numbered 500 and above, including up to three credit hours of project/research work leading to a master's thesis) satisfying both B.S. and master's degree requirements may be used for dual credit. No more than nine credit hours may be used as dual credit. The graduate courses used for dual credit must be taken during the student's final undergraduate year. No more than nine credit hours (including those obtained under senior privilege and the college's Plan "M" for undergraduate juniors and seniors) may be applied toward a master's degree.

Course Descriptions (EMCH)

  • 501 -- Engineering Analysis I. (3) (Prereq: MATH 242) Engineering applications of solution techniques for ordinary and partial differential equations, including Sturm-Liouville theory, special functions, transform techniques, and numerical methods.
  • 502 -- Engineering Analysis II. (3) (Prereq: MATH 242) Engineering applications of optimization methods, calculus of variations including approximate methods, and probability concepts.
  • 507 -- Computer-Aided Design. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 201, 327) Solid modeling using commercial computer-aided design (CAD) applications package to reverse engineer-manufactured parts. Analytical curves and surfaces, transformation matrices, assembly modeling, and computer tools for analyzing parts and mechanisms.
  • 508 -- Finite Element Analysis in Mechanical Engineering. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 201, 327) Development of the fundamental concepts of finite element modeling. Matrix equation assembly and reduction. Mechanical engineering applications in structures, stress analysis, ideal flow, and heat transfer problems.
  • 509 -- Computer-Aided Manufacturing. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 367 or equivalent) Optimizing computer-controlled machining processes, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), motion control of servomechanisms, CNC machining practices and programming, and robotics.
  • 516 -- Control Theory in Mechanical Engineering. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 330) An introduction to closed-loop control systems; development of concepts, including transfer function, feedback, frequency response, and system stability by examples taken from mechanical engineering practice; control system design methods.
  • 520 -- Technology Planning. (3) (Prereq: Senior or graduate standing) Assessment of technological needs in the organization; coupling research and development to production; selection and evaluation of the technical project/program; technical planning, resource allocation, direction, and control; effective use and development of the engineering staff; the process of and barriers to technological change; technology, values, and policy.
  • 521 -- Concurrent Engineering. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 327) A systematic approach to the mechanical design of products, requiring the concurrent design of all related processes.
  • 522 -- Design Manufacture and Assembly. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 327 and 377) Product design principles for early consideration of issues to shorten product development time and to ensure smooth transition to manufacturing, thus accelerating time-to-market.
  • 527 -- Design of Mechanical Systems. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 327) Summary of mechanical design, project management, product liability and the law, intellectual property ethics and professionalism.
  • 528 -- Product Safety Engineering. (3) (Prereq: senior standing) Design consideration and methodologies for products to ensure adequate safeguards for the prevention of accidents, fatalities, and injuries.
  • 529 -- Sustainable Design and Development. (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor/senior standing) System design and development accomplished with consideration of environmental/ecological, economic, and social constraints. Students will be introduced to sustainable design and accomplish a design project.
  • 532 -- Intermediate Dynamics. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 332) Kinematics and dynamics of particles and rigid bodies using Newtonian mechanics. Work/energy, impulse/momentum, 3-D motion.
  • 544 -- Compressible Fluid Flow. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 354) Application of the conservation laws of a compressible fluid to isentropic flows, flow with friction, and flows with heating or cooling. Shock and expansion waves. Nozzle and diffuser design.
  • 552 -- Introduction to Nuclear Engineering. (3) Radioactivity and nuclear reactions; steady state and transient nuclear reactor theory.
  • 553 -- The Nuclear Fuel Cycle. (3) (Prereq: Consent of instructor) The fuel cycle from mining to waste management including process technology and chemistry. Alternative fuel cycles and the effect of alternative fuels on process technology.
  • 554 -- Intermediate Heat Transfer. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 354) Radiant heat exchange, combined modes of heat transfer, computer techniques in heat transfer analysis and design, environmental heat transfer.
  • 555 -- Instrumentation for Nuclear Engineering. (3) (Prereq or coreq: EMCH 552 or PHYS 511) Basic operational principles of radiation detection and nuclear instrumentation systems. Selection of the proper detector to measure readiation. Statistical analysis of results.
  • 555L -- Nuclear Instrumentation Laboratory. (1) (Coreq: EMCH 555) Use of nuclear radiation detection and instrumentation systems and computers. Data acquisition and analysis.
  • 560 -- Intermediate Fluid Mechanics. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 310, 360) Integral and differential analysis of fluids. Potential flow. Boundary layer analysis. Flow in closed and open channels. Flow dynamics of turbomachinery. Steady and unsteady flows.
  • 561 -- Current Topics in Mechanical Engineering. (3) (Prereq: Consent of instructor) Special topics related to current issues in mechanical engineering. Course content varies and will be announced in the schedule of classes by suffix and title.
  • 571 -- Mechanical Behavior of Materials. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 260, 371) Micromechanisms of the deformation and fracture of structural materials; brittle versus ductile behavior; fatigue and creep; strengthening mechanisms; mechanical testing techniques; methods in analysis of mechanical failures.
  • 572 -- Physical Metallurgy. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 371) Equilibrium and phase relations in metallic systems; kinetics of phase transformations; annealing and precipitation phenomena.
  • 575 -- Adaptive Material Systems and Structures. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 260, 310) A multidisciplinary introductory course addressing the emerging engineering field of adaptive material systems and structures.
  • 584 -- Advanced Mechanics of Materials. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 260) Topics in stress analysis, including unsymmetrical bending, three-dimensional stress-strain; torsion; rotational stress; thick-walled pressure vessels; beams on elastic foundations; and stress concentration.
  • 585 -- Nature of Composite Materials. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 327, 371, MATH 242) Properties of orthotropic laminated composites. Analysis of composite structures. Structure/property relationships. Characterization of modern composite materials. Design considerations.
  • 586 -- Experimental Stress Analysis. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 260) Stress analysis utilizing experimental techniques including transmission and scattered light photoelasticity, strain gauges, and brittle coatings. Introduction to modern concepts of coherent optics in stress analysis with emphasis on engineering applications.
  • 592 -- Introduction to Combustion. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 354, 394) Chemical thermodynamics, reaction kinetics, and combustion phenomena in energy production. Application to the modeling of coal combustion, incineration, and combustion engines.
  • 594 -- Solar Heating. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 290, EMCH 354, or ECHE 321) Solar radiation; review of heat transfer and radiation characteristics of relevant materials; flat plate and focusing collectors; energy storage models for design of solar heating systems; system design by computer simulation; direct conversion by solar cells.
  • 597 -- Thermal Environmental Engineering. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 354, 394) Vapor compression and absorption refrigeration systems. Heat pumps. Properties of refrigerants. Cryogenic refrigeration. Heating and cooling of buildings. Solar heating and cooling systems.
  • 701 -- Methods of Engineering Analysis. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 201) Variational methods of approximation are used with the finite element method to simulate the reliability predictions in design of mechanical systems. The functional relationship between geometry, materials, and physical laws of motion and energy are applied to solid, thermal, and fluid systems.
  • 708 -- Computer-Aided Product Design and Analysis. (3) Integration of computer-aided design and computer-aided engineering for shorter design cycles. Application of solid modeling and computer simulation tools to the design process.
  • 717 -- Advanced Finite Element Methods. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 508) Advanced finite element topics, including dynamic and nonlinear analyses. Computer projects will be assigned.
  • 722 -- Plasticity. (3) (Prereq: ENGR 707) Basic experiments and observations of elastic-plastic material behavior; yield criteria; deformation and flow theories; slip line fields; numerical techniques; one and two dimensional applications.
  • 727 -- Advanced Mechanical Design. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 260) Analysis of stresses involved in mechanical loading under various environmental conditions including failure criteria, impact and fatigue loading, residual stress, contact stress, and experimental stress analysis.
  • 732 -- Advanced Dynamics of Machinery. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 532) Rigid body dynamics of mechanical systems. Dynamics of linkages, gears, and cams. Balancing. Synthesis of mechanisms. Digital computer and computer graphics methods in dynamics.
  • 741 -- Viscous and Turbulent Flow. (3) Viscosity. The Navier-Stokes equation, its formulation and its properties. Exact solutions of the flow at low Reynolds number. Flow at high Reynolds number. The momentum theory of boundary layer. Turbulent flows.
  • 742 -- Advanced Gas Dynamics. (3) Development of the general equations of frictionless flow. Small perturbation theory. Subsonic and supersonic similarity rules. Applications of the method of characteristics to unsteady flow. Low density flow fundamentals.
  • 751 -- Advanced Heat Transfer. (3) Development of the energy equation for convection and some exact solutions. Approximate analysis of the boundary layer by integral methods. Analogy between heat and momentum transfer. Experimental results.
  • 752 -- Thermal Radiation Heat Transfer. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 751) Radiation heat transfer between surfaces of enclosures; diffuse-gray and nondiffuse-gray surfaces. Radiative properties of real materials; metals, opaque nonmetals, transmitting solids. Gas radiation in enclosures.
  • 755 -- Advanced Nuclear Engineering. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 552) Reactor physics including heterogeneous effects, multi-group calculations, reactor kinetics, stability and control, fuel depletion, and burnable poisons.
  • 756 -- Safety Analysis for Energy Systems. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 552) Analysis of the safety of nuclear energy facilities focusing on reliability and probabilistic risk analysis.
  • 757 -- Radiation Shielding. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 552) Radiation interactions and transport, design of radiation shields, point kernel, removal-diffusion, discrete ordinates, and Monte Carlo methods. Dosimetry, buildup factors, radiation sources, and shield materials.
  • 758 -- Nuclear Reactor Systems. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 552) PWR and BWR reactors, reactor system designs for accident prevention and mitigation, protection systems, containment design, emergency cooling requirements, and atmospheric dispersion of radioactive material.
  • 759 -- Waste Management in the Nuclear Industry. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 552) Management of low- and high-level radioactive, hazardous, and mixed waste; transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal techniques. Political and social issues involved with nuclear waste.
  • 764 -- Mechanical Engineering Projects. (3) Guided independent work on current research or design projects, culminating either in a written report or in the construction of a prototype device.
  • 771 -- Design Properties of Plastics. (3) Physical properties of various commercial thermoset and thermoplastic resins. Linear viscoelestic theory and its relationship to measurable mechanical properties of plastics.
  • 790 -- Mechanical Engineering for Teachers I. (3) Introduction to concepts of modeling, dimensional analysis, lift, and drag. For preservice teachers enrolled in a professional program (M.A.T. and M.T. students) and in-service teachers (M.Ed. and Ed.S. students) only.
  • 791 -- Selected Topics in Thermal Systems. (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Special topics related to current research in thermal systems.
  • 792 -- Selected Topics in Mechanical Systems. (3) (Prereq: consent of the instructor) Special topics related to current research in mechanical systems.
  • 793 -- Combustion Processes in Industry. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 592) Development of the physics of turbulent flow, turbulent combustion, atomization, and vaporization of liquid sprays. Design and analysis of industrial combustion processes including incinerators and furnaces.
  • 794 -- Thermodynamics. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 354 and EMCH 394) An advanced treatment of thermodynamics stressing fundamentals. Application of first and second laws; study of properties and criteria for reactive, non-reactive, and coupled systems.
  • 797 -- Research. (1-12) (Pass-Fail Grading)
  • 799 -- Thesis Preparation. (1-12)
  • 847 -- Fluid Systems Design. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 741) Hydrodynamics of one and two-phase flow in ducts. Pressure surges and flow stability. Flow induced vibrations. Numerical techniques. Fluid power systems design.
  • 857 -- Advanced Heat Transfer II. (3) Solution of radiation problems through non-absorbing, non-emitting media. Heat exchanger design.
  • 882 -- Fracture Mechanics. (3) (Prereq: EMCH 584) Linear elastic and elastoplastic description of stress fields around cracks. Discussion of stress intensity factor, strain energy density. Dynamic crack propagation and arrest. Fatigue crack propagation. Fracture toughness testing. Applications of concepts.
  • 883 -- Wave Propagation in Solids. (3) (Prereq: ENGR 707) Formulation and solution of the wave propagation problem in an unbounded isotropic medium. Study of the reflection-refraction problem at a plane interface. Discussion of Rayleigh, Love, and general surface waves. Wave propagation in a bounded isotropic medium.
  • 899 -- Dissertation Preparation. (1-12)

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