Obtaining the Ability to Create New Value through an Inquiring Approach

Centering on mechanics, which serves as the cornerstone of mechanical engineering, we are engaged in education and research that fosters mechanical engineers and researchers who are well versed in theoretical, experimental, and numerical analysis methods to understand a wide variety of physical phenomena, who possess the ability to apply such methods to actual engineering problems, and who can demonstrate their capabilities in the global arena. We develop human resources who can act as research project leaders at universities, research institutes, or corporate laboratories and lead research and development activities to create new value through an inquiring approach.

Educational Program

Our educational program has been designed to enable students to obtain the ability to create new value through an inquiring approach. In other words, we enable students to inquire deeply into critical physical phenomena found in a wide variety of industrial fields related to mechanical engineering from the viewpoints of mechanics and physics, thereby understanding the essence of such phenomena and creating new value. Courses provide students with an understanding of high-level theoretical, experimental, and numerical analysis methods and the essence of a wide variety of physical phenomena to enable them to apply such understanding to real-world engineering problems. We also ensure that students refine their ability to disseminate their ideas to global society and develop the ethics required of engineers and researchers.

Laboratory Information

Thermoenergy Engineering Control of Transport Phenomena
Aiming to develop “next-generation energy conversion devices” such as fuel cells and biofuel cells and improve their performance, our laboratory has been working actively to extract technical issues in various energy devices and solve them through the measurement and analysis of heat and mass transfer and chemical reactions. Specifically, we are experimentally evaluating the water and gas transports in operating polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) and solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) based on the advanced measurement techniques using X-ray and laser, and are developing fuel cell devices that provide high efficiency and high durability. Furthermore, to enhance power densities of lactate biofuel cells capable of generating electric power using human sweat, we are designing and developing microporous carbon electrodes with large reaction interfaces and high impregnation properties using electrochemical measurements.

Research themes: Investigation of internal phenomena and performance improvement of fuel cells
Keywords: Thermal Engineering/Electrochemistry/Fuel Cells/Biofuel Cells/Laser Diagnostics
Both heat and substances can be transported by liquid flows and/or diffusion. This vital physical and chemical transport phenomenon is ubiquitous. The transport phenomenon is observed, for example, inside and outside living organisms, in the environment, in daily use products, and in industrial equipment. It is important to understand the transport phenomena for developing new methods to control the transport phenomena and new products applying the methods. In this laboratory, we focus on heat transfer of flows containing microbubbles or solid particles, heat transfer control using droplets on functional surfaces, and molecular transport through artificial cell membranes. We accomplish this through experimentation and quantitative simulation. We also aim to control the transport phenomena in microfluidic devices to apply to micro-particle trapping and bio-sensing.

Research themes: Development of technology for controlling multiscale thermal-fluid phenomena
Keywords: Frictional drag reduction/Convective heat transfer/Microfluidic device/Cell membrane transport

Advanced Fluid Dynamics and Energy Transfer Fluid Energy Systems
Our lab examines fluid dynamics and energy transfer from a number of perspectives. For example, we research algorithms for computer simulations related to fluidization, algorithm applications, and clarification of the physics of flow that serve as the basis for the technology. This field is classified under computational fluid dynamics (CFD). We aim, however, to go beyond CFD and research comprehensive CFD and a multitude of flow-related motion dynamics. To this purpose, we investigate computational grid generation parallel computations, high-efficiency algorithms, parallel computations, intelligent calculations, visualization, and motion dynamics for a body in a fluid, with the aim of establishing comprehensive simulation technology that integrates all of these techniques.

Research themes: Development of computation for flows around a moving object with complicated deformation
Keywords: Computational fluid dynamics/Umerical airplane/Coupled computation

Problems with fluid-structure interactions are ubiquitous in nature and industry. In mechanical engineering, a fundamental understanding of interactions between fluids and structures—for example, the oscillatory movement of structures caused by a flow, or piston-driven flow behavior—is essential in designing functional and efficient machines. Also vital are a knowledge of the liquid to gas phase changes which can be observed under conditions where fluid pressure is lower than saturated vapor pressure, and the analysis of rarefied gas dynamics. A familiar example of this type of interactive problem can be seen in living organisms, i.e., the interaction between blood (a fluid) and the blood vessel wall (a structure). We reproduce these interactive phenomena through numerical simulations to clarify and address issues for higher energy efficiency in environmental problems, and to provide useful diagnostic information in biological engineering.

Research themes: To address issues for higher energy efficiency through numerical simulations
Keywords: Multi-physics/Biofluiddynamics/Fluid energy
Computational Engineering Mechanics of Materials
In our laboratory, the development of numerical schemes with robustness, intelligence, high-accuracy, high-efficiency, and high-versatility for simulating the various incompressible flow phenomena and these applications are researched. Specifically, we are developing a versatile Cartesian grid approach, i.e., the seamless immersed boundary method, for simulating complicated flow field with/without heat transfer, a consolidated scheme for simulating the multiple flows, a data processing fluid dynamics technique for linking between experiments, and simulations. As applications, among other practical work, we also predict the dissolved oxygen concentration in Lake Biwa (Japan) with an ecosystem model. Our research activities enable students to obtain a strong grounding in the fundamental qualities required of skilled engineers.

Research themes: Development of robust and intelligent scheme for flow simulation
Keywords: Flow simulation/Computational fluid dynamics/Numerical scheme

In designing machines or structures, we need to know the strength of the materials that comprise the component parts. Since the strength of a material is closely related to its structure, we analyze the effects of microstructure and microscopic fracture behaviors of a material, on its strength and rigidity. We are also developing numerical analysis techniques useful for the analysis of the mechanical behavior of the overall mechanical structure.

Research themes: Micromechanics of composites
Keywords: Micromechanics/Composites/Theoretical analysis

Computational Materials Design Smart Structural Systems and Structural Intelligence
In this laboratory, we conduct research into the development of numerical models and simulation schemes that enable us to predict the material microstructures formed through a series of working and heat-treatment processes. Here, we employ a phase-field method as our main numerical model. We also develop the multi-physic and multi-scale models by combining phase-field and other models to reproduce complicated material microstructure formation processes. Highly accurate material microstructure prediction using large-scale supercomputer simulation is our most recent main topic of research.

Research themes: Challenging study to predict and optimize material, structure and morphology by computer simulation.
Keywords: Computer simulation/Material microstructure/Machine structure/Multiphase flow
Based on techniques derived from the basic principles of vibrational dynamics, we research structural systems with intelligent capabilities such as self-diagnostic capacities or the ability to adapt to environmental changes. Specifically, we research 1) the ability to suppress vibrations and noise by embedding sensors and actuators into structures, 2) power generation (energy harvesting) to enable un-utilized energy collection from given environments, and 3) the ability to self-condition monitoring or structural health monitoring. We are also working to create smart systems with “structurally-embedded intelligence” by exploiting material and structural nonlinearity, passive characteristics, and energy conversion mechanisms in the interaction between materials, structures, and the surrounding environment.

Research themes: Self-condition monitoring of structures and machines/Information processing and adaptive response control by smart structural techniques and materials
Keywords: Smart structures/Smart materials/Vibration control/Seismic isolation/Structural health monitoring/Condition monitoring/Vibration energy harvesting