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Research Assistant - Mechanical Engineering Graduate Student

The Dynamic Photo-Mechanics Laboratory at the University of Rhode Island is looking for full-time graduate research students who will be working on structural dynamics experimentation research starting in Spring 2023 or Summer 2023. This position is fully funded by D.o.D. grants and will require the student to perform research involving the experimentation of dynamic loading on materials and structures while taking graduate-level courses towards an M.S. or Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics.

Required Qualifications:
  • A B.S./M.S. degree (or equivalent) in Engineering by December 2020.
  • Wants to pursue an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering or Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Rhode Graduate School.
  • A strong background in structural mechanics, experimental and theoretical mechanics, and data analysis.
  • Experience with experimental research equipment such as data acquisition systems.
  • Experience with programming in MATLAB.
  • Strong motivation to perform cutting-edge research and to publish research articles.
  • Strong aptitude to constantly collaborate with others.
  • U.S. Citizenship (this is required because funding is associated with Export Control CUI projects).

Additional Details About the Research Performed and Expectations:
The Research Assistants’ primary role is to design and conduct experiments that will reveal the dynamic behavior of advanced or novel materials and structures. High-level data processing and some numerical simulations may also be conducted. Emphasis is on materials and structures of interest in underwater naval applications.

The currently funded projects include air and underwater shock wave loadings on structures, the implosion of 3D printed structures due to hydro-static pressure, shock loading of 3D printed polymer structures, dynamic response of inflatable composite structures, and dynamic characterization of coating materials. Materials response is monitored with high-speed cameras at several million frames per second, Digital Image Correlation (DIC), transducers, and pressure sensors. Experiments are conducted using pressure vessels, shock tubes, SHPB, and controlled explosives.
The research assistant need not be an expert in any of those techniques but will quickly gain skills through training in our laboratory. Basic proficiency in MATLAB is required. Some finite element and analytical skills are also preferred but can also be gained during the research experience. The assistant must be a team player who will collaborate with a dozen other graduate students and provide occasional guidance to a handful of undergraduate students who assist with all the experimental activities.

Standard Graduate Research Assistant stipend includes full coverage of all tuition and fees and health and dental insurance benefits, meaning that the entire graduate program, valued at over $30,000 per year, will be at no cost to the student. In addition, a $28,000 annual salary (for the Fall, Spring, and Summer research work) will be paid to the student biweekly. While working in this laboratory, full assistantship coverages for all semesters leading up to the M.S. or Ph.D. degrees can be expected. Housing or food expenses are not covered directly, but the annual salary covers local living expenses. URI does have housing apartments available for graduate students via the URI Graduate Village.