What we do
Matt Brake joined Rice University in 2016 after working at Sandia National Laboratories for nine years. Before Sandia, he received his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in 2007. Matt has been elected to several leadership positions, including as the chair of the ASME Research Committee on the Mechanics of Jointed Structures, the vice-chair of the Nonlinear Dynamics Technical Division of SEM, and as the vice-chair of the ASME Technical Committee on Vibration and Sound. He is a recipient of the 2012 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the NSF CAREER Award, the 2018 C.D. Mote Jr Early Career Award. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Much of Matt’s career has focused on developing large-scale collaborations and supporting graduate student education. He founded and directed both the Tribomechadynamics Research Camp at Rice University and the Nonlinear Mechanics and Dynamics (NOMAD) Institute at Sandia National Laboratories. In 2019, he co-founded the Additive Manufacturing, Performance, and Tribology (AMPT) Center at Rice University, which is focused on large-scale industrial-academic collaborations. His primary research interests are in interfacial mechanics, tribology, additive manufacturing, surrogate modeling, uncertainty propagation, nonlinear dynamics, and data-driven experimentation.
Ben Pacini is a Senior Member of Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories in the Structural Dynamics department. He joined Sandia in 2011 immediately after graduating from Oklahoma State University with an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering. While his graduate studies focused on control systems engineering, Ben has grown into his role as an experimentalist in structural dynamics through real-world application, training, and education. His primary research areas are nonlinear structural dynamics, experimental methods, and bolted joints testing. Additionally, since 2016 he has enjoyed (and continues to enjoy) his role as a mentor for the Matt-Brake-created-but-Sandia-hosted Nonlinear Mechanics And Dynamics (NOMAD) institute. He enjoys spending time with his wife and three young boys in his spare time, which means he actually doesn’t have any spare time. However, he usually manages to get in some trail running, playing American football, and, just as importantly, watching American football (go Broncos!).
Matt Allen is a Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Brigham Young University. Before that, he taught for 15 years in the Department of Engineering Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from BYU, M. S., and Ph.D. degrees from Georgia Tech in 2005 and was a post-doc at Sandia National Laboratories. He has developed robust experimental/analytical substructuring methods, a new framework for identifying linear time-periodic systems, continuous-scan laser vibrometry methods, and model updating techniques for geometrically nonlinear systems based on nonlinear normal modes. His work is recently concerned with reduced-order models for structures with energy dissipation due to friction such as bolted joints and thin structures such as aircraft skin panels that exhibit geometric nonlinearity. He enjoys playing sheep’s head (Bavarian card game, ice cream, and skiing, hiking, biking, or almost anything to do with mountains.
Yum-Ji Chan is an Associate Professor at National Chung-Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan. Although his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Hong Kong centered around active noise control, his studies, including BEng at the University of Hong Kong, MSc (Computational Mechanics) at the Technical University of Munich, and Ph.D. at Imperial College London, are firmly based on structural dynamics. His research interests span theory, simulation, and experimentation of vibration engineering. His specific research interests include computational mechanics, vibration measurement technology, and multiphysics analysis of spindles (the rotor in machine tools). Besides academic value, his work has a strong focus to meet the needs of the industrial sector in Taiwan, particularly precision machine tools manufacturers. He was attracted to vibration engineering because he plays the piano and French Horn in his spare time and wondering how these musical instruments work!
Wolfgang Witteveen is a Professor of Simulation in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. He received his Ph.D. degree in 2007 from the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria. His thesis topic was "Modal based computation of jointed structures." Since then, he has been working, among other things, on model reduction of small-sliding contact as it occurs in joints. Besides this topic, his research focuses on the model reduction and hyper-reduction in general, on simulation of distributed cyber-physical systems and multi-body dynamics.