Jian Cao, Cardiss Collins Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University and Director of the Northwestern Initiative on Manufacturing Science and Innovation, delivered the 2022 S.M. Wu Distinguished Lecture in Manufacturing at the U-M Department of Mechanical Engineering on Friday, September 9th, 2022. Dr. Cao’s lecture, titled “Bring Flexibility and Innovation to Manufacturing Processes,” focused on the integration of fundamental process mechanics, process control, and techniques, including machine learning, to achieve effective and efficient predictions of a material’s mechanical behavior during manufacturing processes.
“I view manufacturing as an integration platform that translates ideas and resources into products used by societies. Current research efforts at our manufacturing group are rooted in advancing new flexible manufacturing processes using the combination of the mechanics-driven and data-driven approaches,” said Dr. Cao.
In her talk, Dr. Cao identified major manufacturing challenges and used two flexible processes (metal powder-based additive manufacturing and rapid dieless forming for producing three-dimensional parts without geometry-specific tooling) as demonstration cases. Her group’s solutions target three notoriously challenging aspects of the manufacturing process: long history-dependent properties, complex geometric features, and high dimensionality of the design space. She stated that more research is necessary to better connect designers with manufacturers.
A recording of Dr. Cao’s lecture is available at this link.
Dr. Cao is specialized in innovative manufacturing processes and systems, particularly in the areas of deformation-based processes and laser additive and subtractive manufacturing processes. She is the Founding Director of the university research center on Manufacturing Science and Innovation at Northwestern (NIMSI). She has co-authored over 230 journal articles, holds nearly 20 patents, and has been the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Materials Processing Technology since 2018. Her major awards include the DoD Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship, the ASME Milton C. Shaw Manufacturing Research Medal, the Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award from ASME and Pi Tau Sigma, the SME Gold Medal, the SME Frederick W. Taylor Research Medal, the ASME Blackall Machine Tool and Gage Award (twice), and an NSF CAREER Award.