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Research institute brings young scholars from around the U.S. to UNM

June 19, 2019 - by Kim Delker

NOMAD photo

The University of New Mexico School of Engineering is again partnering with Sandia National Laboratories’ Nonlinear Mechanics and Dynamics (NOMAD) Summer Research Institute.

The summer program, which brings together graduate students and researchers from around the USA, including from Sandia and UNM, began June 18 and continues through Aug. 1 at UNM’s Mechanical Engineering Building. The program seeks to tackle research challenges in the field of nonlinear mechanics and dynamics.

Tariq Khraishi, professor of mechanical engineering, is the main UNM partner in this summer program. The collaboration between UNM and SNL over NOMAD has grown stronger in the last two years. Several UNM professors and students are involved in this year’s NOMAD summer program.

The goal of this year’s institute is to improve the way experiments and modeling are done in the engineering sciences. Often, they are performed in isolation from each other, so NOMAD will explore ways in which the processes can be better integrated, improving the outcomes of each, said Robert Kuether, an engineer at Sandia National Laboratories who is organizing the institute.

This year, 20 mostly graduate-level students from around the USA will be working on one of seven technical projects. Each project was organized by mentors from various government, academic or industrial institutions. About 30 mentors will be advising the teams over the summer, Kuether said.

This year’s NOMAD project list is:

  • Mechanics of Bolt Loosening Under Dynamic Loads
  • Investigation of Electrical Contact Chatter in Pin-Receptacle Contacts
  • Force Reconstruction at Mechanical Interfaces
  • Modeling and Experimental Validation of a Pylon Subassembly Mockup with Multiple Nonlinearities
  • Development of Reactive Potentials for Molecular Dynamic Simulations
  • Indentation of Heterogenous Materials: Factors Affecting the Indentation Results and a Comparison to Bulk Material Testing
  • Validation of Puncture Simulations with Various Probe Geometries

This program was started in 2014 by Sandia National Laboratories. The founding SNL members for NOMAD were Diane Peebles and Matt Brake.

NOMAD is a collaborative environment that brings together researchers, experts and students alike, to solve challenging problems related to the field of nonlinear mechanics and dynamics.

The institute is open to graduate students and early-career researchers from the United States. Faculty who would like to get involved or would like more information can contact Kuether at