1. Orientation and Objectives

The Discipline of Mechanics at Wuhan University (DM-WHU) has always been building itself as “Chinese top and world-renowned discipline”. Toward this end, about 20 to 25 additional outstanding researchers will be employed and cultivated in DM-WHU to establish an excellent faculty team with more than 60 teachers and to build 2 or 3 world-known research teams during “the 13th Five-year Plan” period. The research will be focused on the national strategic demands and frontiers of mechanics such as “behaviors of complex and new materials”, “environment and engineering safety”, “micro-macro-nanometer multi-scale modeling and cross-scale simulation” to gradually build a first-rate mechanics research platform in the broad areas of civil engineering, water conservancy, aerospace, machinery, biomedicine, etc.


The history of DM-WHU could be traced back to the 1950s when the teaching & research division of structural mechanics was established by Sir H. YU (the first grade professor in structural mechanics), Sir Y.-F. Su (the well-known educationist in mechanics), Professor Z.-Z. Yao and G.-D. Feng (experts in hydraulics and soil mechanics, respectively). Since 1956 when the graduate enrolment began, the DM-WHU has been constantly developed into an independent department namely Department of Engineering Mechanics and been formed to be a complete discipline with distinctive features.   


The DM-WHU is the key discipline of Hubei Province, with 3 subordinate disciplines: Engineering Mechanics which is accessible to undergraduates, Solid Mechanics and Fluid Mechanics. In addition, we are authorized to grant MS and PhD degrees in mechanics. There are 38 full-time teaching and research faculties in the DM-WHU, 15 professors, 13 associate professors and 3 associate research fellows. Among them, 12 professors are the supervisors of PhD students. Furthermore, we have 21 adjunct professors, including 2 distinguished foreign experts under the employment of “Prominent Foreign Experts Program”.


2. Strengths and Features

The DM-WHU owns several province-/ministry-/state-level teaching and research platforms such as Provincial Demonstration Center of Mechanics Experimental Teaching, Provincial Key Laboratory of Geotechnical and Structural Engineering Safety, Key Laboratory of Hydraulic Rock Mechanics of the Ministry of Education. With these important platforms, DM-WHU has the distinctive strengths and features in talents cultivation and scientific research, meanwhile it pays much attention to the fundamental and practical academic issues as well as to the relevant cross-disciplinary fields. For example, a plenty of significant achievements have been made in these major subjects, i.e., Smart Materials and Structure Mechanics, Multi-scale Computational Solid Mechanics and Environmental Fluid Mechanics, all of which have provided theoretical and technical supports for numerous state key engineering projects. 


On the other hand, Wuhan University has been continuously supporting and investing in the discipline of mechanics under many specific programs such as “The Reviving Program of Fundamental Disciplines”. With such great support, the Department of Engineering Mechanics has been making large strides. It was authorized to award doctoral degree in the primary discipline of mechanics in 2010 and became the key discipline of Hubei Province three years later. Eight outstanding young scholars joined us from overseas in 2014 and 2015, including Prof. Z.-Q. Zhang and Prof. Z. Liu, thus certainly accelerating the growth of the DM-WHU.


3. Objectives of Talents Cultivation

The DM-WHU attaches great importance to the educational philosophy of “Creation, Innovation and Entrepreneurship”. Taking advantage of the multidisciplinary feature, the DM-WHU aims to cultivate the integrative talents equipped with solid knowledge, proficient skills, global view and strong innovation who are capable of leading in this field in the future. The graduates are expected to grasp the basic theory and systematic and professional expertise of the field, gain international academic view, be familiar with the frontiers and trends of the discipline, and well understand the spirit of innovation. They are also trained to be able to carry out researches in the frontiers of mechanics and solve the complex technical problems in the engineering scope on their own.


4. Disciplinary Orientation Setting

1) Smart materials & structures

This research focuses on the mechanical behaviors of smart materials and structures, including the following five main aspects: (a) multi-scale and multi-field coupling behaviors of phase-change materials; (b) health monitoring of composite materials and structures; (c) biomechanics and simulation (d) multi-scale mechanical behaviors of creep and fatigue of the nickel-based high temperature single crystalline alloys; (e) multi-field coupling deformation and failure of piezoelectric/ferroelectric materials.


2) Multi-scale computational solid mechanics

This direction focuses on the multi-scale behaviors of materials and structures and related mathematical-physical models and numerical schemes, mainly includes the following three aspects: (a) multi-scale modeling and cross-scale simulation of instability phenomena; (b) multi-scale modeling and simulation of mechanical behaviors of heterogeneous materials and granular materials; (3) tensor representation theory of constitutive law and related numerical methods.


3) Environmental fluid mechanics

This direction focuses on the numerical simulation theory and methods of water flow under complex boundary coupling, mainly includes: (a) the basic theory and simulation technique on dynamics of river water and sediment and their applications in river engineering, disaster of water and sediment, waterway studies, etc.; (b) ecological hydraulic model of huge lakes; (c) hierarchical analytical modeling of typical vegetation water system and its mass transports herein; (d) studies on flow structures of river channel with compound cross-section and migration of contaminants.


5. Domestic and Overseas Influence

In recent years, the DM-WHU has attracted more and more attention world-wide and has undertaken numbers of high-profile projects for both academic researches and social services. For instance, 18 projects led by our faculties have been funded by the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) to pursue fundamental researches over the past 5 years. Regarding social services, more than 150 engineering and industrial projects have been undertaken by us with the total funding exceeding 61 million Chinese Yuan (CNY). Prof. Y.-J. Xu’s team has participated in the design and evaluation of numerous large-scale domestic hydropower stations; the design theory for large self-contained coal silo structures proposed by Prof. M.-X. Chen’s team has been adopted by the dozen of renowned electric-power-design institutes; the technique for monitoring the structural health of piezoelectric active sensor developed by Prof. W.-Z. Qu’s team has been employed in many state military projects; the algorithms of viscous damping proposed by Prof. Y.-Q. Cai’s team has been successfully applied in the designs of various dynamic engineering systems; the design methods for structural wind resistance based on wind tunnel tests developed by Prof. S.-G. Liang’s team have been introduced in more than 60 high-rise and long-span structures.


A group of celebrated academic experts are serving the DM-WHU in which Prof. Q.-P. Sun, in particular, won the National Outstanding Youth Science Fund Project twice (class A at 1998 and class B at 2011) and serves as the associate editor in chief of journal Advances in Mechanics. Prof. Sun also works as the editorial board member for 6 international SCI journals such as Archive of Applied Mechanics and International Journal of Solids and Structures. Prof. H. Hu and Prof. Z.-X. Cao serve as the associate editor in chief of SCI journal Composites Structures and International Journal of Sediment Research, respectively. Prof. Y.-J. Xu and Prof. Y.-Q. Cai were elected as the council members of the Chinese Society of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics in 2015. Prof. S. Belouettar, the Standing Committee Member of the European Science Foundation (ESF) -Physics and Engineering Division, and Prof. M. Potier-Ferry, the former chair of French Mechanics Society, are employed in our department under the recruitment of “National Prominent Foreign Experts Program”.


The international collaborations and communications are highlighted here. Over the past 5 years, we have undertaken 7 international collaboration projects including “Sino-Franco” and “Chinese-Luxembourgish” projects, 8 PhD students were jointly trained during the collaborations. In total, more than 100 faculties and students have gone abroad to attend international academic conferences, given lectures in foreign universities and carried out collaborative researches. Over 60 domestic and overseas experts, including Prof. W. Yang (Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences) and Prof. D. Weitz (Harvard University), were invited for short-term visiting or exchanging. Among the entire faculties in our discipline, more than 60% have more-than-1-year overseas experiences. In 2013, we, working together with the Chinese Society of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, hosted an International Conference of Heterogeneous Materials and Structures with more than 140 scholars from 13 countries (including ESI highly cited scientists such as Prof. J. N. Reddy, Prof. E. Carrera, Prof. X.-Q. Feng, Prof. L.-L. Ke and Prof. S. Kitipornchai) attending and giving presentations.    

School of Civil Engineering, Wuhan University
8 South Road of East Lake, Wuchang, 430072, Wuhan, P.R. China.
Tel: +86-27-68772624