Dr. Melkote’s research addresses both basic and applied problems in the areas of precision machining, micromachining, and part fixturing/handling. His research in precision machining focuses on the investigation of surface generation mechanisms in processes such as hard turning and grinding. In particular, it is aimed at understanding the role of process variables and material properties on the resulting surface topography, mechanical properties and microstructure and functional properties through experiments and modeling. His work in micromachining focuses on developing models to accurately predict the mechanics of mechanical micro-cutting processes such as micro-grooving and micro-milling. He is also working to develop novel hybrid micromachining processes for creating complex three-dimensional micro-scale features in difficult-to-machine materials. Finally, his work in part fixturing and handling aims at developing a mathematical approach to the design, analysis, and optimization of mechanical fixturing/automated handling devices used in manufacturing and assembly. Such devices include complex fixtures for machining and robotic grasping devices in the handling of thin flexible materials.
Dr. Melkote’s research in these has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology Advanced Technology Program, National Renewable Energy Lab, Caterpillar Inc., Timken, Delphi Corp., GM, Ford, Lockheed Martin, Alcoa Fastener Systems, and others.