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Mechanical Design



Research in the area of mechanical design includes:

  • experimental and theoretical modeling of constitutive behavior
  • friction
  • springback of sheet metal

Past research included an elastic-plastic mathematical model presented for sheet metal flow subjected to strain rate effects during cyclic bending under tension. The models determined the stress, strain, strain rate, flow profile geometry, springback and residual stresses. Current work includes forming and springback behavior of advanced high-strength steels, with potential for automotive weight savings, which translate into savings in gasoline consumption. Refer to for recently published results.

Research requirements included the design and manufacturing of unique testing devices. These included pure bending and stretch bending devices, which allowed further developments in friction, constitutive equations and springback analysis. Research in friction includes the effect of lubricants, sheet surface textures and die materials.

Research in the area of energy includes a new concept of a solar engine. This consists of a simplified solar concentrator and a simplified concept of a rotary engine operating in temperature differences. Rather than focusing on a highly efficient engine concept, this approach focuses on a system with a low cost per kilowatt throughput. Potential for low costs are explored in the design of an engine with few moving parts, a simplified collector and a suitable energy transfer design unit between the sun concentrated energy beam and the rotor.


L. R. Sanchez, Modeling of springback, strain rate and Bauschinger effects for two-dimensional steady state cyclic flow of sheet metal subjected to bending under tension International Journal of Mechanical Sciences. Nov., 2009,

L.R. Sanchez, A Theoretical – Experimental Method to Determine Bauschinger Effects on Sheet Metal under Bending Reversals, Proceedings of the International Deep Drawing Research Group, (IDDRG 2009) International Conference, pp. 373-384

Experimental testing of lubricants, sheet metal textures, tool and die materials. Sponsored by GM Co.($ 141246), 2002-2007

Design of experimental testing device for China Steel, Taiwan, ($103,454),  2005-06

Design of testing equipment for US Steel, Chrysler Co. and GM Research Labs ($ 190 000)

L. R. Sanchez, “Characterization of a Measurement System for Reproducible Friction Testing on Sheet Metal under Plane Strain”, Journal of Tribology International 32 (1999) 575-586, 2000

L.R. Sanchez, “A New Cyclic Anisotropic Model for Plane Strain Sheet Metal Forming “, International Journal of Mechanical Sciences. 42 (2000) 705-728, 2000

Faculty Information

L. Rafael Sanchez, PhD, PE

Associate Professor
Phone: 303-556-2361
Fax: 303-556-6371

Research Interests:

  • Sheet metal forming
  • Bulk metal forming
  • Mechanical design, solid modeling, rapid prototyping
  • Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T)
  • Experimental modeling, PC-based data acquisition systems, uncertainty analysis


The laboratory for research in mechanical design includes test devices with flexibility to run various tests under monitored conditions of load, speed, displacement and temperature. It includes an assortment of sensors and various data acquisition systems. Specialized tests are used for the experimental monitoring of sheet metal under pure bending, bending under tension and friction, among other parameters.

Related Courses

  • MECH 4115 / MECH 5115 Plasticity and Creep
  • MECH 3027 Mechanical Measurements (Mechanical) Systems and MECH 3028 Laboratory
  • MECH 5248 / MECH 4248 Prototyping Techniques in Mechanical Engineering

For complete, up-to-date course descriptions, visit the CU Denver academic catalog and search for the course numbers listed above.