Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Efstratios Nikolaidis

nikolaidisProfessor Emeritus

Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering





Research Interests

  • Decision analysis
  • Design decisions under uncertainty
  • Design of composite panels with manufacturing imperfections
  • Random vibrations of propellers
  • Reliability-based optimization
  • Combined Approximations method for efficient reliability analysis
  • Targeted testing for reliability validation
  • Probabilistic Re-analysis


My research efforts focus on two areas: a) reliability design and b) knowledge-based design of automotive structures.

a) Reliability-based design 
All real-life design problems involve uncertainties in the applied loads, geometry and material properties.  In most cases, these uncertainties affect significantly the performance of a new product and can lead to significant loss of money or even catastrophic failure. In automotive and other industries, there are examples of design deficiencies that have gone unnoticed during development because of variability in design procedures and manufacturing processes. These deficiencies, which could have been uncovered, using a reliability-based approach, have cost companies huge amounts in warranty costs. I want to address the need for developing a capability of accounting for uncertainty in design by developing efficient and robust methods for modeling uncertainties and predicting the resulting uncertainty in the performance of a new product. I also want to address the problem of having a limited amount of data about uncertainties, which is encountered in most real-life design problems.

b) Design of automotive structures 
The big three US automotive manufacturers and their suppliers provide one out of ten jobs in the US and produce a sizable portion of the gross national product. It is important to develop design tools that will help automotive manufacturers increase their competitiveness.

In the early design stages, designers need to perform many analyses. In these stages, a product is only vaguely defined. I seek to develop efficient, approximate design tools to help designers make decisions in the early design stages of cars. These tools should:

  • Evaluate the performance and cost of a design almost instantaneously.
  • Operate as experts, telling designers if a particular design is feasible in terms of satisfying manufacturing, styling and packaging constraints. Such tools preserve the knowledge of experienced engineers and assist young engineers to make decisions in the early design stages.

Information Gap Models and Satisficing: An New Approach to Decision Making in the Presence of Severe Uncertainty


My Teaching Philosophy

I am deeply committed to my role as an educator. Educators should teach students both fundamental principles and systematic approaches for learning and problem-solving. I try to show students that methods based on basic principles are more powerful than ad-hoc approaches. My design projects and homework problems help students learn that, first they should understand a problem and then establish a strategy for solving it, instead of using trial-and-error approaches. In the classroom, I use real-life examples to demonstrate that most concepts that the students learn touch our everyday lives. 

Teaching activities:

  • MIME 3300: Design and Analysis of Mechanical Systems 
  • MIME 5690/4690 Reliability
  • MIME 3370: Vibration and Control
  • MIME 3380: Modeling and Control of Dynamic Systems
  • AOE 3054: Experimental Methods
  • MIME 4090: Operations Research
  • MIME 4100/5100: Manufacturing System Simulation
  • MIME 6740: Optimization Theory and Applications
  • MIME 6980: Decision Theory
  • MIME 6980 Powertrain Vibration


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Last Updated: 6/27/22