Advanced Materials Machines

What is it?

In the Advanced Materials Machines thread, students will explore the novel materials, technologies, and processes that will define the future of fabrication and manufacturing.

What will I learn?

Students will learn about the tools of additive and advanced manufacturing: 3D printing, powder and casting processes, advanced polymer processing approaches, and more. They will then apply this knowledge to specific projects: aerospace, electronics, automotive, energy, healthcare, or any other domain in which they have an interest. Along the way, they will discover how to scale up materials-intensive manufacturing enterprises from prototyping to full production.

Students in the Advanced Materials Machines thread will:

  • Study the fundamentals that govern the performance of materials used in various manufacturing processes and the transport phenomena associated with using them
  • Learn the design methods, machine controls, and the application of advanced processes to meet industry needs
  • Develop and implement novel and scalable manufacturing processes that meet fundamental thermodynamics, mechanics, and design constraints
  • Acquire the ability to address the challenges of new manufacturing processes, including automation, process control, near net shape processing, and rapid prototyping

What is this thread’s “new machine and system”?

The new machines within this thread are manufacturing processes (and equipment) that:

  • Let engineers prototype new materials and/or processes
  • Let manufacturers produce parts with close to near net shape, with a focus on additive manufacturing and related processes (i.e. printing or powder-based methods; including metals, polymers, and cements, etc.).
  • Enable adaptive production (highly responsive) that can manufacture products and use processes with improved performance
  • Allow engineers to understand the systems implications of changes within advanced manufacturing processes

Who do I talk to?

For more information about the Advanced Materials Machines thread, please contact

  • Elsa Olivetti, faculty lead and assistant professor of materials science and engineering:
  • John Hart, professor of mechanical engineering:
  • Justin Lavallee, Lead Technical Instructor:
NEET Research


The Advanced Materials Machines thread is of specific interest to students majoring in Courses 2, 2-A, 3 or 3-A or in other technical majors(flex degrees). Core requirements, sample subject selections, and suggested electives are listed below, but we encourage interested students to contact one of the thread’s faculty leads for class selection and advising.

Core requirements for this thread include projects, seminars, and foundation subjects.


The project subjects in Advanced Materials Machines are:

  • Sophomore Fall: 3.007/22.03 Introduction to Materials and Mechanical Design. Focuses on design thinking, rapid prototyping, overcoming fixation, and optimizing solutions within design constraints as applied to ideas relevant to materials science and mechanical engineering. Includes hands-on introductions to modern, rapid prototyping tools in the context of a design problem, followed by discovery-based labs illustrating manufacturing concepts. Culminates in a student-directed making experience (6 units).
  • Junior Fall: 2.008 Design and Manufacturing II. Integration of design, engineering, and management disciplines and practices for analysis and design of manufacturing enterprises. Emphasis is on the physics and stochastic nature of manufacturing processes and systems, and their effects on quality, rate, cost, and flexibility. Topics include process physics and control, design for manufacturing, and manufacturing systems. Group project requires design and fabrication of parts using mass-production and assembly methods to produce a product in quantity. Six units may be applied to the General Institute Lab Requirement. Satisfies 6 units of Institute Laboratory credit. Enrollment may be limited due to laboratory capacity (12 units).
  • Junior Spring/Senior Fall: 3.042 or 2.013/4 or a SuperUROP in materials and manufacturing
    • 3.042 Materials Project Laboratory. Student project teams design and fabricate a working prototype using materials processing technologies (e.g. SolidWorks 3D design software, computer numerical controlled mills, injection molding, thermoforming, investment casting, powder processing, 3D printing, physical vapor deposition) appropriate for the materials and device of interest. Goals include using MSE fundamentals in a practical application; understanding trade-offs between design, processing, and performance and cost; and fabrication of a deliverable prototype. Emphasis on teamwork, project management, communications, and computer skills, with extensive hands-on work using student and MIT laboratory shops. Teams document their progress and final results by means of written and oral communication (12 units).
    • 2.013 Engineering Systems Design (of Manufacturing Systems; a section within 2.013): Focuses on the design of engineering systems to satisfy stated performance, stability, and/or control requirements. Emphasizes individual initiative, application of fundamental principles, and the compromises inherent in the engineering design process. Culminates in the design of an engineering system, typically a vehicle or other complex system. Includes instruction and practice in written and oral communication through team presentations, design reviews, and written reports. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Enrollment may be limited due to laboratory capacity (12 units).
    • 2.014 Engineering Systems Development: Focuses on implementation and operation of engineering systems. Emphasizes system integration and performance verification using methods of experimental inquiry. Students refine their subsystem designs and the fabrication of working prototypes. Includes experimental analysis of subsystem performance and comparison with physical models of performance and with design goals. Component integration into the full system, with detailed analysis and operation of the complete vehicle in the laboratory and in the field. Includes written and oral reports. Students carry out formal reviews of the overall system design. Instruction and practice in oral and written communication provided. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Enrollment may be limited due to laboratory capacity (12 units).
  • Senior Spring: 2.S981 Special Subject in Mechanical Engineering. Senior project with a focus on innovation around an advanced manufacturing process aligned with a student’s interests, for example, additive manufacturing (12 units).


Speaker series, career input, and hands-on activities
(3.006, 3 units per semester)

Foundation Subjects

3.012 Fundamentals of Materials Science and Engineering

2.001 Mechanics and Materials I

3.044 Materials Processing or 2.005 Thermal-Fluids Engineering I

3.032 Mechanical Behavior of Materials or (2.001 Mechanics and Materials I and 2.002 Mechanics and Materials II)

Sample Subject Selections

Example: Course 3-A

  • Required: 18.03, 3.012, 2.003, 3.022
  • Recommended: 2.001, 3.016
  • NEET Project: 3.007 (fall, 6 units)
  • NEET Seminar: 3.006 (fall, spring, 3 units each)
  • Additional foundational concept courses in major (if accelerated), as planned with advisor

Example: Course 2-A

  • Required: 18.03, 2.001, 2.003
  • Recommended: 3.012, 2.086, 3.022
  • NEET Project: 3.007
  • NEET Seminar: 3.006 (fall, spring, 3 units each)
  • Additional foundational concept courses in major (if accelerated), as planned with advisor

Want to go further?

Some suggested electives (these are not required, and are not part of the core requirements for this thread):

Please note that any subjects listed above may change depending on departmental requirements.

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