Hilary Bart-Smith

Hilary Bart-Smith


Office: MEC 311
Telephone: (434) 924-0701
Fax: (434) 982-2037
E-mail: hb8h@virginia.edu



Hilary Bart-Smith joined the University of Virginia faculty in the fall of 2002. She received her B.Eng. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland and her S.M. and Ph.D. in Engineering Sciences from Harvard University. Dr. Bart-Smith came to UVA from Princeton University, where she was a post-doctoral Research Associate at the Princeton Materials Institute.

Since joining the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering faculty at the University of Virginia in 2002, Bart-Smith has founded the Multifunctional Materials and Structures Laboratory (MMS Lab) and the Bio-inspired Engineering Research Laboratory (BIER Lab), and generated over $10M of research funding.

Research Interests

  • High authority morphing structures—statically and kinematically determinate structures/ tensegrity structures
  • Ultra light multifunctional materials (e.g. stochastic foams, lattice structures)
  • Bio-inspired engineering design—biomechanics of batoid rays, artificial muscle actuators, underwater sensors, synthetic central pattern generators
  • Electroactive and electrostrictive polymers
  • Nanoporous thin films—nanoporous shape memory alloy films
  • Deployable space structures


  • Ph.D., Engineering Sciences, 2000, Harvard University
  • S.M., Engineering Sciences, 1997, Harvard University
  • B.Eng. (1st Class), Mechanical Engineering, 1995, University of Glasgow

Professional Experience

  • Associate Professor Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of Virginia, 2007-present.
  • Assistant Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of Virginia, 2002-2007.
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, Princeton Materials Institute, Princeton University, 2000-2002.

Honors and Awards

  • Pi Tau Sigma Certificate of Appreciation for outstanding contributions to Mechanical Engineering Students of the University of Virginia, 2007
  • David and Lucile Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, 2003
  • NSF CAREER Award, 2003, “Development of a Biologically Inspired Morphing Structure”
  • ASEE Frontiers in Education New Faculty Fellow, 2003
  • University Teaching Fellow, University of Virginia, 2003-04
  • Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, Harvard University, 1998, 1999
  • The Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Fellowship Award - J M Lessells Scholarship, 1995
  • "Frederic Barnes Waldron Best Student Prize" in Mechanical Engineering by the Institute of Mechanical Engineering, 1995
  • George Russell Prize for Engineering, 1995
  • Agnes Rhind Bursary for Excellence in Mechanical Engineering, 1994
  • Matthew A. Muir Bursary award for Excellence in Engineering, 1993
  • BASF Fellowship 1992-1995

Professional Service

  • Member of organizing committee for the National Academy of Engineering 2010 Indo-American Frontiers of Engineering Symposium.
  • Panel reviewer for the National Academies: AFOSR Mechanics Proposal Review Panel
  • Panel reviewer for: NSF Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) Program and Department-Level Reform Program.
  • Reviewer for: ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, ASME Journal of Applied Mechanics, Journal of Materials
  • Research, International Journal of Solids and Structures, Scripta Materialia
  • Selected to participated in the National Academy of Engineering’s Tenth Annual Symposium on Frontiers of Engineering
  • Organizer of Materials Symposium on Nanoporous Materials for ASME IMEC Congress and RD&D Expo, Seattle, WA, USA 2007
  • Organizer of Materials Symposium on Novel and Adaptive Materials and Structures for ASME IMEC Congress and RD&D Expo, Chicago, IL, USA 2006
  • Organizer of Materials Symposium on Novel and Adaptive Multifunctional Materials Structures for ASME IMEC Congress and RD&D Expo, Orlando, FL, USA 2005
  • Co-organizer of Aerospace Symposium on Multifunctional Materials for ASME IMEC Congress and RD&D Expo, Orlando, FL, USA 2005
  • Member of Program Committee for Active Materials: Behavior and Mechanics, SPIE 13th International Symposium on Smart Structures and Materials


  • MAE 200L Mechanics Familiarity Lab: a second-year undergraduate lab to introduce students to basic materials, instruments, tools.
  • MAE 231 Mechanics of Materials: this second year course serves as the introduction to fundamental mechanics concepts for undergraduates in Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, and covers stress, strain, energy concepts, etc.
  • MAE 331 Aerospace Structures: third year course that introduces students to advanced topics in strength of materials and stress analysis, with specific reference to the types of structures found in aerospace applications.
  • MAE 491/492: a senior design course that teaches undergraduate students the design process by actually engaging in design activity that results in useful and novel products. Specifically, students were tasked with designing instructional materials for introducing engineering concepts and the engineering design process to middle school students.
  • AM/APMA/CE/MAE 602 Continuum Mechanics: a first-year graduate course that introduces students to the concept of continuum mechanics.