ME Knowledge Lab

Reimagining the undergrad lab experience

The Penn State Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) has reimagined its undergraduate lab experience to provide the most cutting-edge and impactful education possible! To do so, we have fully renovated and transformed the existing Reber Building basement into the ME Knowledge Lab.

Completed in the fall of 2021, the space will be the epicenter of the undergraduate student laboratory classes. 

In the Knowledge Lab, students will complete an entirely new, required 3-credit lab course, ME 435. Utilizing the cutting-edge laboratory, they will explore fundamental mechanical engineering knowledge, through the lens of solving real world problems.

These applications will include: energy, sustainability, bioengineering, big data, autonomy and robotics and advanced manufacturing.

In the past, the basement was an underutilized 5,700 square foot space with limited student use. Through critical funding from our alumni, industry and friends, the ME Knowledge Lab became a bright, inviting hub for learning innovation.




The 180-degree transformation for the basement resulted in a dynamic, forward-thinking space for students to attend lab classes, work hands-on with the latest technology and collaborate with their peers.

The new approach for lab classes will encourage higher-order thinking skills, instead of "cookbook recipe" style experiments. For example, students complete a project to understand how a smart watch classifies human activity. By reviewing basic statistics for data analysis, applying statistical knowledge to extract features from data, they learn to understand the data input and output relationship.

Another example is a module on how to pre-heat lithium ion batteries for electrical vehicle charging in cold weather. Tying the lab to a current engineering challenge, the students apply heat transfer knowledge, including conduction and convection, and thermal insulation, to design strategies for preheating batteries in cold conditions and compare and explain the difference between numerical prediction and experimental results.






With more than 60 faculty members, 330 graduate students, and 800 undergraduate students, the Penn State Department of Mechanical Engineering embraces a culture that welcomes individuals with a diversity of backgrounds and expertise. Our faculty and students are innovating today what will impact tomorrow’s solutions to meeting our energy needs, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems. We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S.) graduate degrees in mechanical engineering. See how we’re inspiring change and impacting tomorrow at

Department of Mechanical Engineering

137 Reber Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2519