The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah is excited to announce the August 2016 arrival of Dr. Owen Kingstedt, one of our newest tenure-track faculty members and a researcher fueled by curiosity who “likes to build things with my hands.”

Originally from outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Kingstedt received his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technology University in 2008 and his master’s as well as a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2011 and 2014, respectively. More recently, Kingstedt was a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) from 2014-2016.

Interested in how things function, his research focuses on the study of the deformation and failure processes that take place in materials under extreme conditions. Kingstedt’s research also involves the design of lightweight, cost-effective structural materials for use in industrial, automotive, defense and aerospace applications.

“Being a mechanics-of-materials experimentalist allows me to ask questions of why materials behave as they do and then build an apparatus to study interesting features,” Kingstedt says. “Currently, the research that I find the most fascinating and attractive is the area of high-strain rate mechanics. Representative events where high-strain-rate loading takes place include vehicle crashes, ballistic impact, and high speed machining. To simulate these events it is necessary to use gas guns, lasers and drop towers for achieving similar loading rates.”

“At the U I look forward to developing courses that put graduate and undergraduate students in the lab to gain direct experience with an array of experimental techniques,” he adds. “Perhaps the most relatable examples of where my research has far-reaching implications is the incorporation of magnesium as a structural material in non-critical components of automotive and aerospace vehicles. The density of magnesium is 35 percent less than aluminum. Thus if aluminum components were replaced with magnesium components, there would be a significant weight reduction.”

Kingstedt says he’s excited to make Utah his new home.

“Between the vibrant faculty, excellent campus, and the beautiful mountains,” says Kingstedt, “the U has a strong momentum in both teaching and research; factors which were pivotal towards my decision to join. Plus, beyond the walls of the U, Salt Lake City is the heart of the world’s greatest outdoor playground. Combined these make this the perfect place to both work and play. A bit selfishly, I am beyond excited to cross country ski at Soldier Hollow!”

Kingstedt was an avid cross country skier in high school and attended Michigan Tech, which holds the crown as one of the snowiest universities in the nation. And now he’s living in the Wasatch Front, famous for having the Greatest Snow on Earth!

To learn more about Dr. Kingstedt and his research visit