Dean Culver


Dean is a Ph.D. student in the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) department at Duke University. Currently funded by the Navy Undersea Research Program (NURP), Dean is currently researching metamaterial and active field control cloaking technology as well as structural and acoustic analysis through applied nonlinear dynamics.

Dr. Earl Dowell advises Dean as he investigates these fields.  He has ongoing projects in both of his areas of interest. In cloaking, Dean is investigating magnetohydrodynamic control of ionized fluid flow. Under the applied nonlinear dynamics umbrella, he is working on expanding Asymptotic Modal Analysis (AMA) to nonlinear and intricately coupled systems.

Dean did his undergraduate and master’s work at the Rochester Institute of Technology, studying control systems and vibrations in his graduate work. After graduating in 2011, Dean went to work as a design engineer for Bombardier Transportation’s R&D department in Pittsburgh, PA, where he developed innovative ideas for weight and power reduction for Automated People Movers (APMs).

Outside of academics, Dean is a professional ultimate frisbee player, inventor, author, and amateur photographer that enjoys cycling, climbing, and camping. 


Graduate Research Topics

  • Magnetohydrodynamic Wake Control: An application-driven investigation concerning exacting control over solenoid arrays and electric fields in an ionized fluid domain to prescribe or eliminate an object’s wake in flow.
  • Nonlinear Asymptotic Modal Analysis: A prototypical exploration of AMA in nonlinear systems through observing the RMS behavior of various elements of a nonlinear, discrete spring-mass system on a thin plate through various analytical methods.
  • Nonlinear Energy Spreading: An investigation of the frequency-domain energy spreading of nonlinear systems by studying a two-mass nonlinear oscillator system constrained by magnets and compression springs.