Mechanical & Aerospace Building, Rm 311
122 Engineer's Way
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Google Scholar Bart-Smith Labs


Professor Bart-Smith joined the University of Virginia faculty in the fall of 2002. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland and her PhD degree in Engineering Sciences from Harvard University. Dr. Bart-Smith came to UVA from Princeton University where she worked at the Princeton Materials Institute with A.G. Evans. 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 and the Bio-inspired Engineering Research Laboratory.

Professor Bart-Smith’s research group is studying the mechanics of lightweight lattice truss structures for their use as load-bearing structures and impact amelioration systems as well as their possible morphing and thermal management capabilities. Secondly, Bart-Smith and her colleagues are using the principles of static determinacy and tensegrity–with their superior mechanical properties such as stiffness and strength–to develop a three-dimensional morphing foil with the propulsive and control capabilities of a manta ray. Through collaborations scientists and engineers at the National Institute of Aerospace, NASA Langley and a grant through the Rising Stars Fellowship program, Bart-Smith is also involved in the area of deployable space structures. This work is also being expanded to look at the problem of morphing wings in aircraft and micro air vehicles. Finally, she is studying the mechanics of electro-active polymers to explore their possible use as artificial muscles within a device with biomimetric properties (those that mimic a biochemical process). These material systems are also being adapted for sensing technology.


B.S. ​Mechanical Engineering, University of Glasgow in Glasgow, Scotland

Ph.D. ​​Engineering Sciences, Harvard University

Research Interests

Biotechnology and Biomolecular Engineering Biomolecular Design, Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering
Bio-inspired systems

Selected Publications

Experimental analysis of deformation mechanisms in a closed-cell aluminum alloy foam. Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, Volume 48, Issue 2. Pergamon. 2000/2/29. A.F. Bastawros, H.I. Bart-Smith, A.G. Evans
Group of researches posing for a photograph and holding a manta ray

Discovery Channel finds UVa's Robotic Manta Rays

Professor Hilary Bart-Smith leads a MURI project (a Multi-disciplinary University Research Initiative) consisting of participants from the University of Virginia, Princeton University, UCLA and West Chester University to create a robotic manta ray.