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> College of Engineering > M&IE Dept. > ME Program

Douglas S. Cairns, PhD

Douglas S. Cairns, PhD

Mechanical & Industrial Engineering
Montana State University - Bozeman
PO Box 173800
315 Roberts Hall
Bozeman, MT 59717-3800

(406) 994-6050
(406) 994-6292 (fax)


Doug Cairns is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering of the Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Department at MSU. Prior to coming to MSU, he was Manager of Composites Technology at Hercules Materials Company (Now Hexcel) where he conducted research on composite materials applied to primary structure. He has a B.S. and M.S.  from the University of Wyoming, and a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He is a Member of ASME (Composite Materials Subcommittee), AIAA (past Materials Technical Committee Chairman). He is President of the Montana Aerospace Development Association (MADA), and President of the Gallatin Hangar of the Montana Pilots Association. He is a Private Pilot with multiple ratings and endorsements.

His current professional interests include the understanding of advanced materials as applied to primary structure and understanding the materials, manufacturing, and structural performance link for new engineering systems. Dr. Cairns has funding from the Department of Energy and Sandia National Laboratories – Wind and Water Technology. Prof. Cairns is the Chief Engineer for Radius Engineering in Salt Lake City, Utah and consults for several industrial and private sector partners.



    ME 251 Materials Science Laboratory
    ME 458 Aircraft Structures
    ME/ChE 463 Composite Materials

         Composites in Aircraft

         Ilcewicz FAA Talk

         Project Information

         Tsai-Wu Failure Criterion
    ME/ChE 464 Mechanical Behavior of Materials

    EMEC 368 Introduction to Aerospace – Fall 2012

   The Aerospace Minor at MSU – Fall 2012

           Week 1

                  Course Objectives

                  Course Overview

                  Airplane Design

                  Learning Styles

                  Stall Video

           Week 2

                 Chapter 1

                 Chapter 2

                 Chapter 3

                Homework 1

           Week 3

                Homework 2

           Week 4

                 Chapter 4

                 Homework 3

            Week 5

                 Aerospace Cinema

                 Homework 4

            Week 6

                De Havilland Comet

                Chapter 4 Equations

                Boundary Layer notes

                Chapter 5

                Homework 5

            Week 7

                Boeing MSU Materials Presentation

                Homework 6

            Week 8

                Chapter 6

                Homework 7

             Week 9

                 Study Guide

                 Practice Exam 1a

                 Practice Exam 1a Solutions

                    Correct Solution to Problem 5

                 Practice Exam 1b (Exam and Solutions)

                 Aerospace Cinema 2

             Week 10

                 Intro to Aerospace Week 10

             Week 11

                 Test 1 Statistics         

             Week 12

                 Homework 8

                 Course Project

                 SAE Aero Aircraft Intro

                 Boeing Recruiting Talk

                 Boeing Jobs

             Week 13

                 Jet Tour

             Week 14

                 Test 2 Study Guide

                 Follow-Up to 11/27 Lecture

                 Practice Test

            Week 15

                 Introduction to Aerospace Project Parameters

                 Test 2 Solutions

             Finals Week

                  Current Score Statistics

                  Longitudinal Stability


        Other Resources

          Movie Websites

          A Ride Through Space

          Conformal Mapping of Airfoils     

          Richard Pearse 1

          Richard Pearse 2

          Materials and Manufacturing

              Design Allowables

              Material Allowables



                 Introduction to CADEC

          Structural Analysis

              External Loads

              Internal Loads


    ME 533 Transport Phenomena
    ME 550 ME Graduate Seminar
    ME 550  Failure of Materials
    ME 551 Advanced Composite Materials


Dr. Cairn’s research has focused on the applications of advanced materials to primary structures.  This research includes materials development, manufacturing processes, design, analysis, and testing.  In addition, he has developed damage and failure criteria for advanced composites.  He is currently working on manufacturing and testing new materials for wind turbine blade structures, and is characterizing new materials for other aerospace, civil, and marine structural applications.  Other areas of interest include manufacturing process modeling, computational structural mechanics, and design methodology research.  Dr. Cairns works closely with industry, with an emphasis on transferring research to the production environment. Research is at the Ph.D. and M.S. levels.


Current and recent research projects include:

·           Wind Turbine Blades (DOE)

·          Manufacturing

·          Materials characterization

·          Damage tolerant design

         ·          Composite Materials (DOD)

·          Low cost manufacturing

·          New materials for Navy surface ships and aircraft

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Updated: 1/24/2011






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