Walter Bryzik named new mechanical engineer chair

DETROIT - Walter Bryzik, former chief scientist for the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), has been named the new chair of mechanical engineering at Wayne State University.

“Bryzik brings great passion for his new job and the opportunity to influence talented young people who have decided to go into engineering, to share with them his experiences, and the chance for them to make a difference in the world,” said Ralph Kummler, dean of the College of Engineering.

Bryzik rose to the top of the technical civilian rank in the military as chief scientist. He earned the nation’s highest award for science and technology – the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award – given to him personally at the White House in 2004 by President George Bush.

Since 1978, Bryzik has been a full adjunct professor and graduate faculty member, teaching graduate mechanical engineering courses in advanced internal combustion engines, combustion and emissions, heat transfer and system optimization. He performed extensive work in both teaching and research in conjunction with his WSU students.

“I have always liked Wayne State for its variety of students and for the opportunities it offers to everyone no matter their background,” he said. “I want to work with students who want to be here and have been given a chance to excel, and at a place where you don’t have to be Rockefeller to get in, where you are judged by outputs, not inputs.”

Bryzik has spent most of his career involved in all aspects of developing military vehicles -- tanks, humvees, and most recently, developing special purpose vehicles used in Iraq to defeat roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs). His teams worked on improving vehicle performance, durability, and fuel economy, but also shaping their silhouette to protect the soldiers inside against all external enemy threats.

He is perhaps best recognized as the primary originator of the adiabatic engine which does not require intense cooling typically performed by radiators, and uses many unique technical features such as high-temperature ceramic, composite materials and limited cooling system size and weight.

While most of his time has been spent between his family in Grosse Pointe and his work at TARDEC in Warren, he is already familiar with some of the faculty in the WSU Mechanical Engineering Department, including Professor Naeim Henein, director of the WSU Center for Automotive Research. The two have worked closely over the past few decades on many projects, most recently and significantly performing research on diesel engines in extreme cold climates.

Bryzik earned his bachelor’s (1968), master’s (1968) and doctorate (1976) in mechanical engineering from the University of Detroit. In addition, he also earned a master’s in Management and Supervision from Central Michigan University in 1978.

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