Francisco Cunha


Programs Taught

Mechanical Engineering and MANE Department


Professor Cunha began his career at General Electric as Edison Engineer and later became a Technical Leader at Pratt and Whitney. During this professional period, Frank developed some of the most advanced aircraft engines in the world for both commercial and military aircraft, culminating in over 100 US patents.  

Professor Cunha developed engineering power plant systems and was responsible for power generation and distribution throughout the State of New Jersey, overseeing the operation of fossil fuel, nuclear pressurized-water and a nuclear boiler-water reactor power plant. He then contributed to the design of the most efficient combined-cycle power plant for Siemens Power Generation.  

Professor Cunha enjoys teaching mechanical engineering courses at RPI ranging from solid-mechanics to fracture-mechanics, fluid-dynamics, turbomachinery, thermodynamics, advanced heat transfer, computational fluid dynamics, and advanced engineering mathematics. He is a RPI senate committee member and an academic advisor to Rensselaer at Work engineering students in the Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering program. 

Other Professional Experiences

  • University of Connecticut – Mechanical Engineering Faculty
  • United Technologies Pratt & Whitney – Technology Leader
  • Siemens-Westinghouse Corp – Principal Engineer
  • General Electric – Edison Engineer to Staff Engineer
  • PSEG – Electric Power Staff Engineer

Other Certificates and Licenses

  • Member of ICHMT, International Center of Heat and Mass Transfer (since 2013
  • ASME K14 Heat Transfer Committee member (since 2005)
  • Fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (since 2005)
  • Associate Editor of ASME International Journal of Heat Transfer (2008 – 2013)
  • Awarded U.S. Patents in the fields of Gas Turbine Technology for Combustors, Turbines, and Afterburners
  • Author of ASME and AIAA papers in the Journal of Propulsion and Power and Journal of Turbomachinery and in ASME IGTI publications
  • Licensed as a Professional Engineer in the State of New Jersey
  • Member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society
Education & Training
  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, New York University, 1995
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology, 1983
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology, 1979


Other Focus Areas

Turbomachinery Development and Turbine Blade Analysis, Advanced Thermodynamics and Energy Systems, Solid and Fluid Mechanics, Computer Modeling and Simulation, Heat Transfer Testing , Slot Cooling, Thermal-Mechanical Fatigue

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