Robert Prins image


Professor, Engineering; Assistant Department Head
Contact Info

  • Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech in 2005
  • M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Virginia in 1996
  • B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech in 1993
Specializations and Research Interests

Professor Prins is an active participant in the continued development and delivery of two required courses: ENGR 212 Statics and Dynamics, and ENGR 314 Materials and Mechanics. His current efforts in ENGR 212 include development of hands-on activities related to the topic of Frames and Machines. Prins’ current efforts in ENGR 314 include development of laboratory activities in which students apply processes to different grades of steel and observe the effects on material properties and microstructure. He served as advisor to several vehicle-based capstone projects including the Shell Eco-Marathon team (Professor Robert Nagel) and development of electric vehicles. He also teaches an elective in Solid Mechanics that includes a lab component focused on installation and application of strain gages.

Prins directs independent projects related to vehicle technology as well as materials. Current/recent vehicle-related projects include development of a bench-top electric vehicle system, packaging and management of a 42 cell high energy density battery pack, and an Arduino-based on-vehicle data acquisition system. Current/recent materials related projects include development of steel processing and metallography capability at JMU, exploration of effect of process parameters on the properties and structure of materials, and development of fixtures for fatigue testing of 3D printed plastic parts.


Before returning to academics to pursue his Ph.D., Prins worked for five years at Perceptron Inc. in the roles of Applications Evaluation Engineer and Product Engineer in the field of machine vision, followed by one year as a suspension engineer at Visteon Inc., an OEM for the automobile industry. He was a faculty member in the Mechanical Engineering Technology program at Virginia State University before coming to JMU.

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