Student Highlights: Vincent Petrey


Class:  Senior

Major:  Mechanical Engineering

Vincent Petrey was born and raised in Amarillo, TX, a city with three claims to fame: a 72-ounce steak, a row of old Cadillacs buried in the ground, and the scenic Palo Duro Canyon. Rather than going straight from high school to college, Vincent chose to play junior hockey in New Jersey, Iowa, and eventually Manitoba.

At the end of his hockey career, Vincent returned to school to pursue a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wyoming, where he is now a senior. Vincent loves learning about all things mechanical engineering, specifically solid mechanics, mechanical design, and materials science. In his free time, Vincent can be found outside hiking, running, playing tennis, playing golf, or joining drop-in hockey games at the Laramie Ice Rink.


Vincent currently works as an undergrad research fellow in the Computations for Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Laboratory (CAMML) under Dr. Zhang. His current research focuses on the application of Physics Informed Neural Networks (PINNs) for modeling solid mechanics problems. Solid mechanics provides insight into a material’s or structure’s response to external loadings. This insight helps to determine a variety of valuable information such as if a material will fail and what the mode of failure will be.

The industry standard for solving the governing equations of many solid mechanics problems is Finite Element Analysis (FEA). Vincent’s work involves comparing the accuracy, computational cost, and flexibility of the two techniques by expanding on the extensive work of other students. The goal of his work is to determine whether PINNs provide any advantages over FEA, such as the ability to solve inverse design problems. If this inverse design can be achieved, it could be used to quickly inform design parameters useful in the manufacturing of fiber-reinforced composites.

Preliminary results showing the comparison between (a) FEA and (b) PINN, for simulating a linear elastic composite microstructure subjected to tensile loading in the horizontal direction. The dashed circles show the fibers, while the remainder of the domain is polymer matrix.


Every year, we award fellowships to graduate and undergraduate students attending the University of Wyoming or one of Wyoming’s community colleges in order to provide them with the opportunity to do “real” research. Occasionally, we feature one of these students and their research on this blog. For more information about our student fellowships, visit our College Programs page.