Monday, December 1, 2008

Raul Baragiola Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

December 1, 2008 — UVA Today by Josie Pipkin

The International Committee on Atomic Collisions in Solids has presented University of Virginia engineering professor Raul Baragiola a lifetime achievement award for his work on ion-solid interactions.

Baragiola, the Alice and Guy Wilson Professor of Engineering Physics and Materials Science in the U.Va. School of Engineering and Applied Science, holds degrees from the Instituto Balseiro, Argentina, and has served as a faculty member of engineering physics since 1990, first in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics and then in Materials Science and Engineering at U.Va. His multidisciplinary research interests are in the areas of atomic physics, solid state physics, chemical physics, and astrophysics and space sciences.

"Many people think of physics as a subject only, but it is, in fact, a method as well," Baragiola said in an interview that appeared in Libra, a publication of the University of Virginia Library. "The method is to define the simplest elements of a problem and then to 'build up' to get a whole picture. This is why the methods of physics have applications in a wide array of subjects, even those that are outside science."

A man with an avid curiosity, Baragiola describes himself as "someone who is always looking for questions," and he is particularly fascinated with the initial moments in research when the beginnings of an idea form.

Baragiola's current research focuses on the properties of condensed gases — ices — in the outer solar system and interstellar space to understand observations made by telescope and spacecraft. Since 1990, he has been a member of NASA's Cassini mission, which is currently touring Saturn and its moons.

Another topic of interest is space weathering of asteroids and the chemical alteration of their surface due to exposure to the space environment. In surface science, his research has focused on understanding mechanisms for electronic excitations in metals, semi-metals and insulators.

He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Physics (London). He previously held the Iberdrola Chair at the Universidad Autonoma de Madris and received the Interamerican Prize in Exact Sciences from the Organization of American States and the Argentina National Physics Prize. He was the co-chairman of U.Va.'s Faculty Forum for Scientific Research in 2007-08, and this summer delivered the Lindhard Lecture at the International Conference on Atomic Collisions in Solids, where he was presented with the lifetime achievement award.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

U.Va. Engineer Rob Kelly Contributes to Design of Pentagon Memorial

September 10, 2008 — UVA Today by Fariss Samarrai

In the late summer of 2003, Rob Kelly, a University of Virginia professor of materials science and engineering, was asked by former Engineering School dean Ed Starke to sit in on a meeting with the designers of a planned memorial to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon.

Kelly, like Starke, has extensive knowledge of the properties of metals. The designers had some questions about corrosion.

"I was startled at how young they were," Kelly said of the designers, Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman. "They looked like they were just out of college."

They were, in fact, just out of graduate school at Columbia University, and had recently won an international competition to design the memorial. Their design beat out about 1,100 other entries submitted by architects from around the world.

Beckman and Kaseman proposed a park-like memorial next to the Pentagon wall where the plane struck. The memorial would consist of 184 streamlined metal benches — one for each person who died in the Pentagon attack — inscribed with their names. The benches would be set over individual reflecting pools.

"I was stunned by the beauty of their vision," Kelly said.

Beckman and Kaseman needed to select a metal for the benches that would be highly resistant to corrosion, would shine like chrome for at least 100 years and would not break their budget, which would be funded by private donations.

"This was a classic engineering problem," Kelly said. "Selecting a metal is like selecting a fabric. There are an enormous number of options and considerations. The best solution from one perspective may not be ideal from another.

"Over time, after reviewing countless possibilities, we ultimately selected a type of stainless steel that could be cast according to the designers' specifications, within their budget, and would keep its highly reflective luster and clearly engraved names through the generations."

The world will see the results Thursday, when the memorial is dedicated. About 6,000 people, including family members of the victims, will attend the ceremony. Kelly will be among them.

Afterward, for the first time in the history of the Pentagon, the grounds will be open to the public 24 hours a day so visitors may pay their respects at any time.

"It has been a true honor to work on this project," Kelly said. "It is my hope that the families of the victims, as well as all visitors to the memorial, will find it as a place for remembrance and solace for a very long time to come."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ashley Lucente chairs Graduate Seminar at Gordon Research Conference in Corrosion

The Gordon Research Conference Graduate Seminar in Aqueous Corrosion was held July 19-20 2008 at Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH. 

Chaired by Ashley Lucente of the University of Virginia and Vi 2014 ce Chaired by Jan Wielant of Vrije Universiteit in Brussel, Belgium, the Aqueous Corrosion Conference was part of the larger GRC theme of "Mechanisms, Methods, and Models.

Topics covered included atomistic, stochastic, and finite element models, metal electrolyte interfaces, localized corrosion processes and extrapolation of accelerated corrosion tests to 'lifetime' predictions as well as variety of techniques and methods.

The first Gordon-Kenan Graduate Research Seminar allowed graduate students, post docs and young industrialists to share in the GRC experience and participate in the main conference that followed.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Navy Researcher Elissa Bumiller Tackles Corrosion 'In the Fleet'

Elissa Bumiller awarded SMART scholarship and grants from Navy and DoD Corrosion Office

CorrDefense by Cynthia Greenwood

Thanks to three DoD agencies, a talented Navy engineer is realizing the dream of anyone working in government — to take a hiatus from work and return to school full-time.

In July 2007, DoD awarded Elissa Bumiller the SMART scholarship. (SMART, a Defense Scholarship for Service program, stands for "Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation.") Further, after receiving grants from the Navy and DoD Corrosion Office, Bumiller became free to ramp up her graduate studies, attend classes full-time, and make headway on her dissertation. Today she is pursuing a doctorate in materials science and engineering at the University of Virginia (UVA).
Elissa Bumiller

As a mechanical engineer, Bumiller has performed corrosion research and focused on the corrosion characterization of naval alloys at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Carderock Division, for five years.

"At Carderock, we offer the chance for our 'stars' to take extended term training," explained Rich Hays, manager of the facility's Corrosion Research and Engineering Branch. "We pay their full salary and send them on a full university scholarship."

Throughout her tenure at NSWC's corrosion lab, Bumiller has conducted corrosion testing on aluminum alloys in different environments. She has also tested novel aluminum anode materials, while contributing to other coatings and cathodic protection projects. At the master's-level, her research centered on the contamination of electronic assemblies, particularly as regards corrosion.

Bumiller is conducting doctoral research under Robert Kelly, a professor of Materials Science and Engineering at UVA, a NACE International fellow, and a recognized expert in localized corrosion. Specifically, Bumiller is studying the insidious problem of sensitization in 5XXX series aluminum alloys. "This is a problem that is difficult to detect when the alloy is in service," Bumiller explained. "With Dr. Kelly, we are developing an electrochemical test for detection of sensitization in aluminum similar to the electrochemical potentiokinetic reactivation test for stainless steels."

As a member of NACE, Bumiller also serves as vice chairperson of the Marine Corrosion strategic technology group. Bumiller completed UVA's one-year residency requirement from August 2007 through May 2008. She is now preparing for her PhD qualifying exams in August and her oral comprehensives in September.

"I'm extremely excited to be working on this study," Bumiller said. "I feel the research I'm doing will help the naval fleet in huge ways." Bumiller adds that she is indebted to the SMART program, administered by ASEE (American Society of Engineering Education), the DoD Corrosion Office, and the Navy.

"The support of these three agencies has enabled me to continue my education and conduct research on real issues encountered by the fleet," Bumiller said. "I realize what a truly outstanding opportunity I have been provided and feel very honored to be a part of such a great organization."

DoD Investment in Training Provides Immeasurable Impact

"Investing in young people who will take the place of older Navy professionals is important," said Hays. "Our goal is to keep Elissa around for many years to come and encourage her to stay in the government. If we can make one person inside government smarter and more knowledgeable about corrosion, we can create a much bigger impact on government and industry, over the long term, than we would by developing a new paint system."

Hays added: "Having a government expert like Elissa available to help the design and maintenance community specify a solution to a materials problem, or detect a potential problem, is extremely important. The positive impact she'll have is immeasurable but huge. In the long-term it will undoubtedly be significantly larger than any ROI (return on investment) from other corrosion projects."

Hays also commended the DoD Corrosion Office community of experts — known as the Corrosion Prevention and Control Integrated Product Team — and their willingness to support candidates like Bumiller and other next-generation corrosion researchers.

"We're hoping that leaders of the DoD Corrosion Office will continue to provide this type of support," Hays added. "It's a great retention tool for, and a wise investment by government."

Santhana Eswaramoorthy selected 2008 recipient of the Gwathmey Memorial Award

Santhana Eswaramoorthy won this years Gwathmey Memorial Award for his work in surface science, the results of which were published in the journal Science.

The title was:
"In Situ Determination of the Nanoscale Chemistry and
Behavior of Solid-Liquid Systems" by Santhana K. Eswaramoorthy, James M. Howe, Govindarajan Muralidharan.

This is the highest recognition given to a graduate student for demonstrated achievement through a dissertation or literature paper, as well as for strong career potential in fundamental science.The award carries a $5,000 prize.

Material Scientist Leland Melvin selected for Space Shuttle Discovery's STS-129 Mission

Congrats to Leland Melvin, a U.Va. alum (MSE ‘91), who was just named to the NASA Crew for Space Shuttle Discovery’s STS-129 Mission — a space shuttle launch targeted for October 2009.

Melvin flew as a mission specialist on the STS-122 mission in 2008. He was born in Lynchburg, Va. Melvin earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Richmond and a master’s degree in materials science engineering from the University of Virginia. He was selected as an astronaut in 1998.

For more on Melvin, here’s a link to his official NASA bio. Fun fact: Melvin was drafted in the 11th round of the NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions in 1986.

Derek Thomas Places First at the 2008 ICPEPA Conference.

Derek Thomas (Aero ’08) received the Outstanding Poster Award at the International Conference on Photo-Excited Processes and Applications (ICPEPA 2008) in Sapporo, Japan last week.

Derek was the only undergraduate student competing for the award with more than 20 graduate students from many countries.Conducting research under Leo Zhilgelei's Computational Materials Group, he was completing research started as an undergraduate while here at the University of Virginia. Derek will return to Japan this week as one of only a handful of students to be awarded a scholarship to study with the University of Tokyo’s Mechanical, Electrical and Engineering Materials International Graduate Program.

Jen Warner wins "Best in Class"

Jen Warner won best in class for her poster presented at the 7th International Conference on Fatigue Damage in Materials held last week in Hyannis, MA. As judged based on conferee voting, her poster was a runner up for best of conference, with 20 entries in her class and 60 posters presented overall.