Robert Hyers to Join WPI as Mechanical and Materials Engineering Department Head in January


School of Engineering

Robert Hyers

From Bernard M. Gordon Dean of Engineering John McNeill.

It’s my pleasure to announce the new head of WPI’s Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering—Robert Hyers, an accomplished scholar and teacher in the areas of high-temperature materials, advanced manufacturing, and physics-based modeling of materials processing. He will join WPI in January 2023, succeeding Jamal Yagoobi, who is completing 11 years of distinguished leadership of the MME Department.

Hyers earned his BS in Materials Science and Engineering at MIT in 1992, and his PhD in Materials Engineering at MIT in 1998. 

From 1998 to 2002 he was a staff member at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, where he supported the development of experiments for the International Space Station. He continued that work at the University of Massachusetts, where he has been on the faculty since 2002; he is currently a professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. His current research includes two projects on additive manufacturing by cold spray and three NASA flight projects on the International Space Station. 

During a leave from UMass, Hyers served as president and chief technology officer of Boston Electrometallurgical Corporation, leading a team in scale-up of a technology for high-temperature electrolysis used in extractive metallurgy. Raising over $4.2M in grant funds from NSF, DOE, ARPA-E, and DLA, he directed a successful 1000X scale-up of an electrochemical process for extractive metallurgy from lab to pilot scale. From 2007 to 2011, he was executive director of the UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative. He is currently the owner of RHA Materials, LLC, a company specializing in consultation and contract research on high-temperature materials and materials processing for clients in the aerospace and extractive industries.

Hyers is a fellow of ASM International. In 2012 he was awarded the TMS Brimacombe Medal for sustained excellence and achievements in materials science and engineering through process modeling and experiments on the nature and properties of liquid metals. His teaching and advising awards include the 2008 Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International, UMass Amherst Mechanical Engineering Professor of the Year in 2005 and 2006, and Mechanical Engineering Advisor of the Year in 2004 and 2007.