Diana Lados, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and founding director of the university's Integrative Materials Design Center (iMdc), recently received two major career achievement awards from leading engineering societies.
At its annual congress in Detroit, SAE International, a global association of more than 138,000 engineers and related technical experts in the automotive, aerospace, and commercial vehicle industries, presented Lados with the 2014 Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award "in recognition of significant contributions to teaching, research, and student development." The award citation also noted the value these contributions bring to the mobility sector by successfully linking students and WPI to the transportation industries.
Earlier, the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS) awarded her the Brimacombe Medal at its annual meeting and exhibition in San Diego, Calif. The award, presented to mid-career professionals, recognizes sustained excellence and achievement in business, technology, education, public policy, or science related to materials science and engineering.
Lados was honored for developing and implementing a new integrative design paradigm in materials science and engineering research, education, and application, and for impactful service to TMS. "It is a great honor to receive the Brimacombe Medal," Lados said. "I look forward to continuing to play an active role in TMS and to contributing to the society through my research in materials design integration, by organizing symposia and participating in committees, and by supporting new activities that will ensure a great future for the organization."
Watch a video about research by Lados that could lead to lighter, more energy-efficient vehicles.
TMS has also honored Lados with its Early Career Faculty Fellow Award (2011), which recognized accomplishments that have advanced WPI and broadened the technological profile of TMS, and the Robert Lansing Hardy Award (2010), which honors young metallurgists who demonstrate "exceptional promise of a successful career in the broad field of metallurgy and materials science." As an Early Career Faculty Fellow, Lados conceived and organized the "Integrative Materials Design: Performance and Sustainability," a symposium series held every three years at the TMS annual meeting.
A full-time faculty member at WPI since 2006, Lados is the founder and director of iMdc, an industry-government-university research and educational alliance dedicated to advancing the state of the art and practice in sustainable materials, process, and component design and manufacturing for high performance, reliability, and recyclability. The center's more than 20 members include some of the world's largest manufacturing companies and several government organizations and national laboratories.
In her research, Lados seeks to develop a better understanding of the fundamentals of fatigue, fatigue crack growth, thermo-mechanical fatigue, creep, and fracture in metals. She also studies integrated design and the optimization of materials and processes with an eye to preventing failure in structural components and developing more reliable and sustainable alloys and integrated design methodologies for automotive, aerospace, marine, and military applications. Supported by a five-year, $525,000 National Science Foundation CAREER Award (the agency's most prestigious award for young faculty members), along with other funding from the federal government and industry, her work is aimed at developing fundamental knowledge and design tools, including computational models, that can help designers replace steel and cast iron in vehicles with lighter metals, including aluminum, titanium, and magnesium, to increase performance and fuel efficiency. This work is augmented by additional iMdc research on novel metal-matrix nanocomposites (and original evaluation methods for high-temperature applications of metal alloys and composites), solid-state friction stir welding of similar and dissimilar materials, and cold-spray processing.
Diana Lados's research was recently featured in Modern Metals magazine. An article titled "Not the Same Old Sedan” looked at advances and trends in the use of lightweight materials in modern vehicles to improve performance, safety, and fuel efficiency goals.
Lados and iMdc have for several years also led research on additive manufacturing, in which functional three-dimensional components are built up, layer by layer, from unit materials, guided by computer models. Lados studies the intrinsic characteristics and properties of metals, including titanium, nickel, and aluminum, that can are deposited using a variety of laser- and electron beam-based additive manufacturing techniques. Her innovative and extensive work in this area is producing fundamental materials science knowledge, databases, design tools, and computational models that are helping understand these techniques and determine their advantages and suitability for fabricating and repairing critical structural components. Through collaborations with the Air Force Research Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory, the iMdc team has also completed pioneering work on three-dimensional material characterization and fatigue testing and evaluation of additive manufactured materials using a high-energy synchrotron.
A review by WPI's Integrative Materials design Center (iMdc) of additive manufacturing technology, including their history and future trends, is included in the March 2014 issue of the JOM, the journal of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society.
This work has resulted in several national and international honors for Lados. In 2013 the World Academy of Structural Integrity awarded her the inaugural Constance Tipper Silver Medal, which recognizes international achievement at mid-career, as well as seminal research and successful knowledge transfer to industrial applications. In 2012 ASM International, the materials information society, presented Lados with the Silver Medal of the Society. ASM's most distinguished honor for mid-career professionals, the silver medal recognizes outstanding contributions to materials science and engineering, leadership, and service to ASM and the materials profession.
In addition to her recent honors, Lados has won numerous accolades for her work as a researcher and educator. In 2010 she became the first WPI professor selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering's (NAE) prestigious U.S. Frontiers of Engineering symposium; the NAE also selected Lados to participate in the Frontiers of Engineering Education symposium that same year. In 2012 she was chosen to participate in the NAE Japan-America Frontiers of Engineering symposium. She was named to Foundry Management & Technology magazine's 2009 list of Metalcasting's Next Generation of Future Leaders, and in 2008 she received the Orr Early Career Award and the Orr Best Paper Award from the Materials Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
Lados was the only woman on a team of five leaders in her field selected in 2011 to participate in a Department of Energy program to identify areas where materials science and engineering will shape research and business opportunities in the next decade. In 2012 she was one of 20 New England women honored by Mass High Tech as Women to Watch. The awards honor women in various fields of technology for notable contributions to their professions and leadership in their communities.
She received the 2011 Kalenian Award from WPI's Collaborative for Entrepreneurship and Innovation for her development of novel hybrid materials, WPI's Sigma Xi Outstanding Junior Faculty Researcher Award, the Axel Madsen Award from the Center for Powder Metallurgy Technology, the Sigma Xi Graduate Research Scientific Award for the best PhD thesis, the American Foundry Society's Aluminum Division Scholarship Award, and the ASM Central Massachusetts Chapter (formerly the Worcester chapter) Chester M. Inman Memorial Award.
Lados earned BS and MS degrees in mechanical engineering at Polytechnic University of Bucharest, an MS in mechanical engineering at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and a PhD in materials science and engineering at WPI. She has published more than 60 articles and one book chapter and delivered more than 130 conference and industrial presentations and invited lectures on such topics as design and optimization of materials and processes for fatigue, fatigue crack growth, creep and fracture resistance, and fracture mechanics; advanced materials and processes for structural and energy applications; solidification processing, heat treatment and residual stress effects; and engineering of wrought, cast, and novel processed light metals.