Adam C. Powell, IV is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering department who joined the WPI faculty in August 2018. His field is materials processing, and research focuses on validated mathematical modeling of metal process development for clean energy and energy efficiency. His research group is developing new projects whose goals are to reduce vehicle body weight, lower solar cell manufacturing cost with improved safety, reduce or eliminate environmental impact of aerospace emissions, and improve grid stability with up to 100% renewables.
Powell's research has resulted in 67 publications across materials classes: metal extraction/refining and product development, thin films, ceramic coatings, polymer membranes, batteries, and electromagnetic propulsion. He is the author of nine open source computational tools in materials processing, microstructure and thermodynamics modeling.
Powell is fluent in Japanese, and as a University of Tokyo Foreign Collaborative Researcher, gives technical talks in Japanese to industry, government and academic audiences.
Professional Highlights & Honors
WPI mechanical engineering professor Adam Powell appeared in a 3-minute segment on Boston 25 News discussing approaches to reducing corrosion in cars. Powell, who was awarded a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the Department of Energy, noted that WPI “…will be creating advanced lightweight components that can last as long as the rest of conventional cars.” (References to WPI start at 1:56.)
WCVB highlighted research by Adam Powell, associate professor of mechanical engineering, who is testing a new type of welding that may make the joint between light metal alloys more resistant to corrosion, including salt spray, leading to future designs of durable, next-generation metal car joints used in ultra-light car doors and other vehicle body applications. “Typically, if you reduce the weight by 10 percent, you get five percent better gas mileage,” (1:40) Powell told WCVB.