Research and Teaching Interests
Polymer matrix composite materials, damage growth in service, processing science for efficient manufacturing
Current Research Work
Polymer matrix composites
My main area of research to date has been polymer matrix composite materials. The two most important areas of concern with composite materials are damage growth in service and processing science for efficient manufacturing. I have been involved with both these important topics, using a closely coupled experimental and theoretical approach. My research has spanned a wide range of topics, as I have tried to develop a global appreciation of the issues facing composite materials. We now have a very good experimental and numerical modelling facility, with good industrial and government contacts.
As my own background is primarily experimental, I have developed a close and tightly coupled research program with a colleague, Dr. Reza Vaziri. Dr. Vaziri brings to our collaboration a strong solid mechanics background, including numerical modelling, whereas my contribution is on the materials, physical and experimental side.
The key issue for the next decade will be the commercial viability of polymer matrix composite materials. In early years, I was heavily involved in the characterization of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fibres for use in composite applications. Our close connection to the manufacturer of this fibre (Allied-Signal), as they explored markets for this new fibre, highlighted the interrelationship between material properties, design, and market penetration. Since then, close interaction with other companies and organizations (eg Boeing, DND, Pacific Safety Products) as they evaluate the usefulness of composite materials for their applications, or endeavour to improve their production has emphasized the importance of developing our basic scientific understanding to the point at which it is useful for engineering decisions.
I see my research in the future to be an extension of our current work on processing, damage growth in impact and fatigue, and other issues of interest in composite materials and structures. A growing realization is that the next level of materials research, especially for composites, will be at the component or structural level. At this level, the interaction of material and structure and process becomes important and can significantly influence engineering decisions. In addition, there will be increasing emphasis on synthesizing our knowledge (whether generated at UBC or elsewhere) so that we can answer key questions asked by users regarding design, processing, in-service behaviour, maintainability and repair. By formalizing and applying basic scientific methodology to applied problems, we may be able to make knowledge-intensive composite materials an engineering success, rather than a scientific showcase.
Google Scholar Citations
Refereed Journal Publications
Refereed Conference Proceedings