Composites expert awarded Oak Ridge Chair

The University of Tennessee (UT)’s College of Engineering and Oak Ridge National Laboratory has appointed Uday Vaidya to the Governor’s Chair in Advanced Composites Manufacturing.

Vaidya becomes the fourteenth UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair and the seventh devoted to some aspect of advanced manufacturing.

‘We are pleased to welcome Uday and the leadership he brings in the growing area of advanced composites manufacturing,’ said UT Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek.’His research will contribute to the vital building blocks we have with ORNL and our momentum as leaders in the field.’

‘This is a significant opportunity to provide leadership and serve as a bridge between UT, ORNL, industry, and academic partners,’ said Vaidya, who also will serve as a professor in UT’s Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering.

‘The industry is in urgent need of trained engineers with comprehensive knowledge in the design, modeling, and manufacturing of advanced materials – including composites – and many of those innovations are possible through a comprehensive ecosystem such as the one our institutions provide,’ he said.

Lightweight and durable

Vaidya, who comes from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, added that those innovations will help keep UT and ORNL at the forefront of research.

The automotive, energy, and aerospace industries are trending toward the use of lightweight, durable carbon fiber construction.

Currently, producing such material in large quantities can be cost-prohibitive, but UT, ORNL, and the new Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation can make them more readily attainable, according to Vaidya.

‘There is exponential growth of advanced composites both in the US and around the world,’ said Vaidya. ‘Between the Governor’s Chair program, some of the research already being conducted, and in particular IACMI, which President Obama announced in January, UT and ORNL are clearly going to play a leading role for years to come.

‘Uday’s unique combination of basic and applied research coupled with his strong industrial interactions will complement ORNL and UT’s strengths in carbon fiber and composites research and development,’ said Martin Keller, ORNL’s associate lab director for energy and environmental sciences.

Aside from his materials-related work, Vaidya said he is interested in engaging minority and underrepresented students in STEM fields and advanced manufacturing technologies.

This story is reprinted from material from Oak Ridge, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.