BioB.S. Ceramic Engineering, University of Illinois, 1981M.S. Materials Science and Engineering, University of California Berkeley, 1983Ph.D. Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1991Research Scientist, NASA Glenn Research Center, 1991-2010
"I joined the faculty of UVA Engineering for the opportunities to interact with students in the classroom and lab, to collaborate with faculty in MSE, MAE and SEAS, and to participate in the Rolls-Royce University Technology Center on Advanced Material Systems."Elizabeth J. Opila, Professor
Our research focuses on materials for use in extreme environments and can be applied to materials for use in aircraft engines, rocket engines, energy conversion technologies, and thermal protection systems. We first create critical aspects of the use environment in the lab such as high temperatures (up to 2000°C), reactive gases (oxygen, water vapor), and high flow rates ( hundreds of meters per second). We characterize materials before and after exposure using techniques as simple as weight change to sophisticated state-of-the-art microscopies and spectroscopies. Experiments are linked with theory and computational techniques where possible. We ask these questions about material behavior: What reactions occur and why? How fast do they occur? Can we predict material lifetimes? How can we make better materials?