Wadley Research Overview
The physical, mechanical, charge transport, and other opto and magnetoelectrical properties of materials are determined by the atoms from which they are assembled, the nature of the inter atom bonds between them, by the geometry (crystallography) of their packing into three dimensional structures (phases), by the defects incorporated within, and between grains of these phases, and by the volume fraction and topology of the many phases often present in advanced materials. The 3D micro (or nano) structures of these high performance materials is controlled by the thermochemical and thermomechanical conditions experienced during processing of the material. Composite materials provide a means for combining two or more of these advanced materials to achieve a new state of matter whose properties (usually but not always) lie between those of each material. Exceptions include the fracture-related properties of composites (which can be superior to those of either of the materials from which they are made) and nanoscopic materials where the very high fraction of "surface" atoms, low dimensionality, and diversity of interatomic bonding can profoundly change particle properties as well as those of the mesomaterials assembled from them.
From time to time, the group has taken on large scale projects to solve challenging engineering problems. For example, the group has integrated heatpipe concepts with cellular materials and sandwich construction to design, construct and test large (several meter) jet blast deflector panel concepts that manage the coupled thermo-mechanical loads due to impinging jet engine exhaust plumes. Analogous jet blast protection systems were also being developed to protect ship decks. The group has also investigated, and developed successful solutions to protect structures from near by explosions in water, air and most recently under soil. This research has led to the development of a new fundamental understanding of shock load interactions with structures, and an interest in ballistic resistant materials.
The group conducts its experimental research in four laboratories which are equipped with state of the art equipment for depositing coatings, fabricating composites and making cellular materials. The group has ample funding from government agencies and occasional industry sponsors.
Haydn Wadley's research group has developed many inventions (21 have been awarded US patents to date) and has spun out two successful companies. One is commercializing vapor deposition technologies (directed vapor deposition and coaxial plasma deposition) for coating gas turbine engine components, while the second is scaling up new cellular lattice materials, and exploring their application for impulsive load mitigation and thermal protection.
It usually has openings for one or two Ph.D. candidates each year.