Sia Nemat-Nasser Honored Again for Contributions
to Materials Science
Since being inducted into the prestigious National
Academy of Engineering in 2001, Sia Nemat- Nasser, professor of mechanical
and aerospace engineering, has been honored again with the 2002 William
Prager and Nadai Medals. He has also been elected Life Fellow of the ASME
The William Prager Medal is given by the Society of Engineering
Science (SES) for outstanding research contributions in theoretical and
experimental solid mechanics. Interestingly, Prager was a prominent engineer
who started the solid mechanics group at UCSD in the early 1960s and originally
hired Nemat- Nasser.
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers’(ASME) Nadai
Medal honors research contributions which have broadened the field of
Among other research endeavors, Nemat-Nasser, who currently
directs UCSD's Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials (CEAM), is
using a recent $2.5 million MURI grant to develop light-weight structures
made of shape-memory alloys that can regain their shape once deformed.
He and his coworkers are combining these alloys with super-elastic foams
containing hollow glass beads for even greater malleability and energy
Nemat-Nasser is also developing a self-healing composite
material that is transparent to electromagnetic waves at select frequencies.
“This composite material contains a polymer matrix that can repolymerize
its broken covalent bonds and heal at the molecular level,” explains Nemat-Nasser.
Thin strands of copper woven into the fiber provide electrical and thermal
conductivity and increase the rate of polymerization as heat circulates
through the material. Nemat- Nasser says the material, reinforced with
Kevlar fibers, is very lightweight and exhibits superb strength and ductility.
In addition to his recent research career achievement
awards, Nemat- Nasser received (for the third time) the Best Teacher Award
from the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering graduating senior students.