Diana Lados
Diana Lados

The recipient of the 2020 Acta Materialia Silver Medal is Professor Diana Lados, Milton Prince Higgins II Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).  She is also the founder and director of WPI’s Integrative Materials Design Center (iMdc), an industry-government-university consortium with more than 35 members representing all major transportation and defense industries, national laboratories and other governmental organizations, as well as several partner universities.

Prof. Lados earned her B.S./M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Bucharest in 1997, her second M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1999, and her Doctorate in Materials Science and Engineering from WPI in 2004.  She held Post-Doctoral, Research Scientist, and Research Prof. positions at the Metal Processing Institute (MPI) at WPI until 2007, when she joined the Mechanical Engineering faculty as an assistant professor and established the iMdc consortium.  She was tenured and promoted to associate professor in 2012, was awarded WPI’s Milton Prince Higgins II Distinguished Professorship in 2014, and became a full professor in 2018.  She also holds affiliate faculty appointments in WPI’s departments of Physics and Chemical Engineering.

Prof. Lados has brought significant research contributions in the areas of materials and advanced manufacturing, with a special focus on material design, characterization, evaluation, and optimization for fatigue, fatigue crack growth, thermo-mechanical fatigue, creep, and fracture resistance.  Her work has established fundamental relationships between materials’ characteristic microstructures and their behavior and properties, and shed light on underlying failure mechanisms – critical considerations in material design and process optimization.  She has also developed computational methods and tools that link materials’ performance to their manufacturing processes and resulting microstructures, and provide accurate life predictions.  Her advances have had a major impact on both manufacturing and design communities, and have found broad and diverse uses in critical high-integrity structural and elevated temperature applications in transportation and other industries.  Prof. Lados has integrated the knowledge, databases, tools, and strategies that she has developed into a unified methodology for sustainable material-process-component design and manufacturing for performance and reliability, creating interdisciplinary bridges between materials science, mechanical engineering, and physics.  This integrated material design approach is the foundation of the iMdc consortium, and for its application to the optimization of high-integrity aluminum alloys, Prof. Lados was granted the prestigious CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Prof. Lados has been at the forefront of research on additive manufacturing (AM) for more than a decade, having developed a fundamental understanding of AM materials and optimization guidelines for their processing and properties, while building comprehensive databases and supporting ICME tools.  These advances are helping to expand the use of AM technology to high-integrity structural applications, and are providing original and much-needed methodologies for rapid material and product qualification, standardization, and repair.  Her research on additive manufacturing encompasses several materials, fabricated by both direct energy deposition and powder bed processes, using laser and electron beams as heat sources.  Her integrated work on advanced manufacturing also includes other technologies such as cold spray processing, friction stir welding, and metal-matrix nano-composites fabrication, and has been consistently funded by both industry and the federal government, through various DoD and NSF grants.  These also include equipment grants such as the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) award from DoD and a Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) award from NSF, which have facilitated advanced characterization studies using combined digital image correlation (DIC), electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), and tomography, as well as non-destructive evaluation studies for in-situ damage detection and monitoring at ambient and high temperatures.  This work has resulted in key experimental and computational developments that support the integrated material-process-component design, optimization, and qualification, including creation of property databases and life prediction methods for high-integrity applications.  The work has also led to two manufacturing patent developments.

For her work, Prof. Lados had been distinguished with several national and international awards and honors, which include a Fellow of ASM International and a Fellow of Alpha Sigma Mu; the inaugural Constance Tipper Silver Medal from the World Academy of Structural Integrity; the ASM Silver Medal; the Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award from SAE International; the Brimacombe Medalist Award, the Early Career Faculty Fellow Award, and the Robert Lansing Hardy Award from The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS).  At WPI she was recognized with both Sigma Xi Outstanding Junior and Senior Faculty Researcher Awards, and she was named in 2012 one of the 20 “Women to Watch” in New England for significant technical advancements and leadership.  She was also selected by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) to participate in the prestigious Frontiers of Engineering symposia for both exceptional research and innovative education.

Prof. Lados will receive the Acta Materialia Silver Medal and present an overview of her research in February 2020 during the TMS Annual Meeting in San Diego, California.