American Society for Composites honors Advani for outstanding research

One of Suresh Advani’s favorite quotes is “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

That philosophy worked well as he launched his academic career in the area of composites manufacturing.

With infinite possibilities for combinations of matrix and reinforcement materials, composites offer tremendous potential while also posing incredible challenges.

Advani, the George W. Laird Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware, helped bring science to the art of composites manufacturing with his research on modeling and simulation of various liquid molding processes.

“When I joined the University in 1987, most of the industry treated composites manufacturing as a black art,” says Advani, who is also chair of UD’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and associate director of the Center for Composite Materials. “It was a lot of trial and error without a real science base. My mission since then has been to help create a science underpinning and then use that to develop predictive tools for composites manufacturing.”

Slowly but surely the use of process modeling tools has been adopted in industrial practice, and these tools are now considered a crucial component to address the challenges and gaps in the advancement of composites.

Advani’s contributions to the field were recognized on Tuesday, Sept. 29, when he received the American Society for Composites (ASC) Outstanding Research Award.

The award is granted annually to “a distinguished member of the composites community who has made a significant impact on the science and technology of composite materials through a sustained research effort over a number of years.”

A colleague who nominated Advani noted that his composites-related research on fuel cells, batteries, hydrogen storage, porous media and multiscale modeling “reflects a deep understanding of fundamental principles in the fields of materials science, mechanics, physics and chemistry.”

Babatunde A. Ogunnaike, dean of UD’s College of Engineering, commented, “Prof. Advani’s dedication to discovery has made a significant impact on science and technology.”

One of Advani’s major contributions to the field is the development of LIMS (Liquid Injection Molding Simulation), a software tool that simulates the mold filling stage of liquid composite molding processes.

LIMS provides a simple and cost-effective way to verify and optimize filling process design by providing a “virtual” mold filling process, enabling the user to avoid or reduce costly physical trial-and-error processing. The software has been continuously updated and made more robust since its initial development in the early 1990s.

Advani’s success encompasses not only his research, but also his teaching. Earlier this year, he was named Composite Educator of the Year by the Society of Plastic Engineers.

Advani earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, India, and a doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

He has served as editor for manufacturing and North American editor for applied science and manufacturing for the journal Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing since 2004. He has also co-authored close to 300 refereed journal papers, is co-author or editor of six books, and holds three patents.

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