Materials Expert Fills Mechanical Engineering Chair
Jan. 10, 2011
Demonstrating it will be very much rooted in 21st-century technology, the 3-year-old Department of Mechanical Engineering at UT Dallas chose an expert in nanomaterials as the holder of its first endowed chair.
Dr. Hongbing Lu is an expert in the mechanics of materials and a highly productive researcher. He is the first holder of the Louis Beecherl Jr. Chair in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.
Lu has received more than 35 contracts and grants totaling over $10 million in the past decade. His research interests include nano-indentation, visco-elasticity, experimental mechanics and the mechanics of nanostructured materials.
“Hongbing Lu’s work is inherently interdisciplinary, his area of expertise is central to the field of mechanical engineering, and his research focus is in close alignment with the mechanical engineering department’s strategic direction,” said Dr. Mario Rotea, head of the department. “I’m confident he will play an important role in helping us build a world-class mechanical engineering department.”
Before joining UT Dallas, Lu was the PACCAR Professor of Engineering at the University of North Texas, and prior to that he spent more than 10 years on the faculty of the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Oklahoma State University.
His current research includes an $875,000 Department of Energy grant to explore how microscopic cracks form on nuclear fuel rods, causing less efficiency and more waste. His other recent work included a project to improve the insulation material used to protect the delicate electronics of NASA’s rovers on the surface of Mars.
Lu received his doctorate in aeronautics from Caltech in 1997. He also holds a master’s in engineering mechanics from Tsinghua University and a bachelor’s in solid mechanics from Huazhong University of Science & Technology. He has authored 50 journal articles, written four book chapters and received one U.S. patent. He has also supervised 32 doctoral dissertations and master’s theses, and he has received several awards of recognition for both his research and teaching.
The chair he fills was established through a generous gift in fall 2009 by Julia and Louis Beecherl Jr.