AFRL engineer recognized for contributions to composites research
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFRL) – The American Society for Composites recently acknowledged Dr. Ajit Roy, of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, with its Outstanding Research Award for Exceptional Contributions to Composite Research.
With his research Roy pioneered the development of carbon foam technology, and his materials research has been applied to nationally significant systems, such as those in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Air Force and NASA satellites, and composite tooling. He also helped to form and lead a $46 million, multi-year materials and manufacturing partnership agreement between the DoD and the India Ministry of Defence, in which he and others are currently researching how the nations can increase nanomaterials availability.
This breadth of work inspired two fellow ASC members to nominate him for the award. On receiving the award, Roy said, “It always a gift to get such external recognition with every additional work someone does, and it gives, I guess, some unbiased satisfaction.”
Roy’s work spans 36 years in AFRL, beginning via a fellowship in 1985. Afterward, he continued in the lab as a contractor and entered civilian service in 1998. He currently serves as principal materials research engineer and group leader for computational nanomaterials.
He discovered structural, thermal and electronic performance properties of micro- and nano-porous carbon and hybrid materials that led to new ways to process carbon foam. His integration of computational science into material processing development matured the science into engineering product development, enabling a faster development and transition of technologies and new opportunities for the application of these materials.
This maturation helped to establish the manufacturing technology base of 11 manufacturers. Furthermore, he stimulated energy-related materials research globally by also discovering 3D nano-porous carbon, a completely new state of carbon with exceptional property tailoring opportunities in three dimensions. His patented sub-micron in-situ measurement for nanomaterials is commercialized and used by leading test labs including Oak Ridge National Lab and AFRL.
In addition to holding several patents, he has also served on journal editorial boards and various prestigious advisory and review panels, including as chair of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative Advisory Board from 2011 to 2016.
Roy was named as an AFRL fellow in 2017, an honor bestowed on a very exclusive few annually since 1987 and accompanied by a two-year, $300,000 research grant ($150,000 per year) to further the awardee’s chosen research. He is a fellow of three other organizations: the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and ASC, of which he has been a member since 1986.