Drexel Materials PhD alumnus Siddhartha (Sid) Pathak (PhD 2009) has been appointed assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) beginning November 2015.
At UNR, Sid’s research focus will be on nano-mechanics – the quantitative measurement of material behavior at lower (micron to sub-micron to nanometer) length scales – over a wide variety of material systems, such as the mechanical behavior of irradiated materials for nuclear applications, establishing processing-microstructure evolution linkages in structural metals, multilayered metal-metal and metal-ceramic composites for coatings and automotive applications, and biological materials.
At Drexel, Sid worked in the Mechanics of Microstructures Group with advisor Dr. Surya Kalidindi in the area of nanomechanics. The highlight of his PhD research was in the development of novel data-analysis protocols for spherical nanoindentation, which allow meaningful indentation stress-strain curves to be extracted from the raw datasets. This technique has now progressed into a field of its own where it is now possible to reliably estimate the entire indentation stress-strain response of a material at sub-micron length scales, starting from its initial elastic response and progressing all the way to its post-yield behavior. At Drexel, his research was awarded a 2009 Drexel University Research Award and was a finalist for the 2009 doctoral student deemed to have the most promise in enhancing Drexel’s reputation in the future in the Mathematical Sciences and Engineering award. Sid was also the team leader and third place winner (out of 40 teams) for the 2008 Drexel University Baiada Center Business Plan contest (Phase III), and a two time winner (2007, 2008) of Phase II.
Post-graduation, Sid went to EMPA-ETH (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology), Thun, Switzerland as a post-doctoral researcher. In 2010 he was awarded the Keck Institute of Space Studies Prized Postdoctoral Fellowship in Materials Science at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech 2010-2012). Since 2012, he has been a recipient of the Director’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT) in Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), New Mexico. His primary research interest at LANL has been in the area of experimental materials science and technology for nuclear applications, where he focuses on a quantitative understanding of the local mechanical and structural changes in irradiated (typically metallic) materials. In addition he has also been involved in the development of novel nanomechanical test strategies for the CINT user facility. To this end, his recent efforts have been concentrated on developing a novel technique for nano- to micro-scale fracture toughness testing using a 3-point bend geometry. These focus-ion beam (FIB) micromachined structures are tested in an in-situ scanning electron microscope (SEM) setup, thus allowing a direct correlation of the local microstructural evolution in the course of deformation. At LANL, Sid was also the team leader for the winning LANL entry in the 2012-13 National Institute of Justice Body Armor Challenge, “How Long Does Body Armor Really Last?”