SOCORRO -- Bhaskar S. Majumdar recently was named to the full-time, tenure-track position of associate professor of materials engineering at New Mexico Tech.
Majumdar enters his new position at the state-supported research university after having spent the past seven years as a senior scientist at the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. In that capacity, Majumdar served as principal investigator on several research contracts involving metal-matrix composites and interfaces.
Prior to that, he was a principal research scientist at Batelle Laboratories in Columbus, Ohio, where he conducted and marketed research on materials for government and industry contracts.
Majumdar earned his technical bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India, and his doctorate in materials science from the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y.
At New Mexico Tech, he currently is teaching Advanced Composite Materials, a graduate-level course offered by Tech's materials and metallurgical engineering department.
"The greatest leaps in technology are taking place in materials science--it's the most exciting area of research today," Majumdar asserts. "Materials science requires an enormous team effort; and because of its interdisciplinary nature, the possibilities are just endless in terms of synthesizing materials with new mult-functional capabilities, spanning the range from structural to electronic to biomedical applications."
Majumdar describes his own research background as "having been mostly involved with the mechanisms and mechanics of materials," although his numerous research projects also included synthesis of new microstructures and interfaces. Some of those projects requireed inter-disciplinary collaborations with solid-state physicists and polymer chemists.
One of Majumdar's current research projects focuses on interfaces in metal-polymer composites, which have practical applications in electronic chips, corrosion prevention of metals, and the burgeoning field of Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS). The latter are fascinating electro-mechanical devices, such as movable mirrors or gears, which are the size of microscopic dust mites.
Another project involves the development of thermal barrier coatings, which are often used to enhance the reliability of surfaces in high-temperature environments, such as fan blades in turbine engines.
"But, regardless of whether you are worried about the failure of MEMS components or the fracture of turbine blades, you have to first understand why and how these failures occur," Majumdar points out.
New Mexico Tech's latest addition to the ranks of materials engineering faculty also mentions that trying to improve funding for undergraduate research will be one of his immediate priorities in his new position: "Providing state-of-the-art laboratory equipment can only serve to give undergraduates
here at Tech an enhanced educational experience," Majumdar says.