Keppens, current head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in UT’s College of Engineering, brings a knowledge of advanced materials—substances with properties that go beyond the norm in one or more aspects, such as electronically or chemically—that will allow her to transition to the new role without a learning curve.
UT and ORNL established JIAM in 2005 as a way of bringing together researchers studying those materials, with the impact of that research being as varied as the materials themselves.
Advancements in physics, computer science, building, and energy collection and storage have all benefited from the work done by JIAM researchers.
“Materials research has impacted much of what we take for granted in our everyday world,” said Keppens. “Everything from construction to transportation, from information technology to life-saving medical devices, owes its improvements to the knowledge gained in advanced materials.”
JIAM classifies its research into three areas:
- Advanced structural materials, including the study of composites, nuclear stresses on materials, the strength of materials and research of materials at the nano level.
- Soft and hybrid materials, including research into fuel cells, solar cells, polymers and the conversion of heat to electricity.
- Functional materials and devices, including breakthroughs in renewable energy, resistance-free power transmission and taking electronics beyond the silicone chip.
Keppens has helped author more than fifty technical papers, given more than seventy presentations at conferences around the world, and is a Fellow if the Acoustical Society of America, as well as a member of ASM International and the American Physical Society.
She takes over from George Pharr, Chancellor’s Professor and the McKamey Professor of Engineering, who is leaving for another university after the fall semester.
The move caps a busy year for JIAM, which recently moved to its new state-of-the-art 144,000-square-foot facility anchoring Cherokee Farm, UT and ORNL’s research and development park.Tags: Cherokee Farm, Joint Institute for Advanced Materials, Oak Ridge National Laboratory