James McCauley delivers John F. McMahon Memorial lecture

HEMI adjunct research scientist, James W. McCauley, recently delivered the John F. McMahon Memorial Lecture at Alfred University. This memorial lecture and award is given each year to an outstanding ceramic engineer in memory of the late John F. McMahon, an alumnus, professor, and dean of the Inamori School of Engineering. 
McCauley’s many accomplishments include being a former dean and professor of ceramic engineering at Alfred University’s New York State College of Ceramics, a senior research scientist at the United States Army Research Laboratory (ARL), and a past president of the American Ceramic Society. He has over 140 papers published, 13 books edited or co-edited, and five patents. His works have been cited over 5,000 times. 
In his lecture, McCauley presented research from HEMI’s Center for Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments (CMEDE). CMEDE brings together academia, industry, and ARL to address the fundamental science to improve protection materials for military armor applications. McCauley’s knowledge and experience have aided the center’s success.  

HEMI Fellows awarded DURIP grants

Ryan Hurley, assistant professor in the Whiting School of Engineering’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Kit Bowen, the E. Emmet Reid Professor of Chemistry in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, were awarded Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) grants. DURIP enables university faculty to procure major equipment needed to perform cutting-edge foundational science research relevant to national defense.

Hurley will use his grant to obtain equipment needed to build an extreme-pressure triaxial compression apparatus. This will enable his research group to conduct in-situ studies of geomaterial deformation mechanisms. Bowen’s grant will support his work exploring the role of cluster reactivity in destroying chemical warfare agents.

The Department of Defense awarded a total of $59 million to 147 university researchers under DURIP. More than 500 proposals were submitted, resulting in a highly competitive selection process. DURIP is jointly administered by the Army Research Office, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Office of Naval Research through a merit competition.

Susanna Thon appointed marshal salant faculty scholar

HEMI Fellow Susanna Thon, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been appointed as the Marshal Salant Faculty Scholar. 

The Marshal Salant Faculty Scholar was established by Marshal Salant `80, university trustee and the managing director and global head of Alternative Energy Financing at Citigroup, a multinational investment bank and financial services corporation. 

Thon and her research group at the NanoEnergy Laboratory study nanomaterials engineering for optoelectronic devices with a focus on solar energy conversion and sensing. Her work applies techniques from nanophotonics and scalable fabrication to produce devices and materials with novel optical and electrical functionality. Insights from Thon’s research on photovoltaics are helping to push the boundaries of efficiency and cost-effectiveness using flexible platforms and new materials.  

Thon and her colleagues have recently developed new materials-based methods to increase the power output of next-generation solar cells, as well as a new multimodal characterization technique to accelerate technology development. 

Courtesy of the WSE Marketing and Communications Office


HEMI Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Launched in 2012 with a $90 million grant from the U.S. Army, the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI) is celebrating its 10th anniversary and the progress it has made in its mission to develop the science and technology needed to protect people, structures, and the planet.

In addition to establishing itself as a global leader in the area of materials in extreme environments, HEMI also launched major research initiatives that have supported collaborations between academia, industry, and government, including the Center for Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments (which has just completed its mission) and the Materials Science for Extreme Environments University Research Alliance. HEMI also has amplified its impact by  managing more than 40 subawards to partner universities and research organizations in 20 states and four foreign countries.

In the Baltimore region, they have led partnerships with leading institutions, including the Extreme Science Internship program with Morgan State University and the Extreme Arts program with the Maryland Institute College of Art.

HEMI currently has 50 Fellows from the Whiting School and JHU’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and Applied Physics Laboratory.Learn more about HEMI’s accomplishments, this important milestone, and what lies ahead in their new video.

HEMI Fellows awarded best papers at MS&T conference

Lori Graham-Brady, HEMI associate director and professor in the Department of Civil and Systems Engineering and KT Ramesh, the Alonzo G. Decker Professor of Science and Engineering and director of HEMI, were awarded best papers by the Journal of the American Ceramic Society. On October 11, 2022, their winning papers were presented at a special awards symposium at the Materials Science and Technology Technical Meeting and Exhibition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.   

Graham-Brady’s paper is titled, “Fragmentation and Granular Transition of Ceramics for High Rate Loading,” and included co-authors Amartya Bhattacharjee and Ryan Hurley of Johns Hopkins University. 

“Models for the Behavior of Boron Carbide in Extreme Dynamic Environments,” is the title of K.T. Ramesh’s winning paper. Co-authors included: Lori Graham-Brady, Ryan Hurley, Mark Robbins, Amartya Bhattacharjee, Qinglei Zeng, Weixin Li, and Nilanjan Mitra from Johns Hopkins University; William Goddard, California Institute of Technology; Andrew Tonge, DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory; Joel Clemmer, Sandia National Laboratories; and Qi An, University of Nevada, Reno. 

Both papers were the result of research conducted in the Center for Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments(CMEDE), a center within the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute. Funded by the DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory, CMEDE research has developed a materials-by-design process for protection materials which have military armor applications.    

HEMI Fellows chair international multi-scale materials modeling conference

After a two-year delay due to COVID-19, the International Conference on Multiscale Materials Modeling (MMM) was held in October 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. Johns Hopkins University’s Jaafar El-Awady, professor of mechanical engineering, and Somnath Ghosh, M.G. Callas chair and professor of civil and systems engineering, served as chair and co-chair respectively. 

A forum for researchers from academia, national laboratories, and industrial research facilities worldwide with interdisciplinary research backgrounds including mechanics, materials, biomechanics, mechanobiology, advanced manufacturing, mathematics, and computational sciences, the MMM conference is held biennially. It was first held in 2002 in London and the location rotates sequentially between North America, Europe, and Asia.  

The MMM conference is highlighted by four distinguished plenary speakers and eight semi-plenary speakers. The technical program includes 27 technical symposia as well as a dedicated poster session. More than 750 individuals participated in the conference. Conference sponsors included: Johns Hopkins University, George Mason University, Georgetown University, the University of Maryland, and the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute.  

HEMI Fellows awarded Space@Hopkins seed grants

Paulette Clancy, department head and professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering, and Sarah Hörst, associate professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, have been awarded the 2022 Space@Hopkins seed grants.  

Space@Hopkins brings together researchers from across Johns Hopkins University divisions, departments, and collaborative institutes to advance civilian space research. The grants are intended  to enable Johns Hopkins researchers to test and develop new ideas that enhance their ability to obtain external funding.   

Hörst is a co-investigator on the seed grant project, “Electrification of Titan and Sand Materials” seed grant. Clancy’s project is titled, “Sheltering Life on Titan and Enceluadus.”   

MICA extreme arts interns present final projects

Interns in the Extreme Arts program, a collaboration between HEMI and Maryland Institute College of Art, presented their final projects recently to an audience including HEMI mentors, staff, and students.

Started in 2015, the HEMI/MICA Extreme Arts internship program brings students from MICA to HEMI to translate results of HEMI’s research on extreme events in creative and visual ways.

Riley Cox, MICA student majoring in fibers, interned with Rebecca Schulman, an associate professor in the Whiting School of Engineering’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Cox experiments with weaving structures that contain LED matrices and can be coded to light up portions of cloth in desired patterns. Her goal is to create responsive, smart textiles that could be programmed to generate patterns, both through the physical process of weaving and through integrated technology.

During her internship, Cox says she was “inspired by Professor Schulman’s use of synthetic DNA computing circuits as a way to generate patterned responses.”

In Schulman’s research, chemical patterns act as a blueprint, defining the growth of cells. The process of weaving can function in a similar way, relying on patterns embedded in the order and placement of threads to create an output of different structures of cloth, according to Cox.

“The loom has historically been considered the precursor to modern computing,” said Cox,  whose project explores this relationship between technology and handcraft.

In tackling her project, she used digital drafting software which allowed her to experiment with patterns that could be generated within the threading process.

Fibers work by Riley Cox

Fibers work by Riley Cox

Candice EH Cramer, a MICA student majoring in multidisciplinary art, says, “The most resilient of things on Earth are what comprises the planet: minerals. Some of these minerals, like zircon and garnet extracted today, could share evidence of evolution during the earliest part of Earth’s history.”

Cramer interned at HEMI with Emmy Smith, an assistant professor in the Krieger School of Arts and Science’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Cramer said that through Smith’s work, she was able to “glean whispers of Precambrian life recorded in sedimentology, which endures beyond carbon dating by using uranium lead dating.” Through observing rocks extracted for their zircons, searching for sulfur as metabolism markers in marine sediments, and witnessing garnets prepared for spectrometry, she said she “gained a fondness” for minerals for their intrinsic value and their innate storytelling.

“As we face an age on Earth that is being shaped in front of our eyes by humans to the detriment of the environment, I wonder if these minerals can offer us wisdom by examining and replicating their forms through drawing,” said Cramer.

She is also inspecting minerals found in paint pigments to ponder upon the sustainability of the painting practice.

The event completes the eighth consecutive year of the Extreme Arts program which is a collaborative program between HEMI at Johns Hopkins University and the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Multidisciplinary Art by Candice EH Cramer

Resilient Shard
(Snowball Earth)
by Candice EH Cramer

Kshitiz Upadhyay receives 2022 WCB Early Career Research Award

Kshitiz Upadhyay, a postdoctoral fellow in HEMI, recently received the WCB Early Career Research Award. Given by the World Congress of Biomechanics, (WCB) the award recognizes the research of promising scientists, six years removed from completing their doctoral degrees and is distributed every four years during the Congress.

He was selected by committee after completing a three-step process: submitting a short abstract, being selected to submit an extended abstract, then giving an oral presentation of his abstract during the WCB 2022 Young Researcher Award Session.

Upadhyay’s research interests lie in the broad area of mechanics of soft materials, with emphasis on constitutive modeling, injury biomechanics, experimental solid mechanics, and data-driven methods. He is is a postdoctoral fellow in the Ramesh lab within the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute at Johns Hopkins University. He received his PhD and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida, and B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering from the National Institute of Technology–Bhopal, India. Prior to his graduate studies, he worked as a Mechanical Design Engineer at Applied Materials India.

He was awarded the Best Dissertation Award, the Graduate Student Research Award, the Gator Engineering Attribute Award, and the Outstanding International Student Award, all from the University of Florida. He also won first place in the 2019 SEM Michael Sutton International Student Paper Competition for his research on the experimental characterization of high strain rate shear response of soft materials.

Dr. Upadhyay will be starting as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Louisiana State University in August 2022.