Cooperative Education and Internship Program (CEIP)College of Engineering 

Nima Rahbar Named 2012 NSF CAREER Award Winner

Dr. Nima Rahbar, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UMass Dartmouth, has received a Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).  The award is one of the highest honors given by NSF to recognize young faculty in science and engineering who are effectively integrating research and teaching, and it provides a large grant to conduct research.

Dr. Rahbar will use the grant to support his research on the mechanics of bio-inspired multilayered structures.  Strength and toughness are both vital properties for most structural materials.  Although there has been success in the development of stronger and harder materials, these materials have little to no use as bulk structural materials without appropriate fracture resistance.  Understanding the mechanical behavior of biological materials is a crucial step in the design of robust structural materials.  The superior mechanical properties of layered biological materials relates to their hierarchical structures and nature's ability to design these materials with nanoscale structural components.  This project establishes a link between toughening mechanisms in biological materials and the design of robust structural composites using mechanics models.

The educational plan contributes to and draws upon the research plan.  The research is expected to enhance the curriculum at all levels by educating civil engineering students about natural materials and designs.  Outreach to local high schools and partnerships with Bristol Community College and the African University of Science and Technology are designed to stimulate student interest in engineering and build excitement for scientific research.

"The NSF CAREER Award is one of the most prestigious awards for junior faculty" said Robert Peck, Dean of the College of Engineering.  "Dr. Rahbar is an outstanding researcher and teacher and we are proud of his achievement."

Dr. Rahbar holds a B.S. from Sharif University of Technology (Iran), M.S. from Northeastern University and Ph.D. from Princeton University all in civil engineering.  He joined the faculty at UMass Dartmouth in 2008 and works in the areas of structural mechanics and bio-inspired material design.

Author: "Tesfay Meressi [Contact]"
Date: 27-12-2011

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