Patala receives AFOSR Young Investigator Program award

Dr. Srikanth Patala
Dr. Patala

Dr. Srikanth Patala, assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at North Carolina State University, has received a Young Investigator Program (YIP) award from the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

Patala received the $360,403, three-year award for his research project, “A Machine-Learning Approach Towards Quantitative Structure-Property Relationships for Metallic Interfaces.”

Grain boundaries (GBs) influence a wide array of physical properties in polycrystalline materials and play an important role in governing microstructural evolution under extreme environments. While the importance of interfaces is well documented, their properties are among the least understood of all the defect types present in engineering material systems. This is due to the vast configurational space of interfaces, resulting in a diverse range of structures and properties.

Patala plans to develop machine-learning tools and will construct reliable reduced-order models for GB energies and temperature-dependent mobilities as a function of their crystallography.

The Air Force announced that it will award approximately $20.8 million in grants to 58 scientists and engineers from 41 research institutions and small businesses who submitted winning research proposals through the YIP program.

The objective of the program is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering.

Patala’s research interests are include structural characterization and quantification of structure-property relationships across multiple length scales; statistical analysis of defects and their interactions in polycrystalline materials; and in developing inverse design principles for optimizing performance in structural and functional materials.

Earlier this year, he received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development award for his research proposal, “Mapping the Genome of Metallic Grain Boundaries – Structure, Thermodynamics and Kinetics.”

Patala received a Bachelor of Technology degree in metallurgical and materials engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras; a Master of Science degree in materials science and engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.