The 2012 Bollinger Academic Staff
Distinguished Achievement Award
As a testament to the global impact of Engineering Physics Distinguished Research Professor Kumar Sridharan’s research, letters in support of him came not only from collaborators in Madison, but also from the nation and around the world.
His research vision has been broad, supporting projects funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, the National Science Foundation, Army Research Office, Office of Naval Research, and national laboratories. He has connected and worked with companies such as A.O. Smith, Thermal Spray Technologies, Kimberly-Clark, and Harley Davidson, as well as Boeing, General Motors, IBM, General Electric, and Shell Oil.
In 2011 alone, Sridharan led research on seven projects with a combined value of $2.98 million, while serving as co-principal investigator on five others totaling $2.75 million. In all, he has served as principal investigator on $8 million and co-principal investigator on $8.43 million in grants. He currently serves as principal investigator on a major DOE project to understand the stability of nuclear-waste storage casks as part of a team involving six universities; on a multi-million dollar project in coordination with MIT and UC-Berkeley to develop the technical basis for advanced molten salt-cooled reactors, projects on nano-structured coatings and interface stability in materials, and is PI and co-PI on two grants interfacing with Wisconsin-based companies.
Sridharan’s research covers a wide range of areas: physical and mechanical metallurgy, ion-material interactions, nuclear reactor materials, high temperature materials, surface modification and coating technologies, corrosion, ion implantation, plasma processing, nano-scale modification and synthesis of materials, cold spray materials deposition technology, wear, radiation effects in materials, and thin film deposition. He serves on the editorial committees of two journals, International Materials Reviews, and Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance. He also serves on the joint government affairs committee of American Society for Materials. He has authored more than 150 publications and in 2008 was elected fellow of the American Society of Materials. Since 2005, he has averaged six peer-reviewed publications per year, with 100 citations in 2009, 80 in 2010, and 95 in 2011.
Over the last two decades Sridharan has provided research guidance and supervision to numerous graduate students and postdoctoral associates. He regularly involves undergraduate students in research and has mentored high school students through ten-week projects that culminate in a poster session and participation in the Intel-sponsored International Science & Engineering Fair. Students who have worked under his mentorship have benefited immensely through publications, scholarships, extramural collaborations, and career defining opportunities.
Within the Department of Engineering Physics, he has taught topics such as corrosion, metallurgy, thermodynamics, and fuel fabrication, plasma processing and statics. He has given numerous guest lectures in the area of materials science and supported significant curriculum development in the area of materials for nuclear systems as part of a team that obtained funding from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “The patience and care he demonstrates when teaching and advising students is unparalleled and promotes an extraordinary learning environment,” says a current graduate student. “His excellent attitude, vast knowledge and commitment to engineering research make him an excellent professor to work for and a tremendous asset to the university.”