Dr. Lokesh Dharani was named Curators’ Professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla’s commencement ceremonies today (Dec. 20).
The University of Missouri Board of Curators approved the designation at its Dec. 11 meeting in Kansas City, Mo.
The professorship is awarded to outstanding scholars with established reputations in their fields of study. Dharani, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UMR, is known internationally for his contributions in the areas of fracture and damage of composite materials, micromechanics, and mechanics of brittle matrix composites.
Dharani and two other inventors received two U.S. patents and one international patent for developing a sturdier floor for flatbed trailers. The flooring involves the use of fiber-reinforced composite materials which, when combined with strips of hardwood lumber traditionally used for flooring, result in a stronger and more durable material for the trucking industry.
"I am very pleased that the Board of Curators has selected Dr. Dharani for this high academic honor," says UMR Chancellor Gary Thomas. "It will further recognize his accomplishments, bring added prestige to the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and enhance Dr. Dharani’s research efforts at UMR."
Dharani received a bachelor of engineering degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Mysore, India, in 1970. He earned a master of technology degree in aeronautical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India, in 1972, and a master of science degree in aircraft design from Cranfield Institute of Technology in the United Kingdom in 1975. He was awarded a Ph.D. in engineering mechanics from Clemson University in 1982.
He joined the UMR faculty in 1982 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor and senior investigator in the UMR Graduate Center for Materials Research in 1988. From 1996 to 2001, Dharani served as associate dean of research and graduate affairs for the UMR School of Engineering.
Dharani has received several teaching awards from UMR as well as 10 faculty excellence awards. He is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education; an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; and a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
The author of more than 160 research papers, Dharani has conducted research under the sponsorship of NASA, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Air Force, the Boeing Co. and Ford Motor Co., among others.