Sudarsanam Suresh Babu, an authority in the production, design, and performance of transforming materials into parts, has been named the 11th University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair.
Babu will serve as Governor’s Chair for Advanced Manufacturing. He begins on July 1.
Babu, a professor in the Welding Engineering Program in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University, directed a National Science Foundation Industry and University Cooperative Research center focused on materials joining for energy applications.
He joined The Ohio State University faculty in 2007 following several years at the Edison Welding Institute in Columbus, Ohio. Babu has also served in multiple roles at ORNL, including as a postdoctoral scholar, research professor, and member both of the research and development staff and the senior research and development staff.
Babu’s research helps widen the scope of advanced manufacturing and additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, which is the process of adding successive layers to make a three-dimensional solid object from a digital model.
“Dr. Babu’s vast experience and expertise in materials science pushes our research into a new forefront,” said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “Through the innovation of materials and their integration into product design, his research has the power to fundamentally change the products we use and how they are made.”
Babu will be a professor based in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering and have a joint professorship with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. As a Governor’s Chair, he also will have an appointment in the Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorate and in the Energy Material Program at ORNL.
Babu’s research addresses fundamental challenges in bringing additive and other advanced manufacturing concepts into broader production use. Through analysis of materials performance at the atomic scale, he translates this information into models for the aerospace and automotive industries to use on high-performance computers.
“In 10 to 20 years, we hope that we will stop worrying about how to manufacture products and instead worry about what to manufacture,” said Babu. “The design of products will become the most important thing.”
As Governor’s Chair, Babu will lead efforts to integrate the advanced manufacturing research and design activities between UT, ORNL, and industry. In collaboration with industry, faculty, students, and researchers at ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, he will conduct basic and applied research focusing on hybrid composite products, energy-efficient design and development, and understanding a product’s life cycle and the implications of design on the product’s purpose.
Babu received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the PSG College of Technology in 1986, a master’s degree in technology from the Indian Institute of Technology in 1988, and his doctorate in materials science from Cambridge University.
The UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair Program is funded by the state of Tennessee and ORNL. It is designed to attract exceptionally accomplished researchers from around the world to boost joint research efforts that position the partnership as a leader in the fields of biological science, computational science, advanced materials and neutron science. Ten of the 11 Governor’s Chairs now have joint appointments at UT Knoxville and ORNL.