Dr. Hongbing Lu
Associate department head and professor of mechanical engineering
Louis Beecherl Jr. Chair
Lu is a respected researcher in fundamental areas of mechanics such as the mechanics of time-dependent materials, dynamic behavior of materials, mechanical behavior of nanomaterials and fracture mechanics.
Lu started his career designing some of the first freeways in China. With a motivation to embrace higher challenges in a creative environment, Lu decided to pursue research, a path that would allow him to create new solutions to problems.
He first developed methods to test and predict the durability of materials such as polymers used in aircraft. He then developed techniques for industrial companies to refine the process for manufacturing continuous thin sheets, and received a patent for a cutting process that made the blades last hundreds of times longer.
His current work has applications in the defense and nuclear industries.
He studies how energy and soils move when buried landmines and improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, are triggered. These findings could lead to the design of armored vehicles and body armor that are able to better withstand such blasts – potentially saving the lives of soldiers.
He is working also to boost power-plant efficiency and reduce nuclear waste for new-generation nuclear reactors.
"Fossil energy will one day run out," Lu said. "With the use of modern technology, nuclear energy will be a viable solution before renewable energy reaches a large scale."
Lu earned his bachelor's degree in solid mechanics from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China, master's degree in engineering mechanics from Tsinghua University in China, and a PhD in aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology.
He previously taught at Oklahoma State University and the University of North Texas before joining UT Dallas in 2010.
The chair was established anonymously in 2009 to support the research and scholarly activities of the chairholder in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. Lu has held the chair since 2010.
Lu's career includes millions of dollars of research funded by governmental agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, Department of Defense and Department of Energy. He's also worked for manufacturing and medical technology companies. Applications of his work include innovative technology for high-speed cutting of metal sheets, and solving an electrical leakage problem for a new pacemaker.
"In just one month we completed accelerated life testing for biocompatible polymers in the pacemaker, which makes the new design possible. The new pacemaker has been tested under accelerated conditions to ensure safe operation for 10 years. The redesigned device helped save people's lives."