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Dr. Raj Vaidyanathan




  • Ph.D. — Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1999
  • M.S. — Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University, 1995
  • B.S. — Chemical Engineering with honors, summa cum laude, Lafayette College, 1994


At UCF, Dr. Vaidyanathan has established a world class program in the research and development of shape memory alloys. The program has had tremendous impact and has placed UCF’s doctoral students in prominent careers in shape memory alloys (e.g., Dr. O. Benafan is in a permanent civil servant position in NASA Glenn Research Center’s shape memory alloy group, Dr. M. Manjeri is with SAES Smart Materials, the world largest producer and fabricator of shape memory alloys, D. Nicholson has accepted a position at Boeing while he finishes his doctoral dissertation at UCF), partnered with prestigious partners (e.g., NASA Glenn Research Center, NASA Kennedy Space Center, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory) and has been supported by very competitive awards from funding agencies and major multi-national corporations (e.g., NSF CAREER, NASA NRA, Siemens, Medtronic, St Jude Medical etc.,). UCF is also an active member in the Consortium for the Advancement of Shape Memory Alloy Research and Technology (CASMART) which includes Boeing, GM, NASA Glenn Research Center, NASA Langley Research Center, Northwestern and Texas A&M amongst its members. While Dr. Vaidyanathan’s core area of research expertise has been shape memory alloys, he has made an impact in the broader area of mechanical behavior of materials. Following the NASA Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, Dr. Vaidyanathan received funding to use nanoindentation in his laboratory to determine the hardness of debris from the solid rocket booster separation motors. These results were presented to a NASA return-to-flight evaluation committee. When cracks were observed in the flowliner during routine inspections of the NASA Space Shuttle Discovery leading to the grounding of the entire space shuttle fleet, Dr. Vaidyanathan worked with engineers at NASA Kennedy Space Center and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center to test flowliner coupons at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Furthermore, Dr. Vaidyanathan has received funding for several projects from local industry (e.g., FloMet, Sawtek, NASA Kennedy Space Center contractors – Qinetiq Inc, USA and ASRC) including several Florida High Tech Corridor Council (FHTCC) grants. His expertise has also impacted two premier national laboratories. At Los Alamos National Laboratory, he was instrumental in developing a user facility that allowed for the simultaneous neutron diffraction and mechanical loading at cryogenic temperatures. This was done in partnership with NASA Kennedy Space Center. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, he was PI on a UCF-NASA-Oak Ridge National Laboratory User Partnership for Sample Environment Equipment Development Proposal that has been implemented to develop a user facility for simultaneous axial-torsion loading and heating. Dr. Vaidyanathan has partnered with researchers at NASA Glenn Research Center in the area of shape memory alloys and with engineers at NASA Kennedy Space Center and their contractors (including ASRC, USA, Qinetiq) in the area of shape memory alloys and mechanical testing. This research partnership has led to patents co-invented by UCF faculty and students, NASA Glenn Research Center and Kennedy Space Center engineers. From Siemens he has received funding to investigate a seal failure, measure residual stresses in a turbine blade component and develop innovative variable tip clearance turbine blade technologies using shape memory alloys. With Medtronic and St Jude Medical, along with A. Kar (CREOL), he is modifying alloys so that they can exhibit reduced heating in a magnetic resonance imaging environment while maintaining their original mechanical properties.

Selected Publications

  1. D. E. Nicholson, S.A. Padula II, R.D. Noebe, O. Benafan and R. Vaidyanathan, “Thermomechanical Behavior of NiTiPdPt High Temperature Shape Memory Alloy Springs”, Smart Mater Struct, 23 (2014) 125009.
  2. O. Benafan, W. Notardonato and R. Vaidyanathan, “Design and development of a shape memory alloy activated heat pipe based thermal switch”, Smart Mater Struct, 22 10 (2013) 105017.
  3. O. Benafan, R.D. Noebe, S.A. Padula II, A. Garg, B. Clausen, S. Vogel and R. Vaidyanathan, “Temperature dependent deformation of B2 austenite in a NiTi shape-memory alloy”, Int J Plasticity 51 (2013) 103.
  4. O. Benafan, R.D. Noebe, S.A. Padula II and R. Vaidyanathan, “Microstructural response during isothermal and isobaric loading of a precipitation strengthened Ni-29.7Ti-20Hf high-temperature shape-memory alloy”, Met Trans A 43 A (2012) 4539.
  5. S. Qiu, S.A Padula, R.D. Noebe, D.J. Gaydosh and R. Vaidyanathan, “On elastic moduli and elastic anisotropy in polycrystalline martensitic NiTi”, Acta Mater. 59, (2011), 5055.