Current Team

Dr. Naresh Thadhani

Naresh Thadhani is Professor and Chair of the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech (GT). He joined the GT faculty in 1992, after six-years in the Center for Explosives Technology Research at New Mexico Tech, and two years as a post-doc at CalTech. He received his B.E. in 1980 from the Malaviya National Institute of Technology in Jaipur, India, M.S. from South Dakota School of Mines, and Ph.D. from New Mexico Tech, all in Metallurgical Engineering.

Dr. Thadhani’s research focusses on the fundamental mechanisms of physical, chemical, and mechanical changes under high-pressure shock-compression, and the deformation and fracture response of metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites subjected to ballistic impact and high-strain-rate loading. He has led significant advancements in the understanding of shock-induced phase transformations and mechanical properties of bulk metallic glasses; design, development, and characterization of structural energetic materials, and the shock-compression response of highly heterogeneous (granular) materials through meso-scale computational simulations and experimental studies using novel optomechanical pressure sensors and interferometry approaches.

At Georgia Tech, he has developed a state-of-the-art high-strain-rate laboratory which includes 80-mm and 7.62-mm diameter single-stage gas-guns, and a laser-accelerated thin-foil set-up, to perform impact experiments at velocities of 70 to 1200 m/s. The experiments employ time-resolved diagnostics to monitor shock-initiated events with nanosecond resolution employing piezoelectric and piezoresistive stress gauges, multi-beam VISAR interferometry, multiplexed Photonic-Doppler-Velocimetry, and high-speed digital imaging, optomehcanical spectral sensors, combined with the ability to recover impacted materials for post-mortem microstructural characterization and determination of other properties. He also has computational capabilities employing continuum simulations for design of experiments and development and validation of constitutive equations, as well as for meso-scale discrete particle numerical analysis (using CTH and ALE3D codes) to determine the effects observed during shock compression of heterogeneous materials.

Dr. Thadhani has advised 15 visiting scientists/post-docs; 26 Ph.D and 18 M.S degree students; and mentored 50+ undergraduate researchers. His current group includes 6 Ph.D. students, 1 Research Engineer, and 4 undergraduate research assistants. He has attracted research funding exceeding ~$20M from federal agencies including the AFOSR, ARO, DARPA, DTRA, ONR, NSF, as well as from several national DoE and DoD laboratories and industries. He has co-edited 12 books/proceedings, published more than 170 paper papers in refereed journals (including several invited review articles) and 150 in conference proceedings, and presented more than 150 invited talks/seminars. He has served or is serving on review boards including the National Academy of Science panel at the Army Research Laboratory (2015, 2016, and 2018), and academic program reviews at Penn State University, Universities of Texas at Austin, Dallas, and at El Paso, University of Notre Dame, University of Florida, University of Central Florida, and the University of California multi-campus national lab collaborative research program review.

Dr. Thadhani is recipient of 2018 TMS Leadership award, Fellow of ASM International and American Physical Society, and Academician of EuroMediterranean Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Research Scientist II


Dr. Greg Kennedy

Dr. Kennedy is our Research Scientist II and go-to-guy. He received his M.S. from Georgia Tech in Materials Science and Engineering, and his Ph.D. from Kumamoto University in New Frontier Sciences. He is a outdoorsman and avid bicyclist.

Dr. Sungwoo Jang

Sungwoo Jang is a post-doc researcher in Materials Science and Engineering in Dr. Thadhani's group. He graduated from Chung-Ang University in South Korea with his PhD in Mechanical Engineering. His research interests include the integrated design of materials and products in complex engineering systems across multiple scales. His research is currently focused on process optimization for additive manufacturing of energetic materials and investigation of material behavior under high strain rate.

Graduate Students

Andrew Boddorff

Andrew Boddorff is currently a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in the Material Science and Engineering School at Georgia Tech. After graduating from Hamilton College in 2010 with a degree in Chemistry, Andrew joined DC Teaching Fellows to become an educator and enter the classroom with the intent of serving the vulnerable student populations in the nation’s capital. Andrew joined the faculty at Ballou SHS and worked for five years as a Chemistry teacher and eventual department chair.

The love of science that he passed onto his students eventually lead him to return to the lab, joining Dr. Thadhani’s group. His thesis centers around understanding how the heterogeneities present in additively manufactured materials affect shock properties through gas gun experiments. Andrew is a NASA Pathways Intern and will continue work on additive manufacturing of metals. Beyond the lab, Andrew enjoys physical activities such as hiking and Ultimate Frisbee as well as cerebral pass times, such as board games.

Karla Wagner

Karla Wagner is a fifth year Ph.D. student in Materials Science and Engineering in Dr. Thadhani's group. She graduated from Georgia Tech with her BS in MSE in December 2016, where she was a member of the marching band and served the community through Tau Beta Sigma. She has worked largely in the aerospace field, focusing on engineering composites while interning at Gulfstream, Boeing, and SpaceWorks Enterprises. Karla's research is currently focused on understanding the dynamic response of highly heterogeneous 3D printed particle composites and developing quantum dots as mesoscale optical sensors for use in high strain rate work.

Karla is an active mentor to undergraduates through the MSE Industry-Student Mentoring Program, after being mentored herself as an undergraduate at Georgia Tech. She is also involved in the review and judging of both PURA and capston research projects and is a task group leader in GSAG. She has been recognized by receiving the FLAMEL Fellowship through Georgia Tech, funded by the IGERT award. In her spare time, Karla enjoys playing the oboe, reading, and skiing, and  loves her pet rats and fish.

Katie Koube

Katie studies the effect of shock and high strain rates on dislocation interactions in additively manufactured metals, with a focus on Stainless Steel 316L. She is interested in the manipulation of micro-structure through additive manufacturing to create metals with superior high strain rate deformation responses compared to traditionally processed metals. Utilization of in-situ TEM to characterize dislocation movement during strain as well as analysis of post-shocked samples can help to characterize the unique response of additively manufactured micro-structures to shock environments.

Keara Frawley

Keara Frawley is a 4th year PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech. She received a BSE in Materials Science and Engineering and a BA in German Studies from the University of Connecticut in 2018. She is working with Dr. Naresh Thadhani and Dr. Rampi Ramprasad to design materials tolerant to spall failure at high strain rates, through the use of high-velocity impact experiments and computational techniques such as machine learning and molecular dynamics.

Keara is a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) fellow, a recipient of the President’s Fellowship through Georgia Tech, and a Sam Nunn Security Program (SNSP) Fellow. She is currently the vice president of the Materials Research Society (MRS) Georgia Tech chapter.

Leah O'Rourke

Tyler Knapp

Taylor Sloop

Taylor Sloop is a second-year PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech. She received her BS in Engineering and a BS in Dance from Harvey Mudd College in 2020. She is working with Dr. Thadhani and Dr. Kacher to determine the effects of porosity on additively manufactured 316L Stainless Steel in high strain environments. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting, crocheting, and reading.

Ben Zusmann

Ben Zusmann is a first-year PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech. He received a BS in Materials Science and Engineering in 2020, also at Georgia Tech. In Dr. Naresh Thadhani’s lab, he is focused on developing and advancing strength-compaction models of granular materials under dynamic shock environments through gas gun experimentation and advanced simulation work. Outside of academics, he enjoys playing soccer and disc golf, reading, and nature photography.

Undergraduate Students

Konrad Muly