Translational Research in Nano and Bio Mechanics

By Ken P. Chong

Materials and Construction Research Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

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In an interview with the author in 2004 at Rice University, the late Nobel laureate Rick Smalley indicated that one of the most challenging problems is the integration and interface between wet (biological) and dry (structural) materials. Nano and bio science and engineering is one of the frontiers in transformative and translational research. Nano technology is a very efficient way in the creation of new materials, devices and systems at the molecular level - phenomena associated with atomic and molecular interactions strongly influence macroscopic material properties with significantly improved mechanical, optical, chemical, electrical and other properties. The transcendent technologies include nanotechnology, microelectronics, information technology and biotechnology as well as the enabling and supporting mechanical and civil infrastructure systems and smart materials. These technologies are the primary drivers of the twenty first century and the new economy. Bio sensing, drug delivery systems, energy, modeling and simulation, environmental and health concerns are also some of the challenging areas. Research opportunities, education and challenges in mechanics and materials, including multi-scale/multi-physics modeling, nanomechanics, bio-mechanics, drug delivery systems, carbon nano-tubes, bio-inspired materials, as well as improved engineering and design of materials will be discussed. In addition the translational research and impact of nano and bio science and engineering will be emphasized.


Ken P. ChongProfessor KEN P. CHONG, P.E. has been the Engineering Advisor and Director of Mechanics and Materials for the past 21 years at the National Science Foundation [NSF]. Currently he is associated with NIST and the George Washington University, writing a text book, editing a Elsevier and a Taylor & Francis journal, a Spon book series, doing lectures, serving on university advisory boards, etc. He earned his Ph.D. in Mechanics from Princeton University. He specializes in solid-mechanics/materials, nano-mechanics, and structural mechanics. At NSF in addition to managing 130 university research projects in mechanics/materials, he has been involved in the development of model-based simulation, durability and accelerated tests, life-cycle engineering, nano science and engineering, and other initiatives; and established the NSF Summer Institute on Nano Mechanics/Materials at Northwestern University. He was the Interim Division Director in 2005.

Prior to joining NSF, he was a professor for 18 years during which he pioneered the R&D of architectural sandwich-panels; developed new semi-circular fracture specimens for brittle materials. His experimental research on sweet spots in the 70’s changed the design of tennis rackets. He has published 200 plus technical papers and authored several books including 2 textbooks on mechanics by Wiley, currently in 2nd and 3rd editions. In the 1980’s he was involved in the academic design of the new HKUST, now a top university. He has given more than 50 keynote lectures, received awards including the fellow of AAM, ASME, SEM, USACM and ASCE; Edmund Friedman Professional Recognition Award; Honorary Doctorate, Shanghai University; Distinguished Member, ASCE; NCKU Distinguished Alumnus Award; and the NSF highest Distinguished Service Award. He has been a visiting professor at MIT, U. of Washington – Seattle, U. of Houston; honorary professor at HKU, HK PolyU, Dalian U. of Technology and others.

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  • Ken P. Chong (2010), "Translational Research in Nano and Bio Mechanics,"

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