White Selected for ASC Outstanding Research Award
A Willett Professor in the College of Engineering at Illinois and leader of the Autonomous Materials Systems Group, White has gained international recognition for pioneering several areas of composite materials research. Starting with his early work on composite manufacturing and analysis of residual stress development and continuing on with his innovative work on smart, multifunctional composite systems, he has published over 150 archival publications, many with over 100 citations each.
A member of AE’s faculty the past 24 years, White leads the Autonomous Materials Systems Group, a highly interdisciplinary team of researchers from chemistry, materials science, and various engineering disciplines at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. His group’s overarching goal is to create bio-inspired materials systems that improve the safety and reliability of many aerospace composite structures.
White’s team produced the first conclusive evidence of self-healing in a synthetic materials system in 2001. That breakthrough, which achieved healing by incorporating a microencapsulated healing agent and a catalytic chemical trigger within a polymer matrix, evolved into microvascular-based healing approaches, mimicking the repeated healing ability of human skin. More complex microvascular networks followed, and that advance has grown into materials that not only heal, but can also regenerate.
White has been a leader in transferring to industrial applications the composite technologies developed under his basic research programs. He currently holds 31 U.S. and 22 foreign patents and patent applications, primarily in the field of self-healing polymers and composites. White is a founding partner of CU Aerospace, LLC, a Champaign, Illinois, research and development company focusing on technology transition within the aerospace industry. He also founded Autonomic Materials Incorporated (AMI), a start-up company that develops self-healing coatings for applications within the coatings industry from architectural materials to oil production and distribution to marine and defense systems.
White has also advised countless undergraduate research projects and is an outstanding mentor of graduate students.
The American Society for Composites designates the ASC Outstanding Research Award winner is a distinguished member of the composites community who has made a significant impact on the science and technology of composite materials through a sustained research effort over a number of years.