Ashwin Shahani joins UM MSE as Assistant Professor

Ashwin Shahani joins UM MSE as Assistant Professor

Ashwin Shahani

In September 2016, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering welcomed Ashwin Shahani to the faculty as an assistant professor.


Shahani says that patterns in nature have always fascinated him.


“We see beautiful structures falling from the sky, and yet we cannot explain how they came to be. How do molecules in the disordered gaseous state organize themselves into ice crystals? This is a fundamental question that remains to be answered.”


Snowflakes are but one example from a large class of complex patterns. Other examples include dendritic and faceted structures. Shahani believes that the problem of pattern formation in such systems not only has scientific merit but also technological importance.


“What we learn from studying the growth of these remarkable patterns can then be used to process advanced materials for aerospace or automotive applications. The insights gained will allow us to better tune the as-grown structures to technological demands.”


Shahani spent many of his formative years in Chicago. He joins UM MSE from Northwestern University, where he earned his doctoral degree in Materials Science and Engineering. During this time, his research focused on the crystallization behaviors of highly faceted systems from a liquid phase. Some of his work is highlighted in [1].


“I studied alloys of aluminum (Al) and silicon (Si). The Al-Si alloy is used in 90% of the total Al cast parts produced. The highly directional covalent bonds of the Si phase have a profound impact on the chemical and mechanical properties of the material.”


For his work, Shahani was awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) graduate research fellowship as well as the first place award at the John E. Hilliard symposium.


At UM, Shahani will develop a research group at the forefront of solidification science. His group will explore a wide range of unanswered questions in the community, with particular emphasis on the growth of eutectics, semiconductors, and quasicrystals.


“I am excited to collaborate with members within my department as well as from other disciplines to solve these problems. A multidisciplinary approach is critical to understand the physical phenomena occurring at the different temporal and spatial scales.”


To read more about Ashwin Shahani, please visit his faculty page.

[1] A. J. Shahani et al., Scientific Reports 6, 28651 (2016).