Plenary Speakers

Ramesh Talreja ( "The Scala Lecture")

Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University, USA

Ramesh Talreja’s research career began in 1978 with a project dealing with fatigue of wind turbine blades made of glass/polyester for the Danish Wind Energy program. His work over the next seven years led to the monograph, “Fatigue of Composite Materials”, and continued with contributions to the field of damage and failure of composite materials. After more than fifteen years on the faculty of the Technical University of Denmark, he moved to the United States to join Georgia Institute of Technology as a professor of Aerospace Engineering, and 10 years later, to head the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University. Professor Talreja has written numerous papers, book chapters, and most recently, the book, “Damage and Failure of Composite Materials” (with C.V. Singh), while serving on the editorial boards of 15 journals and editing several book volumes. His current interests are in cost-effective manufacturing of composites through engineering of defects.  


Ignaas Verpoest

Department of Materials Engineering, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium

Prof. Ignaas VERPOEST was a full professor at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium and guiding a group of  8 postdoc researchers and 25 PhD-students. He is the author of more than 210 journal papers, about 500 conference papers and 3 books, and holds 15 patents. Since September 2013, Ignaas Verpoest is emeritus professor at KU Leuven. Prof. Verpoest is holder of the Toray Chair in Composite Materials at KU Leuven.  He was President of the European Society for Composite Materials (ESCM), and of the International Committee on Composite Materials. Prof. Ignaas Verpoest won several awards, amongst others the Descartes Prize for Science Communication of the European Commission (2004), the International Fellowship of the Society for the Advancement of Materials Processing and Engineering (SAMPE, 2009) and of the International Committee on Composite Materials (ICCM, 2009). In 2014, he was awarded the ‘Medal of Excellence in Composite Materials’ of the University of Delaware. He is also co-founder and board member of the company Econcore, worldwide producer of innovative honeycomb cores.

Jinsong Leng

Center for Smart Materials and Structures at Harbin Institute of Technology, China

Prof. Leng is Cheung Kong Chair Professor and Director of the Center for Smart Materials and Structures at Harbin Institute of Technology, China.  His researches cover Sensors & Actuators, Stimulus Responsive Polymers (Shape Memory and Electro-Active Polymers) and their composites, Multifunctional Nanocomposites, Active Vibration Control, Structural Health Monitoring, and Active Morphing Structures. Prof. Leng has authored or co-authored over 260 scientific papers, 8 books/chapters, 29 issued patents and 15 pending patents. He is editor in Chief of International Journal of Smart and Nano Materials, Associate Editor of Smart Materials and Structures and Journal of Intelligent Materials Systems and Structures, and editorial board member of Composites A. Prof. Leng has been elected as an Executive Council Member of ICCM, Fellow of SPIE, Fellow of Institute of Physics (IOP), Fellow of Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), Fellow of Institute of Materials, Minerals, and Mining (IMMM) and Associate Fellow of AIAA.


Mark Spearing

School of Engineering Sciences, Southampton University, UK

Mark Spearing is Professor of Engineering Materials in the School of Engineering Sciences at Southampton University. He has served as Head of the School of Engineering Sciences and currently as Provost and Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) for the University.  Prior to his appointment at Southampton he was a Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from 1994-2004. His technical interests include advanced composites materials, processes and structural analysis, design of Micro- and Nano-Systems, electronic packages and structural health monitoring.  His work in composite materials has focused on understanding damage and failure processes with the aim of producing mechanism-based models to guide material development and design methods.  He has been working in the field of composite materials since 1986, and attended his first ICCM in London in 1987.  Spearing is an editor of the Journal of Composite Materials and also of Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems. He has published over 170 technical publications, including more than 100 in refereed journals. He holds five patents.  In 2004 he received a Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award.


Richard A. Vaia

Functional Materials Division of the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), USA  

Richard A. Vaia is the Technology Director of the Functional Materials Division of the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).   The Division delivers functional materials and processing solutions that revolutionize AF aircraft, spacecraft, launch vehicles, and their structural, electronic and optical components.  Rich serves on numerous editorial boards, Board of Directors and external review panels, and has authored over 200 peer-reviewed papers and patents on polymer nanocomposites, complex nanoparticle architectures and their impact on developing adaptive soft matter.  He received his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell University in 1995, and is a Fellow of the Materials Research Society, American Physical Society, American Chemical Society (PMSE Division), and the Air Force Research Laboratory.


Yapa D. S. Rajapakse

Solid Mechanics, Office of Naval Research, USA

Dr. Rajapakse is currently Program Manager, Solid Mechanics, Office of Naval Research (ONR). The major focus of the Solid Mechanics Program is research on Marine Composites and Composite Sandwich Structures. Dr. Rajapakse received his Ph. D. degree in Applied Mechanics under the guidance of the late Professor J. N. Goodier, and a M. S. degree in Mathematics, from Stanford University. He has been elected Fellow of the four technical societies: American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Society of Engineering Science (SES), American Academy of Mechanics (AAM), and American Society for Composites (ASC.)He has served on the Editorial Boards of eight technical journals, including Composites Science and Technology, Journal of Sandwich Structures and Materials, Journal of Composite Materials, and Composites Part B. Dr. Rajapakse has served as President, Vice-president, Member of Board of Directors, of SES. He has served as Chairman of the Composite Materials Committee of the Applied Mechanics Division of ASME, and the Polymer-Matrix Composites Division of ASC. He has organized ONR Symposia at several past ICCMs including ICCM16, ICCM17, ICCM18, and ICCM19. He has edited/coedited 32 books, including recently: “Dynamic Failure of Materials and Structures,” “Blast Mitigation: Experimental and Numerical Studies,” and “Durability of Composites in a Marine Environment.”