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Engineering Professor Authors Textbook on Material Strength

Public Relations
Posted: Monday May 5, 2014

May 5, 2014

Dr. Paul S. Follansbee, the James F. Will Professor of Engineering Science in the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing, is the author of a new engineering textbook, Fundamentals of Strength, published by TMS (The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society) and John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Follansbee, a member of the Saint Vincent faculty since 2008 and the director of the College’s new bachelor of science degree program in engineering science, is a materials scientist and engineer with more than 30 years’ experience in technical research and development. An international authority in the field of metal deformation and deformation modeling, Follansbee explores the underlying theory, mechanistic basis and implementation of the Mechanical Threshold Stress (MTS) deformation model, which he and coworkers developed beginning in the 1980s.

The publication explores technical topics such as mechanical testing, crystal structure, thermodynamics, dislocation motion, dislocation-obstacle interactions, hardening through dislocation accumulation and deformation kinetics.

“The models I describe support the emerging theme of Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) by offering a foundation for the bridge between length scales characterizing the mesoscale (mechanistic) and the macroscopic,” Follansbee explained.

“Fundamentals of Strength begins with a chapter that introduces various approaches to measuring the strength of metals,” Follansbee said. “It continues with discussions about structure and bonding, contributions to strength, dislocation-obstacle interactions, the basis for a constitutive law for metal deformation, further MTS model developments and data analysis deriving MTS model parameters.”

“The next group of chapters examines the application of the MTS model to copper and nickel, BCC metals and alloys, HCP metals and alloys, austenitic stainless steels and heavily deformed metals,” he added. “The final chapter (13) offers suggestions for the continued development and application of the MTS model – the research that I know has to be done by others in the future.”

To help readers fully understand the application of the MTS model, the author presents two fictional materials along with extensive data sets. In addition, end-of-chapter exercises give readers the opportunity to apply the models themselves using a variety of data sets. Follansbee created a website that provides solutions to the homework programs.

Designed for use by students, materials researchers and deformation modelers, Fundamentals of Strength goes beyond theory, offering readers a model that is fully supported with examples and applications. The publication is available as either a 493-page hardback book or in digital format.

Follansbee began the project in the spring of 2011 after one of his students, Aaron Weiss, asked him for help in planning his senior research project. “I started writing the fundamentals of the topic for him and the project just never stopped,” Follansbee admitted. “I continued writing that summer and all of the following year until I finally finished in early 2013. It took about a year to complete the layout, design, illustrations, proofreading and index so the actual publication date was February of this year.”

“Two of the chapters include work that comprised part of the undergraduate research projects of Weiss and another student, Frank McGrogan,” Follansbee noted. “Other Saint Vincent students involved include Caitlin Sawyer, who reviewed chapters and searched for typographical and other errors; Marley Case, who created several diagrams using AutoCAD®; and Ashlee Zaffina and Loren Ostrosky who helped compile the index.”

He noted that, in addition to the support he received from Los Alamos National Laboratory, several area companies were supportive of the project including Westmoreland Mechanical Testing and Research Inc. in Youngstown, TSI Titanium in Derry and Product Evaluation Systems Inc. in Latrobe.

Follansbee, who teaches an introductory course in materials, Materials Engineering, an Introduction to Engineering course and General Physics laboratories, will use the book for an Advanced Strength of Materials course in the future. He anticipates that the book will be utilized as an engineering textbook by other professors at colleges and universities across the world and that it will also be used as a reference text by working practitioners. “It will be useful for those studying the fundamentals of strength, strength of metals, mathematical modeling and other engineering courses,” he predicted. Several hundred copies ($140 each) have already been sold since its introduction by Wiley at TMS 2014, the 143rd Annual Meeting and Exhibition of the Minerals, Metals, & Materials Society in San Diego earlier this year.

A native of southern California who grew up in the Sacramento area, Follansbee, 64, earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering at Duke University, a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. in metallurgy and materials science from Carnegie-Mellon University where he was a Mellon Institute Fellow.

Follansbee is currently the James F. Will Professor of Engineering Science at Saint Vincent, an endowed faculty position funded by an anonymous donor in honor of Saint Vincent College’s 15th president who served as chief executive officer of several major corporations in the steel industry.

Prior to joining the Saint Vincent faculty, Follansbee served five years as a division leader at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico where he led a staff of 500 engineers, scientists, technicians and administrative staff of the materials science and technology division. He previously worked for Howmet Castings, an Alcoa business, and at the General Electric Corporate Research and Development Center.

George T. Gray III of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, who is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts in the field of material strength, wrote the book’s foreword. “This is an exceptional monograph for the student, faculty researcher or professor,” he wrote, “and the experimental or theoretical and modeling researcher tasked with understanding the use of physically-based predictive constitutive models for metals and alloys written by the preeminent author of the Mechanical Threshold Strength Model.”

In addition to the new monograph, Follansbee is the author of more than 90 journal articles and research papers.

He and his wife, Carolyn, a retired accountant and office manager, reside in Hempfield Twp. He has three grown children, David, a Ph.D. chemical engineer who works in New York, John, a junior high teacher of technology who works for the state of New York, and Nicole, an elementary school teacher in Upper Fairfax County, Virginia.

“I hope the completion of this project has provided a lesson on the achievement of challenging goals,” he concluded. “This is a major accomplishment. I was blessed to have the time to complete it.”


Photo: Dr. Paul S. Follansbee