Graduate engineering student Jason Sanchez is headed to the Technical University of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain on an international post-doctoral fellowship from the National Science Foundation to research computational failure mechanics with Professor Xavier Oliver.  He is planning to defend his dissertation later this summer before he leaves for Spain.

Sanchez presented his research at a conference in Venice, Italy in 2008.  He stopped in Spain to meet with Oliver and to discuss the possibility of future research. Oliver told him about the possibility of funding from NSF and Sanchez applied successfully for the fellowship, which will support his research over the next two years.

His interest in the area was triggered by work he performed as a defense contractor for the U.S. Air Force for five years.  Sanchez was working to simulate specific failure processes associated with weapons effectiveness, but encountered difficulties.

Sanchez says there is no one method that can be applied to a wide range of fracture problems including the failure of concrete structures, landslides, fragmentation due to impact or blast and failure of parts during specific manufacturing processes.  At UNM, the St. Pius high school graduate worked with associate professor of mechanical engineering Tariq Khraishi.

His goal during the fellowship is to conduct research to develop a new computational fracture method based on particle finite element method for fluids.

Media contact: Karen Wentworth (505) 277-5627; kwent2@unm.edu