A Walk Down Memory Lane: Successes and Frustrations

Friday, Sept. 5, 2014, 3:00 pm

Mechanical Engineering Distinguished Seminar Series
Warnock Engineering Bldg. (WEB) 2230
Reception to follow at 4:00 pm

K. L. (Larry) DeVries, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor &Dir., Fracture & Adhesives Lab
Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah

Video of presentation

All are invited and welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served.


Abstract:  My research involvement has been long, varied, strange, often out of the ordinary and frustrating; but for me, and I hope my graduate students, it has always been interesting. In this talk I hope to convey the successes and frustrations of my career, and illustrate how small projects, opportunities, or interactions lead to major career advancements. I will describe how an undergraduate job to perform a literature search on high pressure mechanics resulted not only in a BS thesis, but a 495 page technical report (with nearly 500 hand-drawn figures) that was published by the AFOSR. This report formed the foundation of my Ph.D. dissertation on “Creep at High Pressures” and initiated my career in solid mechanics.

I will disclose how the Atomic Energy Commission’s new Plow Share Program, and their unreasonable restrictions on publications, led to the development of Terra Tek, Inc, one of the first companies to occupy Research Park and still a leader in mining, oil, gas and geothermal research. I will share how a private conversation with a Russian scientist at a conference in Japan led to the characterization of the molecular phenomena of fracture in our lab, and resulted in an exciting time as anything we did was new and novel in our field. Finally, I will describe how a grant to evaluate barnacle cement as a potential dental adhesive led to over 30 years of funded adhesive research in the Fracture and Adhesives Lab at the University of Utah.

Bio: Prof. DeVries received his A.S. in Civil Engineering from Weber State College, Ogden in 1953, his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the U in 1959, and his Ph.D. in Physics/Mechanical Engineering from the U in 1962. Since his first faculty appointment in 1962, he has served in several different positions, including Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department and Senior Associate Dean of the College of Engineering.

Both Dr. DeVries’ research and teaching have been acknowledged with University and national awards. He is now recognized as a distinguished professor and teaches several advanced courses in Mechanical Engineering including strength of materials, engineering materials, and dynamics. Throughout his life, DeVries has had the opportunity to travel across the world, lecturing in India, Europe, Japan and all over the United States. He has consulted for many companies including mainstream corporations such as 3M and Emerson Electric.

His research interests are material failure, material selection and substitution, mechanical properties of polymers, behavior of adhesive joints, and biomaterials.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah is committed to providing students with broad-based, rigorous and progressive education. By combining state-of-the-art facilities with renowned faculty, the department provides an education that gives students the necessary skills to become the next generation of innovators.