Mechanical Engineering Professor Daniel O. Adams has been awarded the Wayne W. Stinchcomb Award for his outstanding research, engineering, teaching, and mentorship contributions in the field of composite materials. This is one of the highest awards given in the field of composites in the United States. It was presented to Adams by the ASTM International D30 Committee during the American Society for Composites 33rd Annual Technical Conference and ASTM Committee D30 Meeting, held in Seattle, Washington on September 26, 2018. As part of the award process, Prof. Adams delivered a keynote lecture entitled “Crashworthiness: The Next Frontier in Composite Mechanics.”

The Wayne W. Stinchcomb Memorial Award, which is presented biannually, was established over two decades ago to honor Dr. Stinchcomb who was both a Fellow of the American Society for Composites and past Chairman of Committee D30. In order to properly pay tribute to Dr. Stinchcomb and his array of outstanding contributions and characteristics, three key criteria are considered in choosing the individual to receive the award:

  • Outstanding contributions in research, engineering, or teaching the technology of composite materials
  • Outstanding service to organizations with emphasis on the study and advancement of composite materials
  • Other outstanding work or contributions in the area of composite materials

In particular, the individual’s role in the mentorship of colleagues involved in these areas is a key consideration.

“Receiving the Stinchcomb Award is a tremendous honor for me,” Adams states, “particularly since I knew Wayne Stinchcomb and considered him a mentor and a friend.  Although I never took a course from Dr. Stinchcomb during either my M.S. or Ph.D. degrees at Virginia Tech, I interacted with him throughout my time there and was privileged to serve as the student board member on the Center for Composite Materials and Structures (CCMS) board while Dr. Stinchcomb was the director.”

Dr. Adams easily fulfills the above selection criteria. In particular, he has been recognized for his role in mentorship of colleagues and students, which is a key consideration in the overall evaluation. As one nominating letter noted,

“His infectious enthusiasm and uncanny ability to explain difficult concepts, combined with his genuine interest in student learning, have earned Dan a reputation as one of the most beloved professors in the College of Engineering at the University of Utah.”

Another nominating letter noted:

“I found myself the benefactor of Dan’s compassionate, selfless, and empathetic approach to mentorship. He has the genuine interest in the success of junior faculty and takes extraordinary measures to ensure their success.”

Adams’ overall leadership and mentorship extends beyond his extensive work with students and colleagues, and is well manifested in his strong interest and associated pursuit to bridge the gap between academia and industry. Specifically, he works to educate the engineering community on test methods for composite materials through a regular column that he writes for CompositesWorld magazine. He has also pursued this via multiple short courses and tutorials he has held around the world, often associated with the Society of the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE) events. Prof. Adams has also been actively involved with the efforts associated with the Composite Materials Handbook CMH-17, including taking a leadership role as chair of the Testing Working Group for over ten years.

Beyond these aspects, Adams has been an important contributor on the national and the international scenes. This involves a number of areas in regard to composite materials and structures. He has authored and co-authored over 100 publications in journals and conference proceedings. In addition to his important contributions through research, as well as, through teaching of the technology of composite materials, he has been involved in the area of composite materials through service via various organizations. His service includes a number of years as a member of the executive subcommittee of ASTM Committee D30, and as chair of the Subcommittee on Research and Mechanics. Prof. Adams currently serves as vice-chairman of the overall committee. He has been a strong contributor and leader in the SAMPE organization where he has served as general chair and technical chair for multiple national SAMPE conferences. He has grown in his leadership role in that organization, and currently serves as a member of the National Board of Directors.

Prof. Adams arrived at the University of Utah Department of Mechanical Engineering as an assistant professor in 1997, after several years as a faculty member at Iowa State University. He received his Ph.D. at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Engineering Mechanics in 1991.