Hometown: Beavercreek, Ohio
Alma Mater: University of Dayton
Hobby: Distance running
Tara Storage was raised near the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. She became interested in aerospace while visiting the base and its museum with her father, a mechanical engineer. Today, she works as a materials research engineer there in the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory.
“It’s a really exciting time to work in aerospace,” says Storage, who earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a master’s degree in materials engineering, both from the University of Dayton. “We’ve seen an increase in composite use on the military and commercial side.”
During her eight years at the lab, Storage has worked on several collaborative projects. One is the Non-Autoclave Manufacturing Technology Program, a joint program funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and led by a Boeing team from St. Louis. Under the guidance of the Air Force, the five-year-project — which wrapped up this summer — developed out-ofautoclave manufacturing technology of prepregs for primary structures, such as wing skins, fuselages and large spars. Storage’s team performed material kinetic, viscosity and process modeling case studies to assist in mitigating fabrication risks of large structures.
“My group adds the science and engineering piece to difficult processing or fabrication issues,” says Storage. Most recently, her work has focused on incorporating modeling and simulation into all areas of composites, including fabrication, processing and manufacturing.
In January, Storage competed in the Olympic Trials Marathon with her twin sister. It was only the second marathon for the collegiate cross country runner and track and field champion. “That was a wonderful learning experience,” she says.
Hometown: Bangalore, India
Alma Mater: Karnataka University
Uday Vaidya became interested in composites during the late 1980s while earning his master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Shivaji University in India. More than 30 years later, he remains passionate about composites.
“It’s a dynamic field,” says Vaidya, a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB). “Every day there’s a new application developed. What I did in the early 1990s isn’t even close to what I do today. I’ve moved from thermoset to thermoplastic, from aerospace to commercial applications and different fabrications. The application scope makes composites continuously interesting for me.”
Vaidya is the director of UAB’s Materials Processing and Applications Development (MPAD) Composites Center. It serves the automotive, transportation, defense, infrastructure and energy industries for advanced engineering plastics and composites design, analysis, processing, manufacture and product development. “A lot of our work is product-oriented,” says Vaidya. “We have developed a range of solutions for everything from vehicles to aviation and helmets.”
MPAD has teamed with the Department of Energy to advance technologies that make automotive vehicles lighter without compromising safety, performance, recyclability and cost. The goals of this project — called the UAB GATE project — include advancing applications for cost-effective carbon fiber, developing green materials and creating predictive engineering and modeling for long fiber processes. In 2010, Vaidya published the book, “Composites for Automotive, Mass Transit and Heavy Truck.”
Vaidya and his wife, a registered dietitian, have two sons. He is active in the Birmingham community, often speaking at local schools about science. “I like getting kids excited about and engaged in science,” he says.