PULLMAN, Wash. — More than 400 worldwide visionaries about mechanical and materials development will gather at Washington State University in Pullman Sept. 27-30 for the 35th Annual Technical Meeting of the Society of Engineering Science. These international scientists and engineers will share new knowledge and discoveries in many areas, including how to design a new generation of materials that perform better under the stresses of weight, time, temperature, magnetic fields, turbulence and even in outer space.
Over 20 symposia will feature presentations about theoretical and practical issues, such as how giga-scale electronics affect micro-mechanics, and how to design and develop new-age polymers, plastics, superconductors and composites that will revolutionize many products of modern life, particularly in the aerospace and automobile industries.
For example, a German expert in solid state actuators and design of “smart materials” estimates “the market for piezoelectric actuators and ultrasonic motors will reach beyond $1 billion by the year 2000.”
Another nine-year Japanese project provides a prototype for completely automated manufacture of tailored garments. The completely unmanned process — beginning with a bolt of fabric on one end, and the tailored goods on the other — breaks ground in areas that warrant 200 patents.
Research on superplasticity will advance production techniques using ultra-light titanium alloys in automobiles of the new millennium. And, in the biomechanics realm, studies on the role of individual muscle’s stress to the femur and simulations of the heart’s contraction-relaxation eventually could improve medical practices.
The keynote speaker at the plenary session, 8:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 28, in the Compton Union Hall Auditorium, is 1991 Nobel Laureate in Physics Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, of the Ecole Superieur de Physique & Chemie. He will speak about “Powder Mechanics,” relating the physical behaviors of dry granular materials. Understanding the dynamics of such physics help technologists avert mudslides and earthquake damage, understand the behavior of dust in engines, and improve commercially-packaged granular products, to name a few applications.
Other keynoters are 1988 Prager Medalist John Willis, University of Cambridge England, and 1998 Engineering Science Medalist Sol Bodner from the Israel Institute of Technology. Willis will relate the progress toward a more sophisticated analysis of nonlinear composites, which eventually will increase scientists’ and engineers’ ability to manipulate the structure of composites at the microscopic level. Bodner relates the development and application of elastic-viscoplastic equations factoring in load, strain and temperature. Some materials to which these equations might apply are metals, rock salt and excised facial skin.
WSU’s School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering hosts the conference. With grants from the U.S. Army and Navy, 15 graduate students from universities across the country will receive partial support to attend this meeting. WSU’s Graduate and Professional Student Association will support eight WSU graduate students’ participation in activities.
SES98 Conference coordinator and chair is Hussein Zbib, WSU professor of micro-mechanics of materials. Other WSU faculty involved in the conference are Clayton Crowe; Howard Hamilton; John Hirth; Lloyd Smith; Mohammed Osman; Karti Mayaram; Gus Plumb; Steve Antolovich; Dave Stock; Jow-Lian Ding, College of Engineering and Architecture; and Kenneth Campbell, Department of VCAPP and Biological Systems Engineering.
Copies of the program are available to reporters, who are welcome to attend sessions.

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