Modelling material behaviour with computers

Tinkering with machines in his youth has lead to a lifelong journey of discovery for Mechanical Engineer and four-time Australian Research Council (ARC) recipient, Dr Nam Mai-Duy.

Dr Nam Mai-Duy


Dr Nam Mai-Duy

Born in Vietnam, Nam completed undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in Mechanical Engineering at Ho-Chi-Minh City University of Technology, before accepting a position at USQ as a visiting scholar in 1997.

From there Nam completed his PhD and several prestigious Post-Doctoral Research Fellowships in the relatively new field of Computational Rheology and Mechanics. Specifically, Nam’s research interests include particulate fluids and solids, multiscale calculations, boundary-integral-equation methods, and meshless/cartesian-grid RBFN-based methods.

“Basically my work involves examining the behaviour of products and materials using computer modelling, analysis and simulation to engineer new solutions.”

Computer prediction of material properties is considered as a new field because it is work that was formerly completed in laboratories.

“My research focuses on multi-phase materials, which are highly complex. Given this we use computer simulation to predict their properties because it would be too hard and too costly to do this type of work in a lab.”

Highly motivated, Nam has published more than 100 articles and presented keynotes/papers at significant conferences in Australia, Europe, Asia and America.

“I just like doing research. You discover something new and it is very challenging and you get to work in a team and, for my particular area, you can know and predict behaviour of material so it is very interesting.

“And my work provides a lot of benefit to industry and the consumer so we can design better composite materials for use through manipulating their microstructure.”

As an academic staff member, Nam has taught Dynamics 2 for four years and is currently supervising six PhD students.

“I really enjoy supervising because it means to have a team of people working together, so we can undertake large scale, interesting projects.”

As one of USQ’s brightest young minds, Nam received the USQ Award for Excellence in Research (Early Career) in 2007 and the Faculty of Engineering and Surveying Research Excellence Award in 2009.  Nam is now focused on conducting his two ARC projects in computational mechanics and continuing along, what many of us would consider, his very difficult path of discovery.

“I want to solve large-scale engineering projects, numerically predict bulk properties of more complex materials.”