July 18, 2018

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Michael R. Kessler, Ph.D., PE

Prof. Michael Kessler

Michael Kessler, the Wilkinson Professor of Interdisciplinary Engineering at Iowa State University (ISU),  is an expert in the mechanics, processing, and characterization of polymer matrix composites and nanocomposites. He teaches and conducts research in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE).  His research thrusts include multifunctional- and nano-composites, materials with self-healing functionality, development of new manufacturing techniques for polymer composites, and the evaluation of these materials using experimental solid mechanics techniques and thermal analysis. These broad-based topics span the fields of organic chemistry, applied mechanics, and processing science.


In addition to his responsibilities as a faculty member of Materials Science and Engineering at Iowa State University, he is an associate of the Department of Energy (DOE) Ames Laboratory, and is an active affiliate of the Biocomposites Research Group of the Center for Crops Utilization Research at Iowa State .

Beckman Institute

Univ. of Tulsa

Prior to joining ISU in the Fall of 2005, Prof. Kessler worked for three years as a faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Tulsa. He received his Ph.D. from the Dept. of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2002 where he worked as a Graduate Research Fellow at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology in the Advanced Chemical Systems Group under the direction of Prof. Scott White. His thesis research was on the development of “self-healing” composite materials. While at Illinois he also served for four years as the Laboratory Manager of the Composites Manufacturing Lab in the Dept. of Aerospace Engineering.

In his academic career he has developed an active research group with external funding of over ten million dollars—including funding from the National Science Foundation, ACS Petroleum Research Fund, Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, Army Research Office, Air Force Office of Scientific Research and NASA.  His honors and awards include Young Investigator Awards from both the Army Research Office and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the NSF CAREER award, Best Paper Awards from the American Society for Composites (ASC) and American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE), the Elsevier Young Composites Researcher Award from the American Society for Composites, and the ISU Early Achievement in Research Award. He has published over 90 peer reviewed journal publications, holds 6 patents (with several others pending), has presented nearly 200 talks at national and international meetings, and serves as a frequent reviewer and referee in his field.

Dr. Kessler grew up in Custer, S.D. and obtained his BS degree in Mechancial Engineering from LeTourneau University in 1996. He lives in Ames, IA with his wife, Michelle, and their three young children, Ethan, Kara and Caleb.


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Materials Science and Engineering Department · Iowa State University
Office: 3053B Gilman Hall · Mail: 2220 Hoover Hall · Ames, IA 50011
Phone: +1-515-294-3101 · Email: mkessler@iastate.edu