Want to learn more about ACRC?  Contact any member of our core team.

Diran Apelian

Diran Apelian Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Chief Strategy Officer, Samueli School of Engineering

Director, ACRC UCI, dapelian@uci.edu B.S., Drexel University, 1968; Sc.D., MIT, 1972

Apelian is a Fellow of TMS, ASM, and APMI; he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), National Academy of Inventors (NAI), the European Academy of Sciences, and the Armenian Academy of Sciences. Prior to joining UCI, Apelian was at WPI where he served as Provost and founded the Metal Processing Institute. He has over 700 publications to his credit, and 21 patents; and serves on several technical, corporate and editorial boards. During 2008/2009, he served as President of TMS. He served as Chair of the ASM Educational Foundation Board of Trustees (2016-2018).

Apelian’s research focus is materials processing, specifically in four distinct domains: alloy development; solidification processing; materials recovery, reuse, and recycling; and machine learning/deep learning in materials processing. He is credited with pioneering work in various areas of solidification processing, metal processing, powder metallurgy and digital manufacturing. He is the Founding Editor of the Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy. www.mindyourmetal.com



Carl Soderhjelm

Associate Director, ACRC
Assistant Research Professor of Mechanical Engineering
at WPI
M.S., Engineering Nanoscience, Lund University, 2013
PhD., Materials Science & Engineering, WPI

Dr. Soderhjelm received his PhD from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and continued his research for the Advanced Casting Research Center. As a Postdoctoral researcher he worked on particulate reinforcement of aluminum alloys, as well as novel metal additive manufacturing process development. His current research for ACRC is focused on processing semi-solid and liquid metals, as well as incorporation of additive manufacturing into the aluminum die casting industry.


  Affiliated Faculty

Ramin Bostanbad

Dr. Ramin Bostanabad received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in February 2019. He joined the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UCI in September 2019 and founded the Probabilistic Modeling and Analysis of Complex Systems (PMACS) laboratory. At PMACS lab, Dr. Bostanabad’s group develops computational framework and tools for analyzing and designing complex systems such as advanced manufacturing processes and multiscale materials. These contributions are on the interface of statistics, machine learning, and mechanics. Recent projects include data-driven microstructure characterization, multi-scale materials modeling with deep learning and random processes, inverse system identification with hierarchical evolutionary programming, and assimilation of multiple data sources with Bayesian statistics.

Harold D. Brody
Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
University of Connecticut
S.B., S.M.,Sc.D., MIT, 1964

Dr. Harold Brody, Distinguished Professor, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Connecticut, has focused his research on understanding casting and solidification processes, on applying computer aided analysis and design to materials processing with emphasis on casting, and on innovating in engineering education. At MIT, as a student, as a member of the research staff, and as a Visiting Professor, Dr. Brody collaborated with Professor Merton Flemings and his colleagues and students to provide models for solute redistribution during dendritic solidification of casting and welds, for application of directional solidification to high temperature superconductors, and for understanding rapid solidification of highly undercooled alloys. At the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), Dr. Brody, collaborators and students pioneered in the application of computer aided numerical techniques for analysis and design of casting processes, including prediction of shrinkage in steel and aluminum alloys, combined heat flow and fluid flow analyses, coupled analyses of heat flow and thermal stress in DC casting, and prediction and control of macrosegregation; the directional solidification of eutectic and peritectic alloys; and the application of electromagnetic fields to control microstructure and cracking in castings and welds.

In collaboration with Dr. Diran Apelian, with their colleagues and students at WPI and UConn, with industry partners in the Metals Processing Institute, and with CHTE and DOE sponsorship, Dr. Brody has developed computer assisted models for simulating the solidification of multi-component and multi-phase Al-Si-Mg-Cu-X alloys, for predicting the response of as-cast microstructures to solution heat treatment, and for predicting tensile properties in critical locations.

Xiaochun Li

Professor Xiaochun Li is the Raytheon Endowed Chair in Manufacturing Engineering in the Departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering & Materials Science and Engineering at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is also the founder of MetaLi LLC (www.metaliusa.com) and he currently serves as the Chief Technology Officer for the Western Regional Smart Manufacturing Center, USA Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute. He received his Ph.D. at Stanford University in 2001. He is a holder of multiple best paper awards and patents, including more than 10 of those licensed by industry. Dr. Li received National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2002, Jiri Tlusty Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award from Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 2003, and 2008 Howard F. Taylor Award from American Foundry Society (AFS). Dr. Li was previously a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Program at University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) from 2001 to 2013. He served as the Director of Nano-Engineered Materials Processing Center (NEMPC) at UW-Madison between 2009 and 2013. Dr. Li has been elected Fellows in American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the International Society for Nanomanufacturing. His research interests are in solidification processing and practical applications of nanotechnology enabled metallurgy, especially nanoparticle dispersion, nanoparticle-metal interaction, and control of microstructures to create new processing/manufacturing space while pushing the performance envelope of metals in order to meet the energy and sustainability challenges in today’s society.

Daniel R. Mumm

Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering

University of California, Irvine


B.S. University of Minnesota, 1988

Ph.D. Northwestern University, 1994

Daniel Mumm is an associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. Prof. Mumm received his B.S. degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1988, and his Ph.D. degree also in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern University in 1994. He subsequently held post-doctoral or research positions at the Rockwell International Science Center, Harvard University, and Princeton University (Princeton Materials Institute) before joining UC Irvine in 2003. His research efforts aim to elucidate processing-structure-property relationships in structural and functional materials systems utilized in aggressive/extreme environments, and the active thermomechanical and thermochemical mechanisms controlling performance and service lifetime. Current research activities include: alloy design for extreme environments; mechanisms controlling the performance and failure of advanced coatings used in gas turbine systems; novel additive manufacturing of alloys and coatings (including cold-spray deposition); mechanisms controlling oxidation and hot-corrosion of propulsion and power generation system hot-section materials; synthesis and characterization of energy storage materials; and fundamental studies of interfacial behavior in electrochemical materials systems. His research leverages controlled exposures to simulated service environments, advanced microscopy, spectroscopy and microanalysis approaches, thermo-mechanical testing and characterization and computational assessments of the underpinning thermodynamics and kinetics controlling evolution of materials.

Randy Paffenroth

Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences,

Associate Professor of Computer Science, and

Associate Professor of Data Science

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Dr. Paffenroth graduated from Boston University with degrees in both mathematics and computer science and he was awarded his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Maryland in June of 1999. After attaining his Ph.D., Dr. Paffenroth spent seven years as a Staff Scientist in Applied and Computational Mathematics at the California Institute of Technology. In 2006, he joined Numerica Corporation where he held the position of Computational Scientist and Program Director. Dr. Paffenroth is currently an Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences, Associate Professor of Computer Science, and Associate Professor of Data Science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. His current technical interests include machine learning, signal processing, large-scale data analytics, compressed sensing, and the interaction between mathematics, computer science, and software engineering. Applications of Dr. Paffenroth’s work include cyber-defense, chemical sensor processing, and material science, and his work has been supported by the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC), the MITRE corporation, BBN/Raytheon, and other funding agencies.

Xiaoqing Pan

Henry Samueli Endowed Chair in Engineering

Professor, Materials Science and Engineering

Professor, Physics & Astronomy

Director, Irvine Materials Research Institute (IMRI)

Director, Center for Complex Active Materials (CCAM), an NSF MRSEC

University of California, Irvine (UCI)


B.S., Nanjing University, China, 1982; PhD, Universität des Saarlandes, Germany, 1991

Pan is widely recognized for his pioneering development and applications of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) methods to study the structure and dynamic behaviors of materials with atomic resolution under controlled conditions or environments. His interest focuses on understanding the atomic-scale structure-property relationships of advanced materials, especially oxide heterostructures, ferroelectrics/multiferroics, catalysts and two-dimensional (2D) functional materials. His work has led to the discoveries of new materials and novel functionalities in many technologically important materials. More recently, his group has made critical contributions to electron microscopy and materials science in the development of novel four-dimensional scanning transmission electron microscopy and momentum-resolved vibrational electron microscopy. He received the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award and the Chinese NSF’s Outstanding Young Investigator Award. He is elected Fellows of the American Ceramic Society, American Physical Society, Microscopy Society of America, and the Materials Research Society. He has published over 400 peer-reviewed scientific papers in high impact factor journals including Nature, Science, and Nature Materials. His publications have been highly cited. Pan is currently the Henry Samueli Endowed Chair in Engineering, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Professor of Physics & Astronomy at UCI. He is also the inaugural Director of the Irvine Materials Research Institute (IMRI), and founding Director of the Center for Complex Active Materials (CCAM – an NSF MRSEC). He was a Professor and the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Endowed Chair of Engineering, and Director of Electron Microbeam Analysis Laboratory at the University of Michigan before joining UCI.

Lorenzo Valdevit
Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
Director, Institute for Design and Manufacturing Innovation
University of California, Irvine
M.S., Materials Engineering, University of Trieste, Italy, 2000
Ph.D., Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University, 2005

Lorenzo Valdevit is a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of California, Irvine, and the inaugural director of the Institute for Design and Manufacturing Innovation (IDMI) in the School of Engineering. The overarching goal of IDMI is to promote UCI’s prominence in the area of advanced manufacturing, through a combination of research, education and outreach to industry and the community. Prof. Valdevit received his MS degree (Laurea) in Materials Engineering from the University of Trieste, Italy (in 2000) and his PhD degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University (in 2005). His primary research goal is the modeling, optimal design, additive manufacturing and experimental characterization of architected materials with superior combination of properties.

At-Large Members

David Weiss
Advanced Casting Research Center
Eck IndustriesP.O. Box 967
Manitowoc, WI 54220

David Weiss is responsible for development and application of high performance alloys and casting concepts for the foundry and their customers. Eck Industry is an acknowledged leader in the production of high strength aluminum alloy and aluminum alloy composite castings. Weiss participated in the development of the lost foam casting process for magnesium alloys for which he shared the Howard Taylor Award from the American Foundry Society (AFS), has worked on modified low pressure casting techniques for sand molds and has patented a hybrid high-pressure shell casting process. He received a second Howard Taylor Award for his work on low pressure casting of magnesium.

Kevin Anderson
Past Chair
Advanced Casting Research Center Mercury Marine
W6250 Pioneer Road
Fond du Lac, WI 54935

Dr. Anderson is presently a Mercury Fellow for Mercury Marine in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin. Dr. Anderson has extensive research and hands – on experience with numerous materials, but most notably aluminum alloys. Dr. Anderson has worked with the vast majority of product forms such as castings, plate, sheet, forgings, and extrusions. Dr. Anderson holds 20 United States patents, and many international patents. The most significant and commercially valuable patents are in the areas of aluminum alloy development in both cast and wrought alloys, aluminum temper development for corrosion resistance, heat treatment of aluminum alloys, restoration process for cast surfaces, and discontinuously reinforced aluminum matrix composites by powder metallurgy. He has taught “Aluminum and It’s Alloys” for ASM since 1999.




What Members Say

“Being a member of ACRC is not only prestigious, it’s personal. It serves as the perfect intersection of “university to industry”, allowing me to dream with the curiosity and open mindedness of a student, while staying grounded with experience and wisdom. In Hinduism, there are four stages of life: Brahmacharya (student), Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (retired), and Sannyasa (renunciation). I feel like I have come full circle – learning (Brahmacharya), earning (Grihastha), and now reflecting (toggling between the first three stages with the students and peers at ACRC). This reflection has turned my experience into insight. If there is one thing I have learned along the path of “life”, it is that while we may strive for mastery, mastery is not a destination but a journey; and we, the eternal students, are the protagonists on this path.”
Vijay Alreja
CEO, VJ Group