The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has honored Georgia Tech aerospace engineering professor George Kardomateas with the Spirit of St. Louis Medal for exemplary work in the progress of aeronautics and astronautics. He is in great company as Daniel Guggenheim, Neil A. Armstrong, John E. Northrup, John W. Young (AE 1952), George W. Lewis, Charles S. Draper, Robert G. Lowey, Michael Collins, and the late Dewey Hodges have also received this premier medal. ASME will present Kardomateas with the medal at the International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition in Columbus, Ohio, October 30-November 3, 2022.
Kardomateas has spent over thirty years improving aircrafts from a structural standpoint. More specifically he investigates ways to ensure that aerospace structures retain their structural integrity. He focuses on the special part of mechanics called fracture mechanics, which studies the conditions for the initiation and propagation of cracks and debonds. “Fracture mechanics and damage tolerance have been very successful in that, nowadays, airplanes don’t usually come down because of structural failure,” explained Kardomateas.
He credits his lifelong scientific triumphs to his education in the United States and Greece, his collaboration with past and present colleagues at Georgia Tech, and the academic system in America. “The environment at Georgia Tech fosters collaboration and innovation. The higher education system provides opportunities through the collegial network in scientific forums where ideas can be exchanged with those inside and outside of your institution.” Former AE School professors, including the late Bob Carlson, and George Simitses, inspired him as colleagues and also acted as mentors to him.
Kardomateas earned a diploma from the National Technical University of Athens in Greece and both his master’s and doctoral degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1989, he joined the School of Aerospace Engineering's faculty at the Georgia Tech. He has authored three books, An Introduction to Fatigue in Metals and Composites, Structural and Failure Mechanics of Sandwich Composites, and Mechanics of Failure Mechanisms in Structures. He is also the editor of six volumes on the topic of failure mechanics of composite and sandwich structures, an associate editor of the Handbook of Damage Mechanics: Nano to Macro Scale for Materials and Structures, as well as the author of about 200 papers published in refereed journals or as parts of books.
In addition to his work at Georgia Tech, he has served the discipline in several capacities. The ASME Fellow has operated as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Applied Mechanics, and the AIAA Journal, as a Contributing Editor of the International Journal of Non-Linear Mechanics and as a guest editor of the International Journal of Solids and Structures and the Journal of Mechanics of Materials and Structures. In addition, he has served as the technical chair of the 2014 ASME Congress, general chair of the 2015 ASME Congress, and the steering committee chair of the 2017 ASME Congress. He was the elected chairman of the Applied Mechanics Division Composites Committee and the program representative of the Aerospace Division Structures and Materials Committee. Kardomateas has also served in many other panels and committees including as the Chair of the Daniel Guggenheim Medal Award Board, and on the Organizing Committee of the sixth, seventh, tenth and eleventh Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing’s International Conferences on Sandwich Structures; he has also served on external evaluation committees for many academic programs.
Currently, the medal winner is working on his next book that focuses on the fracture and fatigue of metallic and composite aerospace structures, which will include his latest research advances in the field.