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Washington State University Institute for Shock Physics


Mukul Kumar

Research Professor (Joint Appointment with WSU and LLNL)

Scientific Interests and Work

My research interests are focused on correlating materials microstructures and architectures with the response of the material to external stimuli, such as high pressure, high strain rate deformation and extreme environments.

Dr. Kumar has a strong interest in understanding and quantifying materials microstructures and architectures using various in situ and post mortem techniques. With this understanding, one can begin to purposely engineer materials microstructures for their end use, particularly in extreme environments. Development of experimental methods and modeling schemes to understand the deformation behavior of heterogeneous materials, particularly fabricated through additive manufacturing methods, is also a current area of research.


After earning his PhD in Materials Science, Dr. Kumar joined the Johns Hopkins University as a post-doctoral fellow and applied electron optical methods to probe the core structures of dislocations, which are the primary carriers of plasticity in metals and alloys.
After a three-year stint as a post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Kumar joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a staff scientist working on grain boundary engineering ideas to manipulate and enhance materials microstructures. This on-going work has opened new avenues to understanding and quantifying materials microstructures using higher order crystallographic correlations that are built into the assembly of grains/crystals that comprise a microstructure. Applications of this are being pursued to understand the correlation between a materials’ internal structure and its response to dynamic compression.


PhD (Materials Science), 1995, University of Cincinnati
MS (Materials Science), 1990, University of Cincinnati
B-Tech (Metallurgical Engineering), 1988, Indian Institute of Technology, BHU, India

Honors and Recognition

  • NNSA Defense Programs Award of Excellence (2008)
  • Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE) Fellowship (1992-94)
  • ASM International A.E. Focke Award (1991)

Representative Publications

  1. DR Jones, SJ Fensin, O Dippo, RA Beal, V Livescu, DT Martinez, CP Trujillo, JN Florando, M Kumar, GT Gray III, “Spall fracture in additive manufactured Ti6Al-4V,” Journal of Applied Physics, 120, p. 135902 (2016).
  2. JA Hawreliak, J Lind, B Maddox, M Barham, M Messner, N Barton, BJ Jensen, M Kumar, “Dynamic behavior of engineered lattice materials,” Scientific Reports (Nature), 6 (2016).
  3. JN Florando, BS El-Dasher, C Chen, DC Swift, NR Barton, JM McNaney, KT Ramesh, KJ Hemker, M Kumar, “Effect of strain rate and dislocation density on the twinning behavior in tantalum,” AIP Advances, 6, p. 045120 (2016).
  4. KT Sullivan, DC Swift, M Barham, J Stölken, J Kuntz, M Kumar, “Shock compression behavior of bi-material powder composites with disparate melting temperatures,” Journal of Applied Physics, 115, p. 024904 (2014).