Dinesh Katti, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, a geotechnical engineer and professor at North Dakota State University, has been named a Fellow by the ASCE Board of Direction.
Katti’s contributions to the field of civil engineering range from research and scholarly accomplishments to contributions to the discipline as a practicing engineer and as an educator. His research includes the development of rigorous physics-based mechanics for cohesive soils to mitigate the inadequate predictive capabilities currently available to geotechnical engineers for predicting clay properties, especially for swelling clays. Another significant contribution has been to introduce molecular-dynamics into geotechnical engineering for modeling swelling clays.
Research from his group has shown the critical role of molecular interactions between clays and fluids in altering the microstructure of clays, and hence impacting important engineering properties of clays such as compressibility, shear strength, permeability, consolidation, and swelling. This work helps remedy the inadequacies of current soil mechanics theories for predicting the swelling clay response, which has a significant impact in the fields of geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering.
In the field of nanocomposite materials, his studies have shown that molecular interactions alter the mechanics of macromolecules, resulting in the unique mechanical properties in nanocomposites. This is a paradigm shift in mechanics wherein molecular-scale interactions are traditionally ignored. Katti has bridged molecular to macroscale mechanics for engineered materials such as polymer clay nanocomposites, natural materials like bone, and nacre in seashells. His work on nanocomposites has led to the development of predictive multiscale models of nanoclay-based tissue-engineered scaffolds for bone regeneration. His group has developed computationally driven materials design of scaffolds to engineer testbeds of bone-metastatic cancer by seeding human cancer cells on engineered bone scaffolds, and thus creating the first in vitro testbed mimicking prostate and breast cancer bone-metastasis, widely considered as incurable.
Katti has contributed extensively to ASCE/EMI. He provided navigation to ASCE EMD/EMI in the area of the mechanics of biological and biomimetic materials through coorganizing symposium series on the topic each year since 2002, attracting participants from outside ASCE to EMI meetings. He also served as one of the three task force committee members to draft EMI’s operating procedures, and has chaired four EMI committees: Poromechanics, Properties of Materials, Biomechanics, and Molecular Scale Modeling and Experimentation, as well as being the associate editor for two EMI journals.
Katti has also worked in the industry as a consulting engineer and given himself to many projects. But one of his biggest contributions has been the training of engineers in North Dakota on current topics in geosynthetics. Over the last 24 years in academia, He has taught geotechnical engineering and mechanics-related courses to a large number of undergraduate students who are now successful engineers. Several doctoral and master’s students have graduated from his group with research focus in cutting-edge areas of societal importance, and are currently in academic and industrial sectors the world over.