Ryan Hurley, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, studies the relationship between microstructure and macroscopic properties in granular materials, rocks, and concrete using experiments, theory, and simulations. He is a fellow of the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI).
Hurley’s recent projects have examined the roles of microscale contact and force networks on the mechanical properties and failure processes of granular materials. He frequently uses 3-D X-ray diffraction, computed tomography, and ultrasound transmission measurements to quantify failure processes in soils, rocks, and concrete as they occur, without disturbing samples. He also employs X-ray phase-contrast imaging to understand the roles of microstructure and inter-particle interfaces on dynamic fracture mechanics in granular materials. All of these measurements support the development of theories and models to quantitatively predict material behavior.
A member of the Engineering Mechanics Institute (ASCE), the American Physical Society, the International Association of Computed Tomography and the American Society of Civil Engineers, Hurley is co-editor of the journal Open Geomechanics and has served as a reviewer for publications such as the Journal of Engineering Mechanics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Scientific Reports and Computational Mechanics. In 2017, he received the Department of Energy’s Secretary’s Appreciation Award for his contributions to the Source Physics Experiment, which is designed to advance the United States’ ability to detect underground nuclear explosions.
Hurley received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2011. He then went on to the California Institute of Technology, completing a master’s degree and PhD program in applied mechanics in 2012 and 2015, respectively. Prior to joining the Whiting School of Engineering faculty in 2017, Hurley held an appointment as an assistant research professor at Johns Hopkins while finishing postdoctoral studies in computational geosciences at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.