Maryam Shakiba, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in Virginia Tech's College of Engineering, has been awarded an early-career award from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research program for her work studying high-temperature polymer matrix composites design through sensitivity analyses of microstructures. 

Structures are constantly exposed to conditions such as temperature fluctuation, relative humidity, chloride, liquids flow, erosion, scouring, and oxidative aging, which can degrade and change material properties. Shakiba's primary research focuses how conditions impact materials and structures.

Shakiba’s overall research seeks to address societal challenges such as meeting energy demands and manufacturing innovative design. By doing so, she uses theoretical and computation mechanics to unravel the link between the composition, microstructure, and performance of complex materials under different intense environmental and mechanical loadings to help in designing new resilient and sustainable structures.

In 2016, Shakiba joined Virginia Tech from her position as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she developed a mechanistic approach to calculate environmental effects of pavements structure and incorporated it into Life Cycle Assessment analysis.

This year, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research awarded approximately $17.8 million in grants to 40 scientists and engineers who show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research of military interests. The objective of the program is to enhance early career development and increase opportunities for young investigators, like Shakiba, to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering.

Shakiba earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran, Iran, and a doctoral degree in structural engineering from Texas A&M University.

- Written by Courtney Sakry