Ph.D., Materials Science & Engineering1997, Vanderbilt University
Iyer's work is in the area of Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD) Hypervelocity Impact Hazard Mitigation. Specifically, it involves development of physics-based analysis capability and engineering approaches for designing spacecraft surfaces to be able to withstand impacts at speeds that are well beyond ground test capabilities (~10 km/s), and are therefore not amenable to purely empirical or test data based treatment. A closely related and intriguing area of research is evaluation of the shielding capability of unconventional or non-ideal Whipple shields, which spacecraft often must fly with, but fall outside the scope of the existing design paradigm.
Iyer and his colleagues made notable advances in the field for NASA’s Parker Solar Probe mission, which is contending with Near Sun dust impacts at speeds as high as 300 km/s. These and other new solutions have been applied to the New Horizons and Europa Clipper missions as well. Some of this work is presented in peer-reviewed open source publications.
The field of evaluating MMOD risks to missions, specific system failure and damage modes, and providing mitigating design specifications to vulnerable systems involves a unique multi-disciplinary capability that spans expertise in spacecraft systems engineering, high-rate materials failure mechanics, mission operations, astronomy, and hypervelocity impact (HVI) shock physics. Iyer and the team at APL bring this unique capability to bear for NASA missions on an as-needed basis.
Notable Awards and Leadership
|2017||Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers|
|2015||Outstanding Development Paper in an Externally Referred Publication: Interplanetary Dust Particle Shielding Capability of Spacecraft Multi-Layer Insulation|
|2013||R. W. Hart Prize for Best IR&D Research Project|