Professional Synopsis

Dr. Erica Corral

I initiated my academic career in,August 2008, as Assistant Professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at The University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. My existing research programs are focused on advancing the fundamental understanding of materials that can be used in extreme environments. My first research area focuses on processing ultra-high temperature ceramic (UHTC) composites and coatings for use as advanced thermal protection systems and to provide oxidation protection of carbon-carbon composites. My second research area focuses on developing bulk multifunctional high-temperature ceramic nanocomposites reinforced with single-walled carbon nanotubes for enhanced toughness in ceramics that also have tailored electrical and thermal properties. My third research area focuses on developing nanocomposite compositions of iron oxide and zirconia for use as hydrogen generation materials. 

My recent postdoctoral research also focused on investigating the thermomechanical properties of UHTCs, and engineering mechanical and chemical properties of glass-composites for use as reliable seals in solid oxide fuel cells, and ceramic powder processing of magnesium oxide and electrolyte powder for use in thermal batteries. As a graduate student at Rice University, I was an NSF-Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) Fellow, and pioneered the first SWNT-reinforced silicon nitride nanocomposites with multifunctional properties. Prior to that I was fortunate to have gained my formal undergraduate education at The University of Texas at El Paso, a strong undergraduate-serving institution in the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, where I actively pursued materials research opportunities.  

Over the past several years I have had the opportunity to work on projects that were funded through The Robert Welch Foundation of Texas, NASA-University Research Engineering and Technology Institutes (URETIs), Carbon Nanotechnologies Inc., Department of Energy, Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA), National Science Foundation Alliance for Minority Participation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories. Sandia National Laboratories, The Arizona Research Institute for Solar Energy (AzRISE) and The University of Arizona support my current research programs.

Professional Affiliations