Raj Kumar Pal | Assistant Professor


Ph.D. – 2015, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, Illinois
Theoretical and Applied Mechanics
M.S. – 2008, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
Mechanical Engineering
Bachelors in Technology – 2006, National Institute of Technology, Trichy, India
Mechanical Engineering

Contact information

3029 Rathbone Hall
Personal website

Professional experience

Raj Kumar Pal received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Trichy, India, followed by his master’s degree in the same field from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. He then worked in industry for a year before starting doctoral graduate studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. He earned a Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mechanics in 2015, followed by postdoctoral appointments in the School of Aerospace Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2015-18, and in the mechanical and civil engineering department at the California Institute of Technology, 2018-19. In August 2019 Pal joined the mechanical and nuclear engineering department at Kansas State University as an assistant professor.


Pal works broadly at the intersection of solid mechanics and dynamics, investigating fundamental wave propagation phenomena with the goal of novel engineering applications. His recent focus has been on the mechanics of architected materials or metamaterials, which offer possibilities for unprecedented physical properties. He has made significant contributions to the field of topological mechanics including the first experimental demonstration of topologically protected waveguides in elastic plates. His current research involves manipulating and channeling waves in desired paths using concepts from diverse disciplines including condensed matter physics and nonlinear elasticity. He is also interested in investigating the physics of granular packings and their flow properties with the goal of designing more efficient grain-handling equipment.

Research keywords

Vibrations, metamaterials, dynamics, wave propagation, solid mechanics, continuum mechanics, finite element methods

Academic highlights

He has published more than 25 peer-reviewed journal papers in prestigious journals including Physical Review Letters, Physical Review X, Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids and Journal of Applied Physics. He has also given talks at several national and international conferences, notably presenting the keynote lecture in tensegrity mechanics at the U.S. National Congress on Computational Mechanics.

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