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Partnerships for International Research and Education

Partnerships for International Research and Education(PIRE)

Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering
Carl R. Ice, College of Engineering
Kansas State University

T209 Unger Complex
Manhattan, KS 66506
Ph: (785) 532-7024


Financial support from National Science Foundation Grant No. 1743701 is gratefully acknowledged


  • Grand opening of the Navrotsky Eyring Center for Materials of the Universe. Congratulations, Prof. Navrotsky! Read about it HERE


  • Shariq Haseen successfully defended his PhD thesis. Shariq's major advisor was Prof. Peter Kroll. Congratulations, Shariq!


  • The 6th annual #NSF #PIRE #PDC meeting will be held in conjunction with Graduate School from #TUDarmstadt from June 26 to July 01, 2023. The location for the workshop is the Darmstädter Haus, located in the Kleinwalsertal region in the Austrian province of Vorarlberg.


  • Thank you to all who were able to join the 5th annual #NSF #PIRE #PDC meeting held in conjuction with Graduate School from #TUDarmstadt!2022 workshop pic


  • The United Nations has approved 2022 as the International Year of Glass. #NSF #PIRE co. PI, Prof. Himanshu Jain from #Lehigh University participated in the National Day of Glass Conference and was featured on the cover of the May 2022 issue of #ACerS bulletin.  Congratulations, Prof. Jain! Read about it HERE


  • Graduate student Shakir Bin Mujib visited Prof. Marshall’s lab for X-ray micro CT of ceramic matrix composite samples. Thanks Aly Badran and Spencer Dansereau!Shakir UCB
  • Dr. Singh’s lab hosted undergraduate student researchers Hannah Hayes and Takhya Holley from University of Texas Arlington during the spring break. Pictures: Heloisa Ramlow shows the students how to mount samples for electron microscope analysis. In between experiments, the group takes a break at a local coffee shop.UTA scholars


  • Dr. Singh has been elected as ASME fellow. Congratulations, Dr. Singh! Read about it HERE


  • Graduate student, Gerson Leonel, from Arizona State University visits Dr. Singh's lab to gain hands on experience in PDC powder synthesis training.Gerson


  • Dr. Singh and Graduate student Shakir Bin Mujib received the Nanomaterials and Energy Prize for 2021. The prize is offered by the Institution of Civil Engineers, UK.


  • Prof. Alexandra Navrotsky from ASU recently received funding from the NSF for a Mid-scale Research Infrastructure-1 Program to establish a national high pressure facility on the ASU campus, which will be unique in the United States. The open facility is named FORCE: Facility for Open Research in a Compressed Environment. Congratulations, Prof. Navrotsky! Read about it HERE


  • Lokesh Vendra, PhD track student from IIT Madras is spending 3 months in Dr. Gurpreet Singh's lab. Lokesh will work on scanning electron microscopy, and use of polymers and ceramics (such as polysiloxane derived SiOC) for energy applications, including renewable energy storage application such as Li-ion batteries. Welcome, Lokesh!Lokesh


  • Prof. Alex Navrotsky traveled to TU-Darmstadt in early September, where she attended a student workshop and presented two lectures. 


  • PIRE graduate student Aly Badran was awarded “Best student presentation”, at the 12th CCAC (Colorado Center for Advanced Ceramics) Student Conference. Aly presented on his work done in the PIRE project. Congratulations, Aly!


  • Videos from our fourth annual meeting (for which we received permission) are posted on our YouTube channel. Click HERE to view the videos.


  • Fourth Annual NSF PIRE PDC meeting - Day 2: July 20, 2021

Workshop group pic

Ellie and Alex

Mabel and Alex

Gerson and Alex






UG presentation

  • Fourth Annual NSF PIRE PDC meeting - Day 1: July 19, 2021

Day 1

Day 1 - 2

Day 1 - 3

Day 1 - 4

Day 1 - 5

  • PIRE researchers Ellie Christman and Joel Garcia from Lehigh visit KSU to learn about PDCs.

Ellie and Joel


  • NSF PIRE PI, Gurpreet Singh, receives the College of Engineering Frankenhoff Outstanding Research Award. The award requires nomination by the department and based upon research accomplishments during the past five years only.




  • NSFPIRE international partner Gabriela Mera, is the guest editor of a special issue in the journal Molecules, "Recent Advances in Polymer-Derived Ceramics and Ceramic Nanocomposites":https://lnkd.in/eh-Uu7n
    The deadline for submission is July 31, 2021.


  • Prof. Alexandra Navrostsky received her COVID-19 vaccine; she was vaccinated by Cara Christ, Arizona health commissioner.

Navrotsky flu shot


  • Himanshu Jain is the winner of 2020 Journal of Non-Crystallline Solids NF Mott award, which recognizes a scientist with a history of outstanding contributions to the field of non-crystalline solids. Congratulations, Prof. Jain!

Himanshu Jain


  • The Germany Chapter of the American Ceramic Society (ACerS) is organizing a virtual Round Table on “Frontiers in Advanced Ceramics”, on December 04, 2020 (12:00-18:30 CET). The workshop is being organized by Sanjay Mathur and Emanuel Ionescu, on behalf of the ACerS Germany Chapter.
    The workshop and Round Table Discussions are meant to inform young scientists and students about the future trends and emerging frontiers on the topic mentioned above.
    The participation to the event is free of charge.
    When: December 4th, 2020; 11:00 am - 6:00 pm UTC
    Where: Zoom (https://zoom.us)
    How: Join the free webinar by providing your contact details at: https://lnkd.in/e7Mftic
    More information is available at: https://lnkd.in/ee-EDR5
    Feel free to invite your colleagues to register and attend the workshop!


  • The Journal of Materials Science Robert W. Cahn Best Paper Prize (the "Cahn Prize") recognizes a truly exceptional original research paper published in the journal in a particular calendar year. 
    NSF PIRE student Aly Badran's research paper "Automated segmentation of computed tomography images of fiber-reinforced composites by deep learning“ (Journal of Materials Science (2020) 55:16273-16289), won the best paper for December and now is finalist for the Cahn Prize of 2020.
    The authors of the winning paper will receive an award of $5,000.
    Congratulations Aly! https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10853-020-05148-7


  • NSF PIRE international partner, Gabriela Mera, is the guesteditor for the Special Issue "Advanced Low Dimensional Nanocarbon Based Silica Composites", in the journal Materials. Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.
  • Zhongkan Ren, former PhD student with Dr. Gurpreet Singh, joins KSU Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering (IMSE) department as postdoc. Congratulations, Zhongkan!


  • NSF PIRE international partners Drs. Philippe Miele and Chrystelle Salameh are guest editors for the special issue "Advanced Functional Polymer‐Derived Ceramic Fibers: Preparation, Properties and Applications", in the journal Materials. Last day to submit manuscripts is 30 November, 2020. 


  • Zhongkan Ren successfully defended his PhD thesis today. He is the fourth student to obtain PhD from my lab in 11 years Cngratulations, Zhongkan! (...conducting thesis defense via Zoom is not fun!).


  • Casey Sugie successfully defended her Master's thesis. Congratulations, Casey!


  • Our first virtual NSF-PIRE workshop on PDCs takes place from August 17-20, 2020, with approximately two hours of seminars and discussions each day.


  • PIRE PI, Dr. Gurpreet Singh, will be receiving 2019-2020 College of Engineering Dean’s Award of Excellence in Research. "Thanks to my highly motivated student researchers and collaborators who inspire me on a daily basis."


  • Web'Tech #8 Tuesday, April 14 at 11:00 a.m. "Introduction to the Science and Technology Development of "Polymer-Derived Ceramics", taught by NSF PIRE international partner, Samuel Bernard. Registration for the webinar is in French (Name, organization, and email) but the seminar is in English.


  • The Deadline for nominations for The Rishi Raj Medal for Innovation and Commercialization Award has been extended to April 15, 2020. The Award is a medal, $2,500 award and registration waiver to attend ACerS Annual Meeting.
    Thank you Prof. Rishi Raj, for helping create this award, which recognizes individuals whose innovation lies at the cusp of commercialization in a field related, at least in part, to ceramics and glass.
    For more information, please visit- https://ceramics.org/awards/rishi-raj-medal-for-innovation-and-commercialization


  • co-PI Alexandra Navrotsky has been elevated to Distinguished Life Membership of The American Ceramic Society, the highest honor of the Society, which has been recommended by ACerS Distinguished Life Members Sub-Committee. Congratulations Prof. Navrotsky!


  • A very productive mid-term review at the NSF. Thank you to our NSF Program Officers, Maija Kukla and Cassandra Dudka, for organizing this meeting during these trying times.

Maija and Cassandra


E MRS award


  • NSF PIRE international partner, Gabriela Mera will serve as the Guest Editor for the upcoming special issue "Advanced Low-Dimensional Nanocarbon-based Silica Composites", scheduled to appear in the journal, Materials, of MDPI.The dead-line for submissions is December 31, 2020. The Article Processing Charge for publication of the invited paper is waived.


  • NSF PIRE project partner Rishi Raj @CUBoulder teaches how science, technology, philosophy and poetry come together. To learn more about this course, visit http://rishirajboulder.com/daVinci/


  • NSF PIRE partners discussed 2020 project agenda over a dinner meeting in Daytona, FL

Daytona 2020

  • Foreign PDC PIRE partners at PACRIM13 meeting in Okinawa, Japan.


  • NSF PIRE student, Federico Toigo successfully defends his Master's thesis in the department of Materials Engineering at University of Padova. His Master's thesis advisors are Paolo Colombo and GiorgiaFranchinGurpreet Singh served as his co-supervisor. Congratulations Federico!


  • First NSF PIRE Project scholar Susana Aguirre-Medel (UT-Arlington) during her PhD dissertation defense. Congratulations Susana!


  • Henry and Casey Sugie, PIRE scholars from UC Davis spent summer in Ralf Riedel and Gabriela Mera’s lab at TU Darmstadt.

Casey and Henry

  • Photos from the NSF PIRE Project workshop:

PIRE workshop-1

PIRE workshop-2


  • NSF PIRE undergraduate students conducting their summer research in Prof. Chrystelle Salameh's lab in Montpellier. Students from receive hands on experience in fiber extrusion and 3D printing of ceramic materials.

Sophie and Jake

  • NSF PIRE Europe partners  attending CICC-11 PDC conference in Kunming, China


  • NSF PIRE Europe partners Dr. Chrystelle Salameh (U-Montpellier) and Dr. Gian Soraru (U-Trento) attending CICC-11 PDC conference in Kunming, China


  • NSF-PIRE PI Dr. Gurpreet Singh is visited Universität zu Köln to deliver lecture, review (exchange ideas) the European ENHANCE project. Thanks to host, NSF-PIRE project affiliate Dr. Sanjay Mathur, Chair Inorganics and Materials Chemistry Dept.
Sanjay Mathur
  • PIRE members Philippe Miele and Chrystelle Salameh are on the Scientific Organizing Committee of the International conference Euroboron 8 conference that will take place in Montpellier, 24-27th June 2019. Philippe Miele, Conference chairman, International advisory committee Chrystelle Salameh, co-chair.
  • PIRE member Dr. Sanjay Mathur organized an international  workshop to bring together final year Master students with young PhD scholars. It was a binational (German-French) event and very successful in terms of information exchange and networking. This was supported by international MRS and ACerS chapters.


  • PIRE members to organize PDC related symposia at GFMAT-Toronto-2019, and HTCMC in Bordeaux, France, on September 22-26, 2019.
  • Singh and Kroll to send their UG student researchers for summer abroad to University of Montpellier and University of Trento, respectively. Students will learn PDC processing and characterization techniques.
  • Second NSF PIRE PDC workshop will be held July 15-19, 2019 in Boulder, Colorado.


  • American Ceramic Society Bulletin published featured article on nonoxide PDC CMCs. Link


  • Professor Alexandra Navrotsky accepted Professorship and Center Directorship at Arizona State University--start date October 2019.
  • NSF PIRE partner Professor Chrystelle Salameh from Montpellier visiting Gurpreet Singh's group at K-State to discuss summer UG student exchange visit.
  • NSF PIRE partners discussed 2019 project agenda over a dinner meeting in Daytona, FL
Daytona 2019


  • Navrotsky lab Annual Newsletter available here, happy holidays!: xmas 2018pdf.pdf


  • Co-I Dr. Elsa Olivetti co-authored paper on manufacturing scalability in clean energy and materials-intensive technologies, the work provides the overall framework for her efforts in the PIRE program: Huang, Kevin J., Liang Li, and Elsa A. Olivetti. "Designing for Manufacturing Scalability in Clean Energy Research." Joule 2.9 (2018): 1642-1647.



  • Co-PI Rishi Raj delivered invited lecture at the MRS Boston meeting.
Rishi MRS
  • PI Singh is collaborating with NASA, Made in Space, and Sierra turbines on Turbine Part Manufacturing in Microgravity. NASA has agreed to sponsor two MIS pilot payloads towards turbine engine development. One of the payloads is for manufacturing ceramic parts from a pre-ceramic polymer.
  • Co-PI Navrotsky continues philanthropic efforts, donates $100K to establish Navrotsky award. The American Ceramic Society’s Navrotsky Award recognizes innovative thermodynamic research. Link


  • NSF PIRE Partner Professor Philip Miele delivered keynote lecture at the #MSE Congress in Darmstadt, Germany.
  • co-PI Prof. Navrotsky and Riedel attended the "Spinel and related materials" workshop in Rudesheim, Germany
Ralf and Alex
  • co-PIs Rishi Raj and Giando Soraru publish in Journal of the American Ceramic Society. Link


  • NSF PIRE PI Singh’s review article on polymer derived ceramics for energy storage applications. Link


  • Prof. Navrotsky From #UC Davis was recently appointed to the California Council on Science and Technology. Way to go Prof. Navrotsky!
  • NSF PIRE Scholars Casey Sugie and Sally Burke visiting Technical University Darmstadt, Germany for research abroad experience.
Sally and Casey
  • NSF PIRE Scholars Susana Aguirre-Medel and Kendall Hendrix visiting University of Trento, Italy for research abroad experience.
  • NSF PIRE collaborators Singh, Kroll, Bernard, and Riedel attended the 7th International Congress on Ceramics (ICC7) Meeting in Brazil
Gurpreet Sam Kroll Reidel
  • NSF PIRE Scholars Isabella Cesarone and Thomas Siggillino visiting Sorbonne University and University of Limoges for research abroad experience. 
  • Happy 75th birthday to NSF PIRE co-PI Professor Alexandra Navrotsky of University of California Davis Professor Navrotsky of UC-Davis teaching a new course “EMS 289C: Topics in Glasses, Amorphous, and Disordered Materials”, SPRING 2018.