Given that as child Ben Jar was inspired by the famous American inventor Thomas Edison, it’s not surprising that when he grew up he chose a career path that relies greatly on inventiveness, creativity, determination, and hard work.
“I read stories about Thomas Edison when I was a little kid, and I still remember the encouragement to keep trying and not give up, recalls Jar, a U of A mechanical engineering professor since1999. “I love to conduct research to discover new things, and I like to challenge myself.”
Jar’s research focuses on materials evaluation for engineering applications. “I like to solve problems that have troubled the industry for many years, usually due to unexpected failure or fracture,” said Jar.
“Most recently, I am researching plastic pipes for natural gas transportation, which can unexpectedly fail after years in service. My goal is to understand why the pipes fail and to predict when they may fail,” he said. “I am also designing a method to characterise their remaining lifetimes, as I do not believe the current practice in characterising the pipes serves the purpose.”
“In addition, I supervise students conducting research on materials evaluation,” he continued, adding his students currently are engaged with research projects involving fibre composites and rail steels.
“Although the projects have different background problems and are for different industrial applications, they are all designed to combine experimental measurement with numerical simulation, so that students can gain knowledge on both aspects, in order to broaden their future career opportunities,” he explained.
Like his childhood role model Thomas Edison, Jar said when he encounters a difficult research problem, he determinedly keeps trying until he find a solution. “I believe that nothing is impossible, and everything will come in its own way and at its own time.”
“My research teaches me to be patient, to think out of the box, and to be prepared for the unexpected,” he added.
“The most exciting part of my research is when I discover something that cannot be described using any of the existing theories, and I discover a new way to explain and describe it,” continued Jar. “I am passionate about discovering new phenomena and generating knowledge that has not been known before.”
Jar said enjoys sharing his knowledge with students. “Teaching is fun, especially when students understand and appreciate the concepts and knowledge because of the way I explain it.”
“I like both teaching and research. Being a professor allows me to do both, and to pass on my knowledge to the next generation of engineers.”