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David R. Forrest


David Forrest is a Technology Manager in the Advanced_Manufacturing_Office at the Department of Energy in Washington, DC where has focused on Atomically Precise Manufacturing, high performance materials, and advanced material processes since 2012. He has performed technology and policy analysis of nanosystems and their consequences since 1985 and his 1989 paper on the regulation of nanotechnology was the first paper written on this subject. As a computational materials engineer, he was the principal architect and project manager of the Navy's Accelerated Insertion of Materials system. As a physical metallurgist he has contributed to the understanding of toughness in heavy forgings, improved transformer efficiency in grain oriented silicon steels, and developed an award-winning automated system for microcleanliness measurement. As an evangelist for high-payoff emerging technologies, he guided the development of a portable and lightweight friction stir welding system, explored the properties of and applications for covetic nanomaterials, and has promoted the development of integrated nanosystems, atomically precise membranes and atomically precise catalysts. David earned his doctorate degree in materials engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1993 and is a Fellow of ASM International. At the Department of Energy, he won an Energy Rock Star award in 2015 and the Assistant Secretary’s 2016 Outstanding Impact Award.

From 2001-2012, Dr. Forrest was the Materials Modeling Technical Expert at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Bethesda, MD, and has a broad range of accomplishments in modeling heat transfer, electromagnetically-driven fluid flow, structural analysis and deformation of metals, thermodynamics, precipitation kinetics, and diffusion.

Dr. Forrest led a development effort on Covetic Nanomaterials for the Navy, resulting in the first detailed microstructural and thermophysical characterizations of these new nanomaterials. These studies provided new scientific information, including the first quantitative measurement of carbon levels in covetics (several standard analytical methods do not work), the demonstration of unusually high densities, quantifying electrical conductivity and providing insight into the high variability of this property, and quantifying the anisotropy in thermal conductivity and demonstrating significant differences between transient and steady thermal conductivity. This work continues under Dept. of Energy sponsorship at Argonne National Laboratory and National Energy Technology Laboratory (Albany, OR).

Dr. Forrest managed and contributed to the development of a breakthrough technology for the Navy—a small, lightweight friction stir welding system—in collaboration with George Talia (Wichita State U) and Fred Callahan (ECS Inc). A prototype system weighing 175 pounds was built and demonstrated on 3/8" thick AA5083 plate—the first system of its kind, with components costing less than $50,000. This compares to commercial systems weighing thousands to tens of thousands of pounds, costing $300,000 and up. Inexpensive, lightweight friction stir systems can enable mass adoption of friction stir technology and provide an option for field repair of aluminum structures in the Navy’s fleet, bringing the advantages of improved weld properties, low distortion, and simplicity of operation to widespread use.

Before joining the Navy in 2001, he spent 2 years in a materials technology consulting firm, and 15 years in plant operations and research in the specialty metals industry. In the early 1980s, he developed processing/structure/property relationships at Bethlehem Steel to improve the toughness of large steel forgings. In the late 80s, working with Julian Szekely at MIT, he modeled and designed systems for electromagnetically-driven fluid flow. In the 1990s, he worked at Allegheny Ludlum on a wide range of problems including the application of computational thermodynamics to reduce core loss in grain-oriented silicon steel, and the deformation modeling of Ti-6Al-4V pack rolling to predict metal flow and temperatures in collaboration with Paul Dawson at Cornell. In 1999, he won Allegheny Ludlum's Technical Achievement Award for developing an ultrasonic system that provided thousand-fold improvement in the company’s ability to measure microcleanliness for quality control during steel production. David has metallurgical and materials engineering degrees from Lafayette College (BS), Lehigh University (MS), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (ScD), and is a registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania.

Areas of expertise[edit]

  • Nanomaterials
  • Friction Stir Welding
  • Technology and Policy Analysis of Molecular Nanotechnology and Molecular Manufacturing
  • Integrated Computational Materials Engineering
  • Materials Process Modeling (Modeling and Simulation of Transport Phenomena and Deformation Processes)
  • Physical Metallurgy
  • Process Metallurgy
  • Technical Knowledge Management
  • Market Analysis
  • Technology Analysis

External Links[edit]

Forrest personal website