Sriram Sundararajan

  • Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
  • Professor
  • Mechanical Engineering

Main Office

4100 Marston Hall
Ames, IA 50011-2103
Phone: 515-294-1050
Fax: 515-294-3261

Other Office(s)

2080 Black Engr
Ames, IA 50011-2030


  • PhD, Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University, 2001
  • MS, Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University, 1997
  • BE (Hons.), Mechanical Engineering, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, 1995

Interest Areas

  • Surface engineering Micro/nanoscale tribology (friction, lubrication and wear)
  • Multiscale Mechanical behavior of materials
  • Scanning Probe Microscopy
  • Thin film characterization using three dimensional atom probe microscopy

Brief Biography

Dr. Sundararajan’s research program builds upon a fundamental framework in tribology and mechanical behavior of materials to address engineering applications ranging from biomedical implants to nanocomposite thin films. Multidisciplinary approaches are emphasized through collaborations. Dr. Sundararajan’s scientific contributions to date have resulted in 22 peer-reviewed journal articles (published and in press) including articles in high impact journals such as Applied Physics Letters, Acta Materialia, Langmuir and the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research. His research publications have been referenced over 150 times as measured by the Science Citation Index,. He has given several invited lectures at Universities worldwide and at National scientific conferences and has also published two invited book chapters and more than 20 articles in conference proceedings. He has served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator in fifteen grants and contracts from federal, state and private sector sources. He was actively involved in the acquisition of a $1.6M atom probe microscope. Dr. Sundararajan is also a dedicated and innovative educator. At ISU, he has developed two new courses on surface engineering and scanning probe microscopy. He has also been instrumental in transforming the undergraduate Engineering Measurements course into one of the top rated classes in the department. He has motivated all his students to pursue life-long learning and to think ‘outside the box’, thus empowering them to excel in their careers. The majority of Dr. Sundararajan’s graduate students have pursued careers in corporate research and development with technological leaders such as 3M, Caterpillar, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and John Deere. Sundararajan is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Materials Research Society (MRS) and the Materials Information Society (ASM). Dr. Sundararajan has successfully organized symposia on Nanotribology and Biotribology at the ASM International Surface Engineering Congress. He has co-chaired sessions on multifunctional materials at the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition. He has also led a delegation of scientists from US Institutions and Research Laboratories to participate in a European Nanotribology Workshop. Dr. Sundararajan was a recipient of the Ohio State University Presidential Fellowship. At Iowa State, his contributions as a researcher and teacher have been recognized with the ISU Early Achievement in Teaching Award and a Young Engineering Research Faculty Award in 2007.

Selected Publications

  • J. Ren, B. Ganapathysubramanian and S. Sundararajan, Experimental analysis of the surface roughness evolution of etched glass for micro/nanofluidic devices, J. Micromech Microeng in press (2011).
  • L. X. Yao, E. G. Hammond, T. Wang, S. Bhuyan, S. Sundararajan, Synthesis and Physical Properties of Potential Biolubricants based on Ricinoleic Acid. J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc. 87, 937 (Aug, 2010).
  • C. J. Tourek, S. Sundararajan, An alternative method to determining optical lever sensitivity in atomic force microscopy without tip-sample contact. Rev Sci Instrum 81,  (Jul, 2010).
  • C. J. Tourek, S. Sundararajan, Atom Scale Characterization of the Near Apex Region of an Atomic Force Microscope Tip. Microsc Microanal 16, 636 (Oct, 2010).
  • A. L. Bruck, K. S. K. Karuppiah, S. Sundararajan, J. Wang, Z. Q. Lin, Friction and Wear Behavior of Ultrahigh Molecular Weight Polyethylene as a Function of Crystallinity in the Presence of the Phospholipid Dipalmitoyl Phosphatidylcholine. J. Biomed. Mater. Res. Part B 93B, 351 (May, 2010).
  • S. Bhuyan, S. Sundararajan, Y. Lu, R. C. Larock, A study of the physical and tribological properties of biobased polymer-clay nanocomposites at different clay concentrations. Wear 268, 797 (Feb, 2010).
  • K. S. K. Karuppiah, Y. B. Zhou, L. K. Woo, S. Sundararajan, Nanoscale Friction Switches: Friction Modulation of Monomolecular Assemblies Using External Electric Fields. Langmuir 25, 12114 (Oct, 2009).
  • J. Huang, L. Ma, S. Sundararajan, S. Z. Fei, L. J. Li, Visualization by atomic force microscopy and FISH of the 45S rDNA gaps in mitotic chromosomes of Lolium perenne. Protoplasma 236, 59 (Jul, 2009).
  • Y. Zhang, S. Sundararajan, Superhydrophobic engineering surfaces with tunable air-trapping ability. J. Micromech. Microeng. 18, 7 (Mar, 2008).
  • K.-S. Kim, Z. Lin, P. Shrotriya, S. Sundararajan, Q. Zou, Iterative control approach to high-speed force-distance curve measurement using AFM: Time-dependent response of PDMS example. Ultramicroscopy 108, 911 (2008).