An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

AFRL engineer to be recognized at ASME national meeting

  • Published
  • By Erica Harrah
  • Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFRL) – The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, or ASME, will be recognizing Dr. Ajit Roy, a senior materials engineer with the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, with the inaugural John J. Montgomery Award for Distinguished Innovation in Aerospace at their national meeting April 30, 2024.

The award recognizes the outstanding contribution of an individual engineer residing in the international community who has researched, designed or developed (or any combination thereof) new technologies or equipment for the aerospace industry. As a professional in industry, each recipient will have significantly contributed to aeronautics and astronautics, and the engineering community at large. Awardees demonstrate originality, forward-thinking and a thirst for innovation. The recipient will have helped to revolutionize the industry and open the door for greater progress in the field.

“Dr. Roy has worked diligently through his career to arrive at this great honor by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers,” said Dr. Joy E. Haley, chief, Electronic Materials Characterization section. “The award signifies a great achievement that exemplifies his dedication to finding technical solutions to advance both the DAF and NASA missions. We are proud of his great efforts and happy to see him being recognized.”

Roy, who has been with AFRL since 1985, is being recognized for his ground-breaking contributions to materials morphology of multifunctional carbon foam, 3D nano-porous carbon and durable thermal interface, expanding the materials performance domain to aerospace system application at an accelerated pace.

Developed with 11 manufacturers, carbon foam has proven to be an impactful, multifunctional material used in applications such as electronic component heat exchangers in Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft and rechargeable battery electrodes. It has also led to significant size and weight reduction in space radiator design as well as increased propulsion performance for the Air Force’s XSS-11 micro satellite and was used to make the radiators in NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory mission to moon.

His pioneering effort in the development of 3D nano-porous carbon had unprecedented and broad applications in structural, thermal and energy, impact resistant and damage tolerant thin film coatings, low-density materials, lightning strike protection, efficient capacitors and electrodes, responsive thermal energy storage and conversion and oil-spill clean-up. 

Roy also developed a durable thermal interface, or DTI, to overcome the thermal spikes as well as thermal load in space structures and electronics. The DTI technology enabled a 2,000 times increase in through-thickness interface conductance – exceeding the space application requirement by 20 times, as well as a life-cycle cost savings of $1 million per satellite, according to an estimate made by Northrop Grumman. This work is lauded as the gold standard in the composites thermal interface community. 

“I am totally humbled by this incredible recognition,” said Roy. “AFRL and the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate offer the opportunity to be creative and work with talented group of people.  I feel very fortunate to be working in such a stimulating environment and be professionally associated with talented people both within and outside of AFRL, which made this recognition possible.”

In addition to this most recent accolade, Roy’s work was also recognized by the American Society of Composites in 2021. In 2017, he was named as an AFRL fellow and is a fellow of three other organizations: the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and ASC, of which he has been a member since 1986.

He has also had the distinction of serving on journal editorial boards and various prestigious advisory and review panels, including as chair of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative Advisory Board from 2011 to 2016.

About AFRL 
The Air Force Research Laboratory is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 12,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit