Dr. Kappes has been at Colorado School of Mines since January 2004 and joined the faculty as a Research Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering in 2012. He has co-directed the ADAPT Center with Aaron Stebner since its inception in January 2016.
Research in the ADAPT lab applies advanced and high-throughput materials characterization and materials informatics to additive manufacturing. The intersection of these two disciplines has created an ideal environment for materials development; it joins the relevance of questions that arise from industry-led advanced manufacturing with an unending supply of topics for basic materials science research. In so doing, ADAPT combines Dr. Kappes’ expertise in experimental alloy development, materials characterization, computational materials science, and materials informatics.
Prior to ADAPT, Dr. Kappes worked on materials discovery and materials informatics problems for energy materials. In collaboration with researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), he developed a computational methodology that was able to search a broad molecular chemistry space and, from 20 million candidate anolyte–catholyte pairs, identify approximately 100 that were predicted to perform better than the then–state of the art. Two months of high-performance computing resources saved years of iterative experimentation.
Materials discovery in organic flow batteries was a natural continuation of his 2011–2013 work as a National Science Foundation Transformative Computational Science Using Cyberinfrastructure (NSF CI TRaCS) Postdoctoral Fellow, where he developed topological methods for high-throughput materials screening to search for lithium ion battery anode materials. From over 1,700 materials phases, he identified Li2MgSi as a promising anode material and developed a strategy for synthesizing a microstructure that allowed this alloy to be reversibly charged and discharged.
In 2008, Dr. Kappes completed his PhD in Computational Materials Science at Colorado School of Mines on the thermomechanics of grain boundary motion in aluminum, specifically on the effects of defects: grain boundary pinning and drag in precipitation strengthened and solid solution strengthened alloys. This represented his transition into computational materials science from what had been an exclusively experimental (and highly iterative) alloy development background at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and the University of Utah, where he worked on steel and magnetic alloy development, respectively.