Emerging Leader Ricardo Mejia-Alvarez

July 26, 2021

MSU’s Advanced Blast Chamber aids battlefield trauma knowledge

Michigan State University’s Advanced Blast Chamber (ABC) is expanding what science knows about battlefield trauma – and now research conducted at the facility located south of campus has earned international recognition for an assistant professor of mechanical engineering.

Ricardo Mejia-Alvarez
Ricardo Mejia-Alvarez

Measurement Science and Technology has named Ricardo Mejia-Alvarez an Emerging Leader of 2021 for his ongoing work in shock-matter interactions. He is on a short list of the best early-career researchers in measurement and metrology internationally.

Measurement Science and Technology was launched in 1923 as the world's first scientific instrumentation and measurement journal. It has called attention to Mejia-Alvarez’s work, Large cross-section blast chamber: design and experimental characterization at MSU’s ABC.

The facility allows MSU researchers to collect data on real-size models of the human anatomy exposed to blast events that could induce Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

“Unlike other blast facilities dedicated to the study of TBI, the cross-section of the ABC is very large (2 meters by 2 meters), which allows us to perform blast-induced TBI studies on full-size models,” Mejia-Alvarez explained. “The most innovative element of the ABC is its driver design. This section produces low-curvature blasts in a short distance, with characteristics typical of battlefield blast events.”

“Currently, the ABC is being used to unveil the mechanics of blast-TBI intracranially using simplified transparent models of the human head, ultra-high-speed imaging, and digital image analysis,” he added.

Mejia-Alvarez joined MSU in 2016. He received a Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mechanics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and worked in Los Alamos National Laboratory from 2010 to 2016. His earlier degrees are from the Universidad de Antioquia – Colombia and the National University of Colombia.

Among his awards are the 2011 Francois Frenkiel Award for Fluid Dynamics from the American Physical Society and a Fulbright Fellowship.