Dr. Zafer Gürdal

Ronald E. McNair Endowed Chair Holder, McNAIR Center for Aerospace Innovation & Research at the University of South Carolina



Prof. Gürdal is the inaugural holder of the Ronald E. McNair Endowed Chair at the University of South Carolina.  Prior to joining the University of South Carolina, he held the Chair of Aerospace Structures and Computational Mechanics at TU Delft, The Netherlands.  He also holds Professor Emeritus appointment at Virginia Tech, where he was a Professor jointly appointed between the Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, and Engineering Science and Mechanics Departments.

Prof. Gürdal’s research interests are in structural and multidisciplinary design and optimization, design, and optimization of composite materials and structures, and computational methods for design with manufacturing emphasis. His research has largely been funded by NASA Langley Research Center and Air Force Office of Scientific Research in the US, and EU Research Framework programs in Europe, as well as major Aerospace OEM in the US and in Europe. He was the principal investigator and co-investigator of more than 60 research grants, the majority of which on methodologies for composite laminate design and novel structural configurations, as well as experimental verification of composites structures research.

Prof. Gürdal’s research contributions resulted in more than 300 publications, nearly half are refereed journal publications.  He is a co-author of 4 books.  He has delivered keynote speeches and plenary addresses at 16 internationally recognized conferences.

Prof. Gürdal served as the graduate thesis advisor for more than 65 masters and 40 doctoral students. He is a Lifetime member and Associate Fellow of the AIAA, and member of the International Society for Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization.