Nakhiah Goulbourne | Faculty

Nakhiah Goulbourne

Associate Professor, Aerospace Engineering;

Director, Soft Materials Research Laboratory

3042 FXB
Phone: (734) 615-9923
Fax: (734) 763-0578



Short Bio

Professor Goulbourne’s research interests are focused on the mechanics of polymers, biological membranes, electro-active polymers, and hybrid composites. The scientific, commercial, and military impact of polymeric materials is evolving from simple passive lightweight structures to functional integration as electromechanical transducers, perm-selective membranes, and ballistic-resistant composites. Understanding the mechanics of polymeric materials and ultimately providing feedback for targeted material synthesis demands not only an interdisciplinary approach but also early integration of science and engineering. Electro-active polymers are a special class of functional polymeric materials that are of particular interest that have applications in biomedical devices and implants, military and aerospace structures, and in biomimetics. She is the director of the Soft Materials Research Laboratory, An Applied Mechanics Group. Her group is engaged in developing models for new materials and experimental mechanics. The long-term research focus of her group is to develop a framework to connect material morphology with macroscopic response and performance.


The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
PhD '05
MS '04

Middlebury College
BA '00


  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • Society of Engineering Science
  • International Society for Optics and Photonics

Research Interests



Mechanics of electroactive polymers, Constitutive behavior of soft materials, Bio-inspired skins and membranes, High strain rate response of polymers and composites.


FALL 2013

AE 215: MWF 10:00 - 11:30, 1008 FXB

Office Hrs: T/W 3:00 - 4:30


Solid mechanics and aerospace structures, Active materials and smart structures

    Honors and Awards


    • NSF CAREER Award, 2008
    • COE Outstanding Assistant Professor Award, 2009, Virginia Tech