Saaketh Desai Profile Picture

Saaketh Desai

Vice-President and Treasurer Department:

Materials Engineering


Alejandro Strachan, Ph.D.

Research Title:

Molecular Modeling of Carbon Fiber Processing

Research Description:

My research focuses on molecular modeling of carbon fiber processing. Carbon fibers provide a unique combination of high stiffness and strength with low density and carbon fiber reinforced plastics are the materials of choice in the aerospace, automobile, and sports equipment industries. Improving the performance and design of future automobiles, airplanes and Mars rovers hinges on the design of next-generation, high-strength and light-weight fibers. Designing such fibers hinges on a molecular-level understanding of the effect of processing conditions on the microstructure and the effect of microstructural features on the mechanical properties of the fibers. My research aims to provide a comprehensive molecular picture of the key steps in carbon fiber processing and their relations to fiber mechanical properties.

Other topics of my interest are molecular modeling to tune martensitic phase transformations and data-driven, machine learning models to develop a description for interatomic forces in various materials.


My time at Purdue so far has been filled with a gamut of experiences from my research, teaching and other social activities. I particularly enjoy solving challenging problems and my research satisfies this thirst by throwing such problems at me on a regular basis. I routinely find myself at the intersection of multiple fields of research and this gives me the chance to continue learning, exploring and borrowing innovations from one field to another. I immensely enjoyed my teaching experience here at Purdue, interacting with sophomores and helping them in their introduction to material science. My goal was to help them academically and also to provide a sense of purpose and direction to their efforts. In return, I have enjoyed working with some of the brightest minds of the next generation and learned a thing or two from their enthusiasm and approach to problems.


  • Estus H. and Vashti L. Magoon Award (2018)
  • Awarded for excellence in teaching as a teaching assistant for MSE 230
  • Best Student Poster, TMS ICME, 4th World Congress on Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (2017)
  • Best Student Presentation, Computational Science and Engineering Student Conference, Purdue University (2017)


  • “Molecular Modeling of the Microstructure Evolution during the Carbonization of PAN-Based Carbon Fibers”, S. Desai, C. Li, T. Shen, A. Strachan, The Journal of chemical physics 147.22, 2017 (224705)
  • "Crystalline and pseudo-crystalline phases of polyacrylonitrile from molecular dynamics: Implications for carbon fiber precursors.", T. Shen, C. Li, B. Haley, S. Desai, A. Strachan, Polymer (2018).
  • “Determining ideal second phases for tunable martensitic behavior using free energy landscape engineering”, S. Desai, S.T. Reeve, A. Strachan (in preparation)
  • “An investigation of the interactions between an E. coli bacterial quorum sensing biosensor and chitosan-based nanocapsules”, X. Qin, C. Engwer, S. Desai, C.V. Sanjurjo, F. M Goycoolea, Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 149 (358-368), 2017


  • "Tuning martensitic behavior using free energy landscape engineering", TMS, San Antonio, TX, March 10-14, 2019
  • "A machine learning framework to improve nanoHUB prediction capabilities using existing tool data", TMS, San Antonio, TX, March 10-14 2019
  • “Using Molecular Modeling to Predict the Structure and Properties of PAN based Carbon Fibers”, American Society of Composites 32nd Annual Technical Conference, West Lafayette, IN. Oct 23-25, 2017
  • “Predicting Processing-Structure-Property Relationships in PAN based Carbon Fibers using MD simulations”, 4th World Congress on Integrated Computational Materials Engineering, Ypsilanti, MI. May 21-25, 2017 (Poster)
  • “Predicting the Microstructure of PAN based Carbon Fibers using Molecular Dynamics” S. Desai and A. Strachan, Computational Science and Engineering Student Conference, Purdue University, April 14, 2017


  • CIGSO Vice-President and Treasurer (2018-2019)

Ernest C. Young Hall, Room 170 | 155  S. Grant Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2114 | 765-494-2600

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