Faculty Faction: Dr. Pedro Cortes

Dr. Pedro Cortes

Dr. Pedro Cortes, an assistant professor of civil, environmental, and chemical engineering, has been at YSU for the last few years, but with his new additions to his growing list of publications, we thought a formal introduction to this STEMian would help to show what YSU STEM is all about.

Armed with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Instituto Tecnologico de Celaya, a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey, and a PhD in material sciences from the University of Liverpool, Dr. Cortes came to YSU STEM because was attracted to the PhD program in Materials Science that had a close relationship with the chemical engineering program. He has also worked with the United States Air Force, as well as teaching in Las Cruces, New Mexico and Tucson, Arizona.

Most of Dr. Cortes’s research revolves around nanobiochemical sensors for hazardous gases and explosives with Dr. Diana Fagan; composite materials, which are hybrid structures for impact applications; and functional materials, or morphing adaptive structures with the air force. While he enjoys his research, he also really enjoys teaching here at YSU.

“When the students come back to you and thank you [because] they have learned something. That is probably the best thing!” Dr. Cortes said about teaching.

Dr. Cortes, who is originally from Mexico City, likes teaching at YSU because the students are more localized, meaning they are more in tune with local manufacturing, and because the students flourish in a one-on-one, student-teacher relationships. Moreover, he has high hopes for the department.

“I’m really looking forward to having a strong graduate program,” he says. “Actually we are pushing to have more graduate students.” He hopes to increase the number of students by offering swing courses, which are courses that are offered to undergraduate students while they are finishing up their last couple upper level courses.

Dr. Cortes has most recently published, in collaboration with the Air Force, a manuscript on the development of morphing composites in the Journal of Smart Materials and Structures. He has also published a paper, in collaboration with New Mexico State University, about the toxicity effects of carbon nanotubes on bacteria and spores in the Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Letters. Along with Dr. Fagan, Dr. Cortes published a conference paper on the detection of human blood using carbon nanotubes in the last proceedings of the AIChE Annual Meeting.


Dr. Cortes has also recently:

  • Published a manuscript on the mechanical properties of hybrid composite materials in the Journal of Polymer Composites.
  • Published an invited paper on hybrid composite laminates in the Society of Plastics Engineers on-line webpage.
  • Invited and submitted a Book Chapter on Smart Structures in the Shape Memory Polymers for Aerospace Applications book.
  • Presented his work on shape memory composites at the Mechanics of Composites Conference at Stony Brook University.
  • Published a conference paper in collaboration with Fireline, Inc., on the mechanical properties of foam structures in an International Ceramic Conference (38th ICACC).
  • Submitted a peer review paper on Additive Manufacturing in collaboration with Dr. Wagner, Dr. Conner, Fireline, Inc. and Kyle Myers (one of his PhD students) to Composites Part A.
  • Accepted to present a technical paper on 3D printing to the 2014 Materials Science and Technology Symposia.
  • Submitted a peer review paper on morphing structures in collaboration with George Kubas (one of his PhD students) to Composite Structures.