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Dr Sri Lathabai

Principal Research Scientist


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Dr Sri Lathabai is a Principal Research Scientist with CSIRO Manufacturing and the Science Lead for the Concept Laser M2 LaserCusing Team within Lab 22, CSIRO’s Innovation Centre for Additive Manufacturing (AM). Her main area of research since 2012 has been focused on Additive Manufacturing of metal alloys including those of Al, Ti, Ni as well as various steels by powder-bed fusion processes including Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and Selective Electron Beam Melting (EBM). Elucidation of process parameter-microstructure-properties relationships in parts built by these AM processes is a particular feature of her work. She has extensive experience in leading large, multi-disciplinary project teams and a proven track record in translating strategic research into practical industrial outcomes for CSIRO’s clients including Boeing, GM, Concept Laser GmbH, a subsidiary of GE Additive and the Medical Innovation Hub at Wollongong, NSW.

Dr Lathabai received her B Tech in Metallurgy from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT M), India and her MS and PhD in Metallurgy and Materials Engineering from Lehigh University, USA. After a postdoctoral fellowship at NIST, USA, she joined CSIRO in 1990. Until 1998, she was based in the Ceramics Program of CSIRO Manufacturing Science and Technology (CMST) and during this period she provided scientific leadership in research projects examining fatigue, fracture, wear and erosion of engineering ceramics.

In 1999, Dr Lathabai accepted a transfer to CMST’s Advanced Joining Program at Woodville, South Australia. Here, she initiated and led projects on welding of Ti, Al and Mg alloys. A major contribution was the further development of the Keyhole Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (K-GTAW) process invented and patented by CSIRO, which allows a one-pass welding of heavy sections without the need for expensive filler wire or joint edge preparation. Dr Lathabai and her team demonstrated that the K-GTAW process can be successfully applied to a wide variety of Ti alloys, zirconium, stainless steels and Ni-base superalloys including Inconel 718 and 625. This resulted in a two year collaborative project with Boeing/Phantom works on welding of Ni-base superalloys for rocket fuel pipe lines She also initiated research into Friction Stir Spot Welding (FSSW) for automotive light alloys of Al and Mg.

In 2006, CSIRO closed down the Woodville Laboratories and Dr Lathabai was transferred back to Clayton. Her research on FSSW served as the basis for the successful grant of an AutoCRC-GM Holden project on Friction Stir Blind Riveting (FSBR), which incorporates the benefits of blind riveting with friction stirring to drill its own hole. The multi-disciplinary team led by Dr Lathabai produced a robot-mountable, prototype FSBR system, which was installed at the GM Research Laboratories at Warren, Michigan, USA and training provided to GM Engineers on the operation of the system.

Dr Lathabai is passionate about training and mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers. Over the last 30 years she has supervised 7 undergraduate students, 22 Master’s degree students and 3 PhD candidates from Australian, French and German universities and one OCE Post-doctoral fellow. She has authored more than 60 publications, numerous client reports and has over 1000 citations and an H-Index of 17.

Academic Qualifications

  • 1986

    Doctor of Philosophy in Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
    Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA

  • 1983

    Master of Science in Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
    Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA

  • 1975

    Bachelor of Technology in Metallurgy
    Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India

Professional Experiences

  • 2006-Present

    Principal Research Scientist, Deposition and Additive Structures
    CSIRO Manufacturing

  • 2001-2006

    Principal Research Scientist, Advanced Joining
    CSIRO Manufacuring and Infrastructure Technology, Woodville, South Australia

  • 1999-2001

    Senior Research Scientist, Advanced Joining
    CSIRO Manufacturing Science and Technology, Woodville, South Australia

  • 1990-1998

    Senior Research Scientist, Ceramics Program
    CSIRO Manufacturing Science and Technology, Clayton, Victoria

  • 1987-1990

    Post-doctoral Fellow
    National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA

  • 1980-1986

    Research and Teaching Assistant
    Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA

  • 1976-1980

    Research Engineer, Welding Research Institute
    Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, Tiruchirapalli, India