Texas A&M University Institute of Advanced Studies

Michael Keith Ballard II

Michael Keith Ballard II

During the time of my fellowship, I completed the work for my Master’s thesis and will graduate in August. Designing high performance structures requires robust methods for predicting damage initiation and growth.  In my work, several very different approaches for modelling the progression of damage in composites materials were evaluated..  The most robust method based on accuracy, a cohesive zone model, suffered from poor computational efficiency and numerical instabilities under some situations.  The underlying reasons for several cases of numerical instabilities were investigated and some strategies to improve the convergence behavior were developed. Faculty Fellow Dr. Atluri came to visit Texas A&M, allowing us to have a series of discussions on his recent novel work on an analytical method for predicting the strain and stress fields in and around an inhomogeneity of an arbitrary shape, relaxing our current constraint of elliptical inhomogeneities for analytical methods. In my previous work, I have used numerical methods for these problems, and the work of Dr. Atluri could potentially provide a much more efficient solution method.  Dr. Atluri has also been in touch periodically since his visit to Texas A&M to let us know of his progress on his techniques.


Aerospace Engineering

Graduation Year

May 2018

Degree Type


Fellowship Year(s)

'13 - '14

Previous Education

B.S. in Aerospace Engineering - Texas A&M University - '12
M.S. in Aerospace Engineering - Texas A&M University - '14


J. Whitcomb

Journal Articles

1. M. K. Ballard, W. R. McLendon and J. D. Whitcomb, " Effective use of cohesive zone-based models for the prediction of progressive damage at the fiber/matrix scale," Journal of Composite Materials, doi: 10.1177/0021998316651127, 2016.

2. M. K. Ballard, W. R. McLendon and J. D. Whitcomb, "The influence of microstructure randomness on prediction of fiber properties in composites," Journal of Composite Materials, vol. 48, no. 29, pp. 3605-3620, 2014.


1. http://jcm.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/06/01/0021998316651127.abstract

2. http://jcm.sagepub.com/content/48/29/3605


1. http://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.2015-0391