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Ryan Justice

Division Head

University of Dayton Research Institute: Nonstructural Materials


Email: Ryan Justice
Phone: 937-229-3675
Curran Place M5440A
Website: Visit Site


Dr. Justice heads UDRI's Nonstructural Materials (NSM) division, where he develops, leads and participates in sponsored programs related to nonstructural aerospace materials, and enhances current research group activities by obtaining external funding for sponsored research and by attracting key engineers/scientists, program managers and subject matter experts.

NSM performs much of its research at the Air Force Research Laboratory. At the Materials and Propulsion Directorates, NSM researchers develop tribological materials; evaluate the performance of liquid and solid lubricants, hydraulic fluids, adhesives, primers, and coatings; research diagnostic techniques for health monitoring of lubricants; and develop repair procedures for on-aircraft repair.

At UDRI, NSM researchers evaluate the performance of elastomeric and sealant materials; conduct research on fuels, oils, and refrigerants; and develop on-line diagnostics to monitor these fluids. The division also provides surface analysis, microanalytical and metallography characterization services to internal and external customers.

The Nonstructural Materials division also runs the Nanoscale Engineering Science & Technology (NEST) Laboratory​.


The Nonstructural Materials division performs valuable research in the following areas for both government and industry:

Aerospace Materials Sustainment, including evaluation and development of M&P related to specialty materials located on the outer mold line of aircraft, such as seals, boot materials, gap fillers, and specialty coatings. Work in this area also includes evaluation, development, optimization and testing of structural adhesive and polymer matrix composite materials.

Coatings, Corrosion, and Erosion, which involves comprehensive research activities in evaluating coatings and solving paint problems for government and industry. This includes performing comprehensive testing, characterization, and evaluation of coating systems products, equipment, and processes to determine compliance, compatibility, and performance properties prior to recommending transition to field use.

Lubricant Evaluation and Performance, which provides characterization of lubricating oils for gas turbine engines, including physical properties, chemical properties, tribological properties, coking tendencies, advanced engine simulation.

Materialography and Analytics, including depth of damage analyses on ceramics and materials for the semiconductor industry. In the NEST Lab, the ultra-small-angle x-ray scattering (USAXS) is only the second of its kind in academia, and the only one in the world at present with advanced features such as high sensitivity, swappable X-ray sources and coexistant small-angle x-ray scattering ​(SAXS) and USAXS capabilities.

Sealant and Elastomeric Materials, which entails evaluation of elastomeric materials such as fuel tank sealants, fuel cell bladders, potting compounds, hydraulic packings and seals, hose materials, gaskets, and specialized elastomeric sheet materials. We routinely conduct qualification testing and failure analysis investigations.


Ph.D., Materials Science & Engineering, University of Cincinnati, 2007

M.S., Materials Science & Engineering, University of Cincinnati, 2006

B.S., Biomedical Engineering, Wright State University, 2002


  • USAF Exemplary Civilian Service Award (2020)
  • AFLCMC/WBS Small Team of the Quarter (2019)
  • AFMC General Bernard Randolph Engineering Team Award for Systems Support (2017)
  • AFRL Commander’s Cup Special Recognition Award (2016)
  • AFRL/RX Robert T. Schwarz Engineering Expertise Award (2016)
  • AFRL/RX Director’s Junior Workforce Award (2015)
  • WPAFB Civilian of the Year, Category III (2014)
  • AFRL, Civilian of the Year (WPAFB), Category III (2014)
  • AFRL/RX, Civilian of the Quarter (Quarter 4), Category III (2013)
  • AFRL Commander’s Cup Team Award – LO Affordability (2012)
  • Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Distinguished MS Thesis—UC (2007)
  • Macromolecules “Most Highly Cited Online Article" (2007)
  • Outstanding Graduate Student in Research--CME Department, UC (2007)
  • Margaret Etter Student Lecturer Award, American Crystallographic Association (2006)
  • E. Focke Graduate Student in Engineering Leadership and Ethics Award, UC (2004)
  • University Honors/Departmental Honors, WSU (2002)


  • American Chemical Society
  • American Crystallographic Association
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • Materials Research Society

Selected Publications

  • T.M. Sutter, M.B. Dickerson, T.S. Creasy, R.S. Justice. “Rubber muscle actuation with pressurized CO2 from enzyme-catalyzed urea.” Smart Materials and Structures, 090422 (2013).
  • Z. Xiao, Q. Wu, S. Luo, C. Zhang, J.W. Baur, R.S. Justice. “Shape matters: A gold nanoparticle enabled shape memory polymer triggered by laser irradiation.” Particle and Particle Systems Characterization, 30 (4), 338-345 (2013).
  • B.L. Cumby, G.J. Hayes, M.D. Dickey, R.S. Justice, C.E. Tabor, J.C. Heikenfeld. “Reconfigurable liquid metal circuits by Laplace pressure shaping.” Applied Physics Letters 101, 174102 (2012).
  • L.D. Peel, E. Molina Jr., J.W. Baur, R.S. Justice. “Characterization of shape-changing panels with embedded rubber muscle actuators.” ASME 2012 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures, and Intelligent Systems, SMASIS2012-8088, pp. 573-582.
  • J.H. Lalli, W. Harrison, T. Distler, M. Bortner, K. Hill, J. Dennis, B. Davis, R.O. Claus, J.W. Baur, R.S. Justice. “Shape-memory metal rubber morphing aircraft skins.” ASME 2009 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures, and Intelligent Systems, SMASIS2009-1229, pp. 161-168.
  • L.D. Peel, E. Molina Jr., J.W. Baur, R.S. Justice. “Characterization of shape-changing panels with embedded rubber muscle actuators.” ASME 2009 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures, and Intelligent Systems, SMASIS2009-8088, pp. 573-582.
  • C.G. Chen, R.S. Justice, et al. “Highly dispersed nanosilica–epoxy resins with enhanced mechanical properties” Polymer 49; 3805–3815 (2008).
  • M.J. Arlen, D. Wang, J.D. Jacobs, R.S. Justice, A. Trionfi, J.W. Hsu, D.W. Schafer, L.S. Tang, R.A. Vaia. “Thermal-electrical character of in situ synthesized polyimide-grafted carbon nanofiber composites.” Macromolecules, 41 (21), p. 8053-8062 (2008).
  • R.S. Justice, et al. “Simplified tube form factor for analysis of small-angle scattering data from carbon nanotube filled systems”. J of App Crystallography 40; s88-s92 (2007).
  • D.W. Schaefer and R. S. Justice (2007). "How nano are nanocomposites?" Macromolecules 40(24): 8501-8517. (2007)
  • R.S. Justice, D. W. Schaefer, T.J. Bunning, R.A. Vaia. "Interface morphology and phase separation in polymer-dispersed liquid crystal composites." Polymer 46(12): 4465-4473. (2005)
  • C. Zhao, G Hu, R.S. Justice, et al. Synthesis and characterization of multi-walled carbon nanotubes reinforced polyamide 6 via in situ polymerization."Polymer 46 (14), 2005; 5125-32 (2005)
  • D.W. Schaefer, R.S. Justice, et al. "Large-scale morphology of dispersed layered silicates." MRS Symposium Proceedings (840), 2005; Q3.3.1-6.
  • J.M. Vale, R. S. Justice, D.W. Schaefer, J.E. Mark. (2005). "Calcium alginate barrier films modified by montmorillonite clay." Journal of Macromolecular Science, Physics Edition 44: 1-11.
  • J.M. Brown, D.P. Anderson, R.S. Justice, et al. “Hierarchical morphology of carbon single-walled nanotubes during sonication in an aliphatic diamine” Polymer 46 (24), 2005; 10854-65.
  • Z.S. Petrovic, M.J. Cevallos, I. Javni, D.W. Schaefer, R.S. Justice. “Soy-oil based polyurethanes.” Journal of Polymer Science Part B:  Polymer Physics 43 (22), 2005, 3178-3190.
  • R.S. Justice, et al. (2005). "Morphological characterization of carbon-nanofiber-reinforced epoxy nanocompsites using ultra-small angle scattering." Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society 230: U3511-U3511.(2005)