In recognition of his pioneering work to make aircraft safer, Professor Rhys Jones has been awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia — the highest honor that an Australian can receive.
Professor Jones originally studied mathematics, which he says is essential for all engineering. It was in 1988, after the roof of Aloha Airlines Flight 243 blew open mid-flight, that he became interested the structural mechanics of aircraft. His work particularly focuses on repairing cracks and corrosion, the main threats to a plane’s structural integrity.
Working with technology company RUAG and the US Navy, he developed a technique to combat aluminium corrosion by spraying fine metal particles at high speed into the aircraft body. This restores the plane nearly back to its original condition.
Professor Jones is currently professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Monash University, and an Associate Editor for the Polymeric and Composite Materials section within Frontiers in Materials. His inclusion in the 2018 Australia Day Honors List recognizes his “eminent service to mechanical and aerospace engineering, and to education as an academic, researcher and author, particularly in the area of aircraft structural mechanics, corrosion repair and airworthiness”. He is the first structures/materials scientist to be made a Companion of the Order of Australia.