National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Dr. James A. DiCarlo



Dr. James A. DiCarloDr. James A. DiCarlo is a Senior Technologist in the Materials and Structures Division at NASA Glenn Research Center where he has worked for over 35 years in the general area of high temperature structural materials. He has gained national and international recognition for his efforts aimed at understanding, modeling, and improving the physical, mechanical, and chemical properties of ceramic fibers and their metal and ceramic matrix composite systems. He is the author or co-author of approximately 150 scientific and technical publications.

Dr. DiCarlo began his scientific career at Glenn by performing fundamental studies on radiation effects in refractory metals where he was the first to measure the threshold energy for atomic displacement in tungsten and to use innovative internal friction techniques to detect radiation-induced interstitial atoms trapped at tungsten impurity sites. Subsequently he used the internal friction methods and related creep measurements to characterize the time-dependent deformation and fracture behavior of chemically vapor-deposited (CVD) boron and silicon-carbide (SiC) fibers and their technically important metallic composites, such as boron/aluminum and SiC/titanium. He was the first to show that the CVD boron fibers offer a significantly high damping capacity that can be used to passively reduce mechanical vibrations in their structural composite systems.

Dr. James A. DiCarlo and colleaguesIn the early 1980’s, Dr. DiCarlo and his colleagues initiated the first studies at Glenn concerning the development of fiber-reinforced ceramic matrix composites (CMC) with the goal of using these materials to replace metallic superalloys in the hot section components of aero propulsion engines. Because of their lower density and higher temperature capability, CMC components offer multiple engine advantages, such as weight saving, emissions reduction, thrust improvement, and reduced specific fuel consumption. To help achieve these benefits, Dr. DiCarlo has performed a variety of theoretical and experimental studies concerning the process-property-structure relationships of oxide and non-oxide ceramic fibers and composites. He has presented numerous invited talks and papers on these subjects, and the on the optimum approaches required by industry for successful implementation of CMC materials in high-temperature aerospace applications. His studies have recently resulted in the development of advanced SiC fibers, advanced processes for SiC matrices, and state-of-the-art SiC/SiC ceramic composites for structural applications requiring long-term performance in oxidizing environments to temperatures of 2600oF and above.

Over the years, Dr. DiCarlo has held many leadership roles at NASA Glenn including Deputy Chief of the Ceramics Branch; Technical Leader for the Glenn Fiber Team; and Technical Leader for the CMC Development Teams under the NASA-sponsored High Temperature Materials (HiTEMP), Enabling Propulsion Materials (EPM), and Ultra Efficient Engine Technologies (UEET) programs. He has also represented NASA on national boards dedicated to the development of ceramic fibers and composites, such as the Fiber Consortium sponsored by the Department of Defense. He is considered to be the world expert in measuring, analyzing, and modeling the properties of ceramic fibers.

Currently Dr. DiCarlo is the Technical Leader for the Glenn in-house team concerned with research and development of ceramic composites for high-temperature aeronautics and space applications. He is also Co-Leader for the Materials and Process Group for the Mil 17 CMC Handbook.


  • B.S. Physics, Canisius College
  • Ph.D., Solid State Physics, University of Pittsburgh
  • Post-Doctoral Studies, Radiation Damage, Brookhaven National Laboratory

Technical Memberships/Professional Affiliation

  • American Ceramic Society, American Physical Society, the Metals and Materials Society (TMS), ASM International.

Honors and Awards

  • Dr. DiCarlo has received the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and the Mueller Award, which is the highest scientific award of the Engineering Ceramics Division of the American Ceramic Society.
  • He is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society.
  • Most recently he won an R&D 100 Award for the new high-performance Sylramic-iBN SiC fiber.