Dist Prof Debes Bhattacharyya

BE (Mechanical Engineering), ME (Mechanical Engineering), PhD and Honorary (honoris causa) Doctor of Engineering

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Professor (Personal Chair)


Professor Debes Bhattacharyya is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and has been the founding Director of the Centre for Advanced Composite Materials at the University of Auckland. In 2016, he was felicitated as the Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Professor by SRM University in Chennai, India. He also holds an Adjunct Professor position at Washington State University, Pullman, USA.  Professor Bhattacharyya was the Head of Mechanical Engineering Department from 1999 to early 2005. His research interest includes the mechanics and manufacturing of composite materials. He has held visiting positions at various universities in Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong and the US, and has been awarded a number of international awards. He has delivered > 60 keynote/plenary/invited lectures at international conferences. He is currently the Editor (2) and Associate Editor (1) of three international journals and has served/is serving on the Editorial Advisory Boards of eight journals. Prof. Bhattacharyya has more than 450 scientific/technical publications including several edited/authored books and a number of book chapters. He has successfully implemented several international patents. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, NZ and a Distinguished Fellow of the Institution of Professional Engineers NZ (IPENZ). He is a life member of ASME. For his international academic achievements he has been awarded an honorary ‘Doctor of Engineering’ (honoris causa) by the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. In 2012, he was awarded by IPENZ the Supreme Technical (John Cranko) Award for his professional contributions. He is a member of the Executive Council and past President of the Asian-Australasian Association of Composite Materials. He has done extensive consulting in New Zealand and overseas, and has chaired or served on many panels in New Zealand and Australia. He has been involved in the supervision of more than 110 postgraduate students including about 62 PhD candidates. He has overseen 18 postdoctoral fellows/research associates. He has served as the Reviewer/Assessor for more than 35 international journals and organisations in Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Hong Kong, Poland, Singapore & NZ. He has been the founding Director of Centre for Advance Composite Materials (CACM) until recently and has raised as The Principal Investigator about $45M from both private and public sources in NZ and overseas – has established collaborative partnerships with several organisations in Australia, Canada, China, Germany and the US. He served on three government panels (one as Chair and two as Member) in Australia to evaluate the performances of major research centres.

In addition the following paragraph gives a short list of some of the honours/awards he has received:


  • Teaching Excellence Award (sustained postgraduate supervision and teaching) from the Faculty of Engineering, The University of Auckland (2013)
  • Selected as an International Expert for prestigious Brain Korea 21+ program in advanced/nano-materials area (2014 – 19)
  • “Pravasi Gold Medal” awarded at a ceremony held in Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. (2015) for research and professional achievements
  • “Glory of India” award from the Indian International Friendship Society and the Govt. of India in New Delhi (January 2012);
  • “Nav Rattan” (Nine Jewels) award for ‘Outstanding Services, Achievements and Contributions’, presented at the 30th International Congress of Non-resident Indians in New Delhi (January 2011);
  • “Pravasi Achievers Gold Medal” at the House of Lords, London – in recognition of achievements and contributions in the respective fields (September 2010);
  • “Hind Rattan” (Jewel of India) award for academic and social achievements, presented at the 29th International Congress of Non-resident Indians, New Delhi (January 2010);
  • “Glory of Bengal” award for academic achievements by a non-resident Bengali, given in Doha, Qatar (January 2010)


On the social front, Debes has always been very active by holding various positions on the executive committees of different community organisations and is one of the four trustees of ‘Children’s Welfare Trust’ that has raised thousands of dollars for the Starship Children’s Hospital Trust in Auckland. For years he has been the Vice-President of Auckland Vedanta Society, a philosophical/educational organisation. Recently he has assumed the role of Chairman of the Advisory Panel for a newly established tertiary organisation approved by NZQA) dealing with hospitality and language education. Debes has also been intimately involved with the ethnic communities and has actively participated in many activities organised by the NZ Government and Auckland City. In his spare time, Debes has a strong interest in music, theatre and film, participating in a number of stage performances and has acted in a New Zealand film (‘Rubi and Rata’ – shown in Cannes, India and Toronto film festivals).

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • McGregor, O. P. L., Duhovic, M., Somashekar, A. A., & Bhattacharyya, D. (2017). Pre-impregnated natural fibre-thermoplastic composite tape manufacture using a novel process. Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, 101, 59-71. 10.1016/j.compositesa.2017.05.025
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Arcot Somashekar
  • Kim, N. K., Lin, R. J. T., & Bhattacharyya, D. (2017). Flammability and mechanical behaviour of polypropylene composites filled with cellulose and protein based fibres: A comparative study. Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, 100, 215-226. 10.1016/j.compositesa.2017.05.017
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nam Kyeun Kim, Richard Lin
  • Liu, D., Dong, Y., Bhattacharyya, D., & Sui, G. (2017). Novel sandwiched structures in starch/cellulose nanowhiskers (CNWs) composite films. Composites Communications, 4, 5-9. 10.1016/j.coco.2017.03.001
  • Lin, S. T. C., Musson, D. S., Amirapu, S., Cornish, J., & Bhattacharyya, D. (2017). Development of organic solvent-free micro-/nano-porous polymer scaffolds for musculoskeletal regeneration. Journal of biomedical materials research. Part A, 105 (5), 1393-1404. 10.1002/jbm.a.36023
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/34569
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Satya Amirapu, David Musson, Jillian Cornish, Sandy Lin
  • Rajaei, M., Wang, D.-Y., & Bhattacharyya, D. (2017). Combined effects of ammonium polyphosphate and talc on the fire and mechanical properties of epoxy/glass fabric composites. Composites Part B: Engineering, 113, 381-390. 10.1016/j.compositesb.2017.01.039
  • Das, O., Kim, N. K., Sarmah, A. K., & Bhattacharyya, D. (2017). Development of waste based biochar/wool hybrid biocomposites: Flammability characteristics and mechanical properties. Journal of Cleaner Production, 144, 79-89. 10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.155
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nam Kyeun Kim, Ajit Sarmah, Oisik Das
  • Ikram, S., Das, O., & Bhattacharyya, D. (2016). A parametric study of mechanical and flammability properties of biochar reinforced polypropylene composites. Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, 91, 177-188. 10.1016/j.compositesa.2016.10.010
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Oisik Das
  • Das, O., Bhattacharyya, D., Hui, D., & Lau, K.-T. (2016). Mechanical and flammability characterisations of biochar/polypropylene biocomposites. Composites Part B: Engineering, 106, 120-128. 10.1016/j.compositesb.2016.09.020
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Oisik Das