ASCE has honored James R. Rice, Ph.D., M.ASCE, with the 2018 Raymond D. Mindlin Medal for his pioneering work in continuum mechanics with applications to various engineering materials and natural processes.
Rice’s single largest contribution to solid mechanics is in elastic-plastic fracture mechanics, on the J-integral. His first paper was published in 1968 and has been cited more than 3,000 times. It is the most cited paper ever among all those in applied solid mechanics listed in the ISI web of science. His work established the J-integral as the single dominating parameter to characterize crack tip field in an elastic-plastic material.
His subsequent J-integral papers laid the foundation of elastic-plastic fracture mechanics and enabled a broad range of practical applications in designing engineering materials used in the civil, mechanical, aerospace, transportation, oil, automotive, and energy industries.
He is also one of the earliest researchers to look into the problem of shear localization in geomaterials. In recent years, Rice has made significant contributions to understanding the earthquake processes. His rate- and state-dependent constitutive relationship for sliding in frictional surface has become a standard law for studying fault slippage. His insight into the potential importance of dynamic fault-weakening mechanisms such as flash heating and pore pressurization has been invaluable in the understanding of seismic and other field observations and laboratory experiments.
Rice is responsible for putting dynamic weakening on the map, demonstrating its great importance for both dynamic rupture and overall fault response.
The Raymond D. Mindlin Medal is awarded to an individual in recognition of outstanding research contributions to applied solid mechanics.