Research Areas

Metals, ceramics and polymers typically exhibit the extremes in physical, chemical and mechanical properties due to fundamental differences in their atomic structure and bonding. No property exemplifies this better than electrical conductivity, which is twenty orders of magnitude higher in copper than glass and most polymers. Such vast property differences enable the development of composite components and materials having unique performance capabilities. The limitations to optimizing many important technologies are rooted in the complex relationships between properties, structure, processing and performance.

Materials Engineering provides a critical balance between the limits of fundamental science and practical engineering. An early example is the cathode ray tube (circa 1850). The proliferation of these devices began when platinum electrodes were first hermetically sealed through glass tubes via fusing the glass directly to the metal. The performance of such metal-ceramic systems depends strongly on bulk properties, but processing is governed by the behavior of interfaces. Large differences in atomic structure and bonding in these systems give rise to a variety of interfacial phenomena that present challenges in composite processing.

Research in the School of Materials Engineering provides an important crossroads for the engineering fields and physical sciences. Active collaborations exist between the School of Materials Engineering and Chemistry, Physics, Electrical Engineering, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Agricultural Engineering. These collaborations include elements of property assessment, structural characterization, materials processing and performance enhancement.

The School of Materials Engineering operates and maintains major central facilities for materials research in the School as well as throughout the University.  In addition, facilities for computational materials research use hardware maintained by the School as well as hardware maintained by central university computing facilities.

Research Programs (Areas of Research Focus)

Named Laboratories