Research Capabilities and Impact

We pioneer research in aluminum and magnesium alloys and advance the state-of-the-art in materials for extreme environments.

Our department has a rich history in structural materials research, which focuses on a material’s processing, microstructure, and mechanical property relationships. We are leaders in fatigue and fracture, working at the confluence of mechanical, chemical, and metallurgical factors. We address the design and discovery of advanced materials for extreme environments and the development of innovative processes for making them. and possess significant expertise in ceramic matrix composites. We make full use of our computational expertise to refine and accelerate the development of new materials and to better understand their fundamental properties. We seek to understand the physics underlying additive manufacturing processes, in order to develop advanced alloy/composite systems and create materials with novel properties and designed geometry.

Research Groups

  • Sean Agnew Research Group

    Sean Agnew Research Group

    Our research is focused primarily on metals analysis, including magnesium alloy formability, intermetallic behaviors and aluminum alloy fatigue. Our methods of analysis typically include uses of SEM, TEM, XRD and neutron diffraction as well as mechanical testing.

    Agnew Research Group | Faculty Profile

  • Prasanna Balachandran Research Group

    Prasanna Balachandran Research Group

    Our research group develops novel informatics approaches to accelerate the discovery of new materials and establish quantitative structure-property relationships for bulk materials, thin films and heterostructures.

    Balachandran Research Group | Faculty Profile


  • Ji Ma Research Group

    Ji Ma Research Group

    Our research explores ways of using additive manufacturing/3-D printing techniques to create materials with novel properties that cannot be achieved through conventional means, and incorporating these materials in designed geometry to produce functionally unique parts.

    Faculty Profile

  • Beth Opila Research Group

    Beth Opila Research Group

    Our research group focuses on materials for use in extreme environments including aircraft engines, rocket engines, energy conversion technologies and thermal protection systems. We create critical aspects of the use environment and characterize materials before and after exposure.

    Opila Research Group | Tour the Lab | Faculty Profile

  • Tao Sun Research Group

    Tao Sun Research Group

    Our research group studies additive manufacturing processes and materials using synchrotron x-ray and other in situ/ex situ characterization tools to understand the physics underlying energy-matter interactions and non-equilibrium material structural evolution.

    Faculty Profile

  • Haydn Wadley Research Group

    Haydn Wadley Research Group

    Our research interests are microarchitectured materials; thermal management structures including thermal barrier coating and environmental barrier coating systems and liquid metal heat pipes; high-temperature composites and additive manufacturing; spark plasma sintering, and plasma and electron beam processing of materials.

    Wadley Research Group | Tour the Lab | Faculty Profile

  • Leo Zhigilei Research Group

    Leo Zhigilei Research Group

    Our research interests include multiscale modeling of materials behavior far from equilibrium, mechanisms of phase transformations, nanomaterials and surface processes.

    Zhigilei Research Group | Faculty Profile

  • Bi-Cheng Zhou Research Group

    Bi-Cheng Zhou Research Group

    Our research group applies computational thermodynamics and kinetics methods to the study of metal alloys, additive manufacturing, high-temperature corrosion and aqueous corrosion.

    Zhou Research Group | Faculty Profile

  • Laboratory for Astrophysics and Surface Physics

    Laboratory for Astrophysics and Surface Physics

    Catherine A. Dukes, LASP Director and NMCF Research Scientist

    Our team studies the interaction of energetic particles and photons with solid surfaces, with a particular emphasis on understanding the physical and chemical processes at play in our solar system and interstellar medium.

    LASP Research Group | Catherine A. Dukes Profile