Wilsdorf Hall, Room 318
395 McCormick Road
Charlottesville, VA 22904
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Our research focuses on the impact of environmental degradation on the mechanical properties of high-performance structural metals. We explore a wide range of material systems (e.g. steel, Al, Ti, Ni-based alloys) produced via traditional and additively manufactured processes. Our work is at the intersection of metallurgy, mechanics, and electrochemistry, which uniquely positions us to explore many real-world challenges in the infrastructure, aerospace, automotive, energy, and biomedical fields. In each of these applications we strive to understand the mechanistic factors governing environmental degradation to inform engineering solutions using a material science framework that links processing, microstructure, properties, and component performance.


​Ph.D. Materials Science and Engineering; University of Virginia, 2010

​M.S. Materials Science and Engineering; University of Virginia, 2006

​B.S. Engineering Mechanics (Materials) Minor: Mathematics; US Air Force Academy, 2002

Environmental effects on the structural integrity of high-performance alloys is at the core of many engineering challenges with societal implications. We aim to understand the mechanisms governing these phenomena to inform engineering solutions.

James T. Burns Associate Professor

Research Interests

Fracture Mechanics
Physical Metallurgy
Hydrogen Embrittlement
Additive Manufacturing

Selected Publications

“Comparing stress corrosion cracking behavior of additively manufactured and wrought 17-4PH stainless steel”, Corrosion, (2022): 78(6), 528-546. Shoemaker T.K., Harris Z.D., Burns J.T.
“Elucidating the loading rate dependence of hydrogen environment-assisted cracking in a Ni-Cu superalloy”, Theor Appl Fract (2021): 111, 102846. Harris Z.D., Dubas E.M., Popernack A.S., Somerday B.P., Burns J.T.
“Multiscale assessment of deformation induced hydrogen environment assisted cracking in a peak-aged Ni-Cu superalloy”, JOM, (2020): 72(5), 1993-2002. Harris Z.D., Thompson A.W., Burns J.T.
“On the suitability of slow strain rate tensile testing for assessing hydrogen embrittlement susceptibility”, Corr Sci, (2020): 163; 108291. Martinez-Paneda E., Harris Z.D., Scully J.R., Burns J.T.


Editorial Boards of the International Journal of Fatigue 2022
Editorial Board of Engineering Fracture Mechanics 2022
HH Uhlig Award, NACE International (outstanding educator in the feild of corrosion science) 2021
Engineering Excellence Award, NASA Engineering Safety Center 2019
UVA PRI Society Recognition for Teaching Excellence 2019
AFOSR-Young Investigator Research Grant 2016