​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

Our research foucses 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 tradtional 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.


  • 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

Research Interests

  • Fracture Mechanics
  • Physical Metallurgy
  • Hydrogen Embrittlement
  • Corrosion
  • Additive Manufacturing

Selected Publications

  • Shoemaker TK, Harris ZD, Burns JT “Comparing stress corrosion cracking behavior of additively manufactured and wrought 17-4PH stainless steel”, Corrosion, (2022): 78(6), 528-546. ABS .
  • Harris ZD, Dubas EM, Popernack AS, Somerday BP, Burns JT “Elucidating the loading rate dependence of hydrogen environment-assisted cracking in a Ni-Cu superalloy”, Theor Appl Fract (2021): 111, 102846. ABS .
  • Harris ZD, Thompson AW, Burns JT “Multiscale assessment of deformation induced hydrogen environment assisted cracking in a peak-aged Ni-Cu superalloy”, JOM, (2020): 72(5), 1993-2002. .
  • Martinez-Paneda E, Harris ZD, Scully JR, Burns JT “On the suitability of slow strain rate tensile testing for assessing hydrogen embrittlement susceptibility”, Corr Sci, (2020): 163; 108291. ABS .