Electrochemical Society Encourages Active Engagement in the Field After Graduation

Chao “Gilbert” Liu, who earned his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at the University of Virginia in 2018, earned the Morris Cohen graduate student award from the Electrochemical Society’s Corrosion Division. The society established the award in 1991 to recognize and reward outstanding graduate research in the field of corrosion science and engineering and to encourage especially promising researchers to remain active in the field after completing their graduate research.

Recipients receive a $1,000 award, plus a travel grant to present a lecture at a Corrosion Division symposium. Liu will present a lecture on atmospheric galvanically-induced localized corrosion at PRiME 2020, a gathering of professionals in electrochemistry and solid-state science and technology.  

Liu’s dissertation focused on understanding what controls corrosion attack in complicated structures used in modern aircraft. The corrosion is often hidden from view, inside bolt holes for example, and can generate cracks that pose increased risk and require costly maintenance and repair.

Liu conducted his dissertation research as a member of the Center for Electrochemical Science and Engineering within UVA’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Liu’s project was supported by the Office of Naval Research, part of a collaboration with his academic advisor Robert G. Kelly, AT&T Professor of Engineering and professor of materials science and engineering; John R. Scully, Charles Henderson Chaired Professor of materials science and engineering and department chair; and Ph.D. students Noelle Easter Co and Veronica Rafla. Scully and Kelly serve as the center’s co-directors; Liu is the 10th center student to earn the Morris Cohen award.

"Working with Gilbert was a fantastic experience. He was always thirsting to learn and develop both technically and personally. This award recognizes the important work he did," Kelly said.

After he graduated from UVA in December 2018, Liu joined the Shell Technology Center in Houston as a research scientist. He develops new electrochemical techniques and manages R&D portfolios that advance Shell’s investment in oil, gas and low-carbon energy. Liu remains actively involved in the Electrochemical Society and NACE International, formerly known as the National Association of Corrosion Engineers. He also writes technical columns for the Electrochemical Society Interface journal and will co-chair the sodium ion battery symposium at the Electrochemical Society’s June 2021 biannual meeting.