Opila Group News

News and updates from the Advanced High Temperature Materials Research Group, led by Dr. Beth Opila.

    Congratulations PhD Candidates!

    January 06, 2020


    Lavina, Rachel, and Lucas all successfully presented their PhD research proposals to their committees this past week. Congratulations to all!

    New Opila Group Members

    January 06, 2020


    The Opila group is growing! Undergraduate researchers Dominic Pinnisi, Donya Zargham and Nathaniel Craft have recently joined us and will be working on a variety of high temperature oxidation projects. Niquana Smith joins us with a BS in Chemistry from Denison University and will be working toward her Ph.D. in Materials Science and engineering. Welcome!

    New Publication: Boria effects on SiC fibers

    January 06, 2020

    SiC iBN

    A  new paper on Bonnie's work on the oxidation of SiC fibers in the presence of boron nitride has been published. From the abstract: "Oxides formed from Sylramic iBN fibers were typically higher in boron concentration, which led to initial rapid oxidation rates that were 3 to 10 times faster than observed for pure SiC." Read paper here.

    Maddy wins awards!

    January 06, 2020

    Maddy Poster

    Maddy's research on the "Thermal Stability of MBE Synthesized MoSe2 in UHV" took second place at Engineering Science and Research Design Symposium this year. (Read more about the Engineering Science program here). Maddy also won first place in the UVA Undergraduate Research Network Symposium and the 2018 Outstanding Engineering Science Student Award! Congratulations, Maddy!

    Congratulations Cory!

    January 06, 2020

    Model Comparison

    Cory successfully presented his PhD Dissertation Proposal today. We look forward to more exciting results on the "Effect of the Air Plasma Spray Process on Rare Earth Silicate Coating Life." Read more about Cory's research here.

    Kendall is published!

    January 06, 2020


    Congratulations to Kendall! Her research on tantalum oxide stability in high-temperature steam is now published in The Spectra, UVA's Undergraduate Engineering and Science Research Journal. Read article here.

    Valentina is leader at the International Youth Nuclear Congress

    January 06, 2020


    Valentina was very busy at the IYNCM recently held in Bariloche, Argentina, March 11-17, 2018. She was manager of the technical track "Advanced Nuclear Systems" and manager of the workshop "Lessons from Fukushima: How material selection can prevent future accidents." (See description here). She is also a member of the board of directors of IYNC and a member of the communication committee since 2016.

    Lavina wins renewal of VSGC fellowship

    January 06, 2020



    Congratulations to Lavina on the successful renewal of her Virginia Space Grant Consortium Fellowship. She will reporting on her research progress during the first year of her fellowship at the VSGC Student Research Conference on April 11 at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. For more information, visit the VSGC website.

    Bekah is finalist in the University of Virginia Engineering Research Symposium (UVERS)

    January 06, 2020

    Bekah at UVERS

    Rebekah Webster represented the Department of Materials Science and Engineering as a Podium Presentation Finalist in the University of Virginia Engineering Research Symposium held on March 22, 2018. This Symposium highlights excellence in research of SEAS graduate engineering students. Bekah presented her research on "Mitigation Strategies for Calcium-Magnesium Aluminosilicate (CMAS) Attack on Environmental Barrier Coatings." Congratulations Bekah!

    Maddy is featured in UVAToday!

    January 06, 2020


    4th year undergraduate student, Maddy Morales, is featured in UVAToday for her Harrison Award Research in our lab on "Oxidation of SiC in molten boria". In this article, Maddy discusses the challenges and joys of her research. Congratulations, Maddy! We are proud of you!  Read more...