We are delighted to welcome you to the web site of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at the University of Tennessee (UT). This site provides you with information about research, teaching, and service activities of our faculty and students. We also provide MSE course information and we introduce you to all of our departmental staff and students. Thank you for taking an interest in UT-MSE!
MSE faculty and students talk about unique opportunities for students studying at UT.
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As a joint faculty appointee, David Mandrus conducts materials
synthesis research at ORNL and the University of Tennessee.
An idea for a new way to test some of the smallest pieces of our planet has earned a large award—more than $2.2 million to be exact—from the National Science Foundation for a pair of UT professors in the College of Engineering.
George Pharr and Erik Herbert, both of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, helped come up with the concept for the "Development of and Broad-Based Materials Research with the Next Generation Nanomechanical Testing Laboratory" along with Warren Oliver of Nanomechanics Inc.
"The testing system we will develop will be the only one of its kind in the world and will allow us to test nano-sized objects at temperatures up to 1,100 degrees Celsius," said Pharr, who is a joint UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory professor. "By obtaining data with high precision and at extremely high rates we can determine the strength of many of the small-scale objects that are fueling the nanotechnology revolution.
"Our data will be key to the successful development of many next-generation nano-devices." The team wants to create summer workshops for students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and will partner with a local small business, Nanomechanics Inc, to commercialize the new technology.
More than 70 percent of the funding—$1.54 million—will come through the NSF's Major Research Instrumentation program, with the remainder coming through UT. "In addition to developing and building the next-generation nanomechanical testing platform, we get to do it working alongside a number of the best and brightest minds in our field," said Herbert. "We hope to develop advancements in our understanding of the fundamental aspects of materials, from elasticity to conductivity."
"This has been a dream of mine seventeen years in the making." The project will last five years and will be housed in the Joint Institute of Advanced Materials at UT when complete.
Mandrus, of the College of Engineering's Department of Materials Science and Engineering, recently was chosen by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation as a Moore Synthesis Investigator, a highly selective honor that carries with it $1.7 million in funding.
If the breakthroughs Mandrus is studying come to fruition they could revolutionize everything from appliances to computing, as his work focuses on using both the charge and spin—the intrinsic magnetism—of electrons to shape the future of electronics.
"The idea is to control electrons using magnetic fields as well as electric fields," said Mandrus. "This will lead to new device concepts and a new generation of electronic devices that require very little power to operate."
Mandrus is a specialist in the discovery and growth of new quantum materials, which he says "are the engine that drives progress in condensed matter and materials physics."
These materials encompass both topological and strongly correlated electronic phases, and are interesting because they often display striking and unexpected phenomena that challenge our fundamental understanding of matter and can lead to revolutionary new technologies.
"It is our job to keep theorists awake at night," Mandrus laughed. "I'm thrilled to be chosen to help lead efforts forward."
In simplistic terms, Mandrus's work involves the study of conductive materials at increasingly smaller scales, to the point of being nanoscopic.
Mandrus will also be working to create magnetic semiconductors that will be compatible with a new push toward two-dimensional semiconductors.
By exploiting the magnetic properties and adding them to "traditional" electronics, the amount of data flow increases, while the amount of power and thermal output decreases.
It is that work on the cutting edge of technology that led to his recognition by the Moore foundation.
"This is a prestigious designation and it speaks to the amount of respect they have for his work," said William Dunne, associate dean for research and technology in the College of Engineering. "This isn't something you can apply for, but rather something where they ask you to submit a proposal.
"Even getting to that point is an honor, but for them to choose you is very special."
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation was founded to help nourish ideas ranging from science and environmental conservation to patient care by investing in research and development.
For more information on the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, visit moore.org.
College of Engineering associate professor Claudia Rawn has been named a 2014 ASM International Fellow, earning one of the highest honors attainable in her field.
"I'm thrilled," said Rawn, a faculty member of theDepartment of Materials Science and Engineering. "To join the other colleagues of mine in the department who have been made fellows is a tremendous honor."
Rawn is the third member of the department to be honored in the last seven years, but her participation with ASM, formerly the American Society for Metals, goes back much further. She first began working with the group as a student before switching organizations during postdoctoral study.
After that brief time away, Rawn became reacquainted with the group after coming to Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1997, then even more so once she joined the UT staff a decade ago.
"Being made a fellow brings it back around to where I started as a student," said Rawn.
Since that time, she has helped out with projects, camps, contests, and conferences, and is active in a number of different roles on campus.
She is director of the Center for Materials Processing and a member of both iBME, the Institute for Biomedical Engineering, and JIAM, the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials. She has helped organize her department's Materials Camp since 2004.
ASM started its fellows program in 1969 to help recognize specific achievements or contributions to the field of materials science.
In Rawn's case, the award stems from her work using in situ X-ray and neutron diffraction to study a variety of novel energy materials from superconductors to gas hydrates. She, and other members of this year's class, will be formally inducted at an Oct. 14 meeting in Pittsburgh.
While the honor itself is nice, being recognized in front of her peers validates a lifetime of giving back to her field.
"I have a lot of pride in what we do, and I know a lot of the people in the organization," said Rawn. "There's no other way to say how much it means. It's just a thrill."
Congratulations for all your great accomplishments from all of us students, faculty,
and staff of the MSE Department!
Dr. George Pharr, Chancellor's Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Joint Faculty Scientist in the Materials Science and Technology Division at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), has been named to the National Academy of Engineering. He becomes the fifth NAE member in the College of Engineering. Pharr, who is also director of the UT-ORNL Joint Institute for Advanced Materials and McKamey Professor of Engineering, has been elected for his "development of methods for determining mechanical properties of materials by nanoindentation." Read more >>
Mariya Zhuravleva, assistant research professor of materials science and engineering, was recently named principal investigator on a $2 million 5-year grant from the Department of Homeland Security. Her research addresses a grand challenge in border security by developing crystal growth technology aimed at enabling the production of large size gamma-ray scintillators with superior energy resolution. The properties of currently available materials limit the performance of detection systems. For most gamma and neutron detection applications, these materials must be available in large size at a reasonable cost while maintaining the required energy resolution to unambiguously identify various nuclear signatures. New fundamental understanding of the materials properties of recently discovered scintillators will be coupled with numerical simulations of fluid flow and heat/mass transport to drive the design of new crystal growth furnaces and new growth protocols aimed at demonstrating the potential of large scale production. The effort will focus on recently discovered scintillators that appear to have inherent advantages for large-scale production. A key strategy of the program is the tight integration of research and education that will provide opportunities for students to develop a deeper knowledge, expertise, and appreciation of this critical field.
Carlos Gonzalez is an MSE- PhD candidate who dreams of someday being a professor at a small college. Listening to the comments of the people he has worked with, it definitely sounds like he has all the right stuff. Since beginning work on his doctorate in 2010, Gonzalez has mentored seven materials science and engineering undergraduate researchers on a variety of projects. They all agree his passion for the field is contagious. "Carlos' drive and joy for learning are inspirational," says student Joe Ulrich. "He makes you want to love the work, and having someone like him to guide you is vital to enjoying an internship." Read more about Carlos here
D. Joshua Burgess is a UT-MSE Ph.D. candidate in the Materials Joining Group. He is an American Welding Society (AWS) certified Level III Expert welder with over seven years welding experience. Mr. Burgess is a two time Tennessee State Champion welder and ranked 3rd in the nation at the Skills USA National Welding Conference. While competing in the U.S. Weld Pre-Trials for a chance to represent the United States in the World Skills competition, he became interested in the science behind welding and decided to pursue a college degree in a welding related field. Mr. Burgess received his B.S. in MSE in 2009 and his M.S. in Welding Metallurgy in 2011. Josh is currently serving as Chairman for the local North East Tennessee American Welding Society (AWS) Section and recently elected to be the AWS District 8 Director for 2014-2017.
Click here to learn more about Josh Burgess.
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