The University of Tennessee, Knoxville


Welcome to
Materials Science
and Engineering

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 Video

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MSE Faculty and Students talk about unique opportunities for students studying at UT.

UT-MSE People Making a Difference


Snow in Knoxville
"A Proper Winter in Knoxville February 13, 2014",
photographs by Professor David Keffer

It is with heavy heart that we mourn the passing of our dear friend, and colleague, Dr. Joe Spruiell.

Dr. Joseph Earl Spruiell. - (age) 78, passed away peacefully at his home in Knoxville on February 17, 2014 after a brief illness. He was born on October 13, 1935 to parents Margaret Claiborne and Joseph Samuel Spruiell. Joe graduated with his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D in Engineering from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Spruiell taught at his beloved Alma Mater for fifty years. He served as Department Head in Polymer and Metallurgical Engineering for fifteen years. Joe loved ballroom dancing, working in and showing his magnificent roses. Joe won many awards for his roses. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his daughter, Teresa Margaret Spruiell Davidson. Joe is survived by his beloved wife Rhonda, daughter and son-in-law Janet and Bruce Byrd of St. Louis, Missouri and beloved grandchildren Amber, Ashely and Andy. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 12:00 noon on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at Rose Mortuary Mann Heritage Chapel. The family will receive friends from 10:30 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. Saturday prior to the service at the mortuary. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 78517, Topeka, Kansas 66675. Arrangements by Rose Mortuary Mann Heritage Chapel.


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 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


Josh Burgess 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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Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 | 865-974-1000
The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System