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Internal MSE Department Head Search

Internal applications and nominations are invited for the position of Professor and Head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). Primary responsibilities of the department head are to provide visionary leadership; to encourage excellence and innovation in research, teaching, and service; to advance professional development of faculty, staff and students; to promote productive relationships with all constituents including students, parents, alumni, industry and government agencies; and to foster productive interdisciplinary relationships with a variety of entities across the University community. Applicants must hold a doctorate degree in Materials Science and Engineering or a related discipline. In addition, candidates must be eligible for appointment at the rank of full Professor. Commitment to, and knowledge of, affirmative action, equal employment opportunity and diversity are required. The successful candidate must also have a balanced perspective on research and teaching, as well as the vision and ability to lead a faculty representing a diversified range of interests. In addition, experience is required that demonstrates strong and successful administrative skills and proven leadership skills. The candidate must also have demonstrated excellence in research, professional practice, technical leadership, and graduate and undergraduate teaching. Applications should be submitted as a single (preferably pdf) electronic file sent via email attachment including: (1) a letter of interest, (2) a comprehensive curriculum vitae, and (3) the names and contact information (address, phone number and email address) of five professional references to the search committee contact person: Kathy Williams, Review of applications will begin on 8/1/16, and continue until the position is filled. The anticipated start date is Fall 2016.

Click here for a copy of this announcement in the form of a PDF file.

Please select one of the following links to view the video recording of each department head candidate's seminar:


Amal al-WahishUT’s Physicists and ORNL Engineers Collaborations Lead to a New Apparatus Design for High Temperature (up to 950 °C) Quasi-Elastic Neutron Scattering in a Controlled Gaseous Environment

Amal al-Wahish is a former student in Dr. David Mandrus' research group in the department of Material Science and Engineering. Her doctoral dissertation studied Phosphate Proton Conductors at elevated temperature using Quasi-Elastic Neutron Scattering. The operation of these proton conductors needs a sample environment running at temperatures exceeding 300 °C. At that time, the available sample environment for experiments at Backscattering Spectrometer Spallation Neutron Scattering could only accommodate temperatures well below that.

Amal had two choices: to either change her dissertation topic or design and build a new apparatus. She took up the challenge of building the apparatus. Working together with a brilliant ORNL staff (D. Armitage, N. Jalarvo , B. Hill, and R. Mills), the apparatus was built in 2011 and has been in use since that time at ORNL for the purpose of conducting quasi-elastic neutron scattering studies. It is a versatile system capable of studying neutron dynamics in situ under operational conditions similar to solid oxide fuel cells with the ability to control humid and dry gas flow under various environmental conditions and over a wide range of temperatures reaching up to 950 °C, enabling the user to measure chemical, dynamical and physical changes in situ. The setup has proven especially effective in studies of high temperature Quasi-elastic neutron scattering, where it reveals information about microscopic scale under dry and humid conditions, but the apparatus can potentially be used in many different neutron experiments with suitable sample can material.

In Fall 2015, Amal al-Wahish, David Mandrus, and their colleagues at ORNL and Berry college published an article in the journal Review of Scientific Instruments (Vol.86, Issue 9) with the title "A new apparatus design for high temperature (up to 950 °C) quasi-elastic neutron scattering in a controlled gaseous environment."

The team included Amal al-Wahish, D. Armitage, U. al-Binni, B. Hill, R. Mills, N. Jalarvo, L. Santodonato, K. W. Herwig, and D. Mandrus.

Ramki Kalyanaraman UT-ORNL Breakthrough Aims to Improve Tech Gadgets, TVs

Phones, tablets, computers, and even televisions use touchscreen technology, which relies on substances that contain rare and costly elements. Now, thanks to a breakthrough led by UT's College of Engineering and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, that problem could soon be in the past.


Veerle Keppens

Keppens Appointed as MSE Department Head

On July 1st, 2015, Dr. Veerle Keppens became our new department head! We couldn't be more pleased to have her rise to the challenge. Congratulations, Dr. Keppens!

William Weber Weber Receives Lee Hsun Lecture Award

Dr. William Weber received the Lee Hsun Lecture Award and delivered the Award lecture "On the Role of Electronic Energy Loss on Radiation Damage in Materials" on Monday, June 1, at the Shenyang National Laboratory for Materials Science, Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Weber is the UT-ORNL Governor's Chair for Radiation Effects on Materials.


Mariya Zhuravleva Zhuravleva Elected to AACG Committee

Dr. Mariya Zhuravleva was elected to a four-year term on the Executive Committee of the American Association for Crystal Growth (AACG). This national organization has served the crystal growth community since the late 1960s. With Zhuravleva’s election, and UT now has two seats on the executive committee. Merry Koschan of the Scintillation Materials Research Center is the president of the AACG Southeast Section. Zhuravleva is also serving as a topic convener for the Detector Materials: Scintillators and Semiconductors sessions in the AACG conference to be held this summer. Read more...

Read more about AACG

George Pharr Pharr Selected as University MaceBearer

A huge congratulations to Dr. George Pharr on his selection as University Macebearer, the highest honor bestowed on a faculty member by the University. Dr. Pharr's selection is affirmation of his outstanding accomplishments in the areas of teaching, research and service as a faculty member at The University of Tennessee.

UT Materials Science Duo Advances Next Wave of Alloys

KNOXVILLE—High-entropy alloys—substances constructed with equivalent quantities of five or more metals—might hold the key to future manufacturing and construction, and two researchers from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, could help pave the way.

Doctoral candidate Louis Santodonato (below), along with his adviser, Professor Peter Liaw (above), both in materials science, did an extensive study into this class of materials, which are considerably lighter and less prone to fracture, corrosion and oxidation than conventional alloys.

The pair used various methods to observe and model the atomic mixing behavior of high-entropy alloys, work that was picked up by the prestigious journal Nature Communications.

"Alloy specimens were laser-heated to the molten phase and solidified in situ during neutron scattering experiments," said Santodonato. "We did this in order to observe the atomic mixing trends and compare them to theoretcial simulations."

The full array of experiments included neutron and sychrotron X-ray scattering, electron microscopy and atom-probe tomography. Their work is crucial for engineering the next wave of alloys.

Breaking through the current stumbling blocks could make it easier to produce alloys that maintain strength at high temperatures, resist corrosion and exhibit certain levels of toughness.

"Because of their strength and stability at elevated temperatures, high-entropy alloys have potential applications in extreme environments," said Santodonato. "This could include things such as nuclear power plants, aircraft, casting dies and machine tooling."

Work was conducted at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Spallation Neutron Source and Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences in addition to UT.

The article detailing that work can be seen by visiting:

UT Science Forum - Atoms Have Feelings Too

On February 27, Takeshi Egami, UT-ORNL Distinguished Professor/Scientist in the Department of Materials Sciences and Engineering, and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Director of the Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences and, will speak on "Atoms Have Feelings Too: How They Suffer and Get Frustrated in Liquids and Solids" from noon to 1 p.m. during the UT Science Forum in Thompson-Boling Arena Dining Room C-D.

Egami pioneered the development of new techniques to determine the atomic structure and motion of atoms in solids.

The UT Science Forum presented by Quest offers a weekly lecture on current science, medical, or technology developments. This is the 81st year of the Science Forum series. The UT Science Forum was established in 1933 to share scientific research with the public. It was and continues to be an excellent opportunity for students, UT professors, and the general public to learn about cutting-edge research at UT, ORNL, and other local facilities on Fridays over lunch during the UT academic year.

The Science Forum is free and open to the public. Location: Thompson-Boling Arena Dining room C-D. Bring your lunch or purchase it from the Arena.

Contact: Amanda Womac,, or Dr. Mark Littmann, or (865) 974-8156. More information on future lectures at:

Rawn to Give Keynote at STEM Symposium

UT's Commission for Women and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity are sponsoring the Women in STEM Research Symposium on April 18, 2015, in the Carolyn P. Brown University Center. Dr. Claudia Rawn, an associate professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, will deliver the keynote address. More »

Dr. Lino Costa Presents Lecture Series in China

Dr. Lino Costa, Research Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Tennessee Space Institute, recently presented eight lectures on Laser Materials Processing at the Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU), located in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, People's Republic of China. Professors Weiping He and Lei Lei, of NPU, invited Costa to give the series of lectures as part of the "Graduate courses in English" program. The lectures covered the following topics: Laser Marking, Laser Induced Surface Improvement (LISI), Laser Additive Manufacturing, Femtosecond Laser Machining, and Modeling of Laser Materials Processing. During the visit to NPU (6-19 January 2015), Costa also toured the labs of Professors He and Lei, where graduate students develop various part marking techniques and investigate multiple aspects of part marking technology. "In addition to laser marking and laser materials processing in general, NPU graduate students were also very interested in talking about all aspects of culture that bond east and west, from sports and music, to cinema and food! This visit to China was a truly wonderful opportunity for me, and I was very touched by the hospitality of NPU", said Costa. Established in 1957, NPU is a Public University with two campuses (Youyi and Changan), 16 academic schools, offering 62 undergraduate programs, 122 postgraduate programs, 69 doctoral programs, and 16 postdoctoral programs. At present, NPU has over 26 thousand students in total, of which more than 14 thousand are undergraduates, and more than 3500 faculty. NPU is located in the ancient capital city of Xi'an, known as Chang'an in ancient times. As the starting point of the Silk Road, this city served as capital of China, for the Zhou, Qin, Han, and Tang dynasties, for a thousand years. Present day Xi'an offers visitor many historical sites, such as the Terracotta Warriors, the Huaqing Palace, the Xi'an City Wall, and the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, as well as many contemporary points of interest like the Shaanxi History Museum and the Xi'an musical fountain (the largest in Asia).

Dr. Lino Costa (sitting) with several NPU graduate students.
Photo and story by Lino Costa.

Weber Is Guest Editor for Journal

Dr. William Weber, UT-ORNL Governor's Chair for Radiation Effects on Materials, is the guest editor for Current Opinion in Solid State and Materials Science Vol. 19, Issue 1 (2015), a special issue this month on ion beam modification of materials. In addition, he is the lead author on the first paper in this issue, "The role of electronic energy loss in ion beam modification of materials." Dr. Yanwen Zhang (UT-ORNL joint professor) is one of the co-authors.

See the journal online >>

Chemical, Materials Engineering Students Have Strong Showing

KNOXVILLE—Seven students from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Engineering's Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Department of Materials Science and Engineering recently took part in the undergraduate poster competition of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers conference in Atlanta.

The seven—seniors Aston Thompson, Christian Wilson, Chris Bruneau and Chris Ludtka and sophomores Mary McBride and Melanie Lindsey from CBE and sophomore Samantha Medina of MSE—are all part of the Zawodzinski Group, a group dedicated to electrochemical and energy storage research run by Governor's Chair Thomas Zawodzinski.

"Being chosen to take part in such a prestigious event is a real honor for our students and a good reflection on our departments" said Gabriel A. Goenaga, senior research associate in the Zawodzinski Group. "We encourage students to go to conferences, giving them the opportunity to display their research among some of their best and brightest peers.

"It is a great opportunity and good experience for their future careers."

The students used research that they have worked on under Zawodzinski, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, as the basis for their respective posters in the competition.

All told, more than 400 posters were presented at the conference, with UT having a strong showing.

Ludtka took home second place in Fuels, Petrochemicals and Energy II and the Undergraduate Presentation Award from AIChE industry partner Wood Group Mustang, Inc., while Lindsey (Fuels, Petrochemicals and Energy I), Wilson (Fuels, Petrochemicals and Energy II) and Bruneau (Catalysis and Reaction Engineering II) each took home third places finishes.

"We're really pleased for them to get that level of recognition while representing our university," said Goenaga. "To have that many high finishes from one research group is confirmation for both our students and our research group."

The Tennessee Solar Conversion and Storage using Outreach, Research and Education—or TN-SCORE—program, of which Zawodzinski is the Thrust II leader, made the trip and poster presentations possible.


Read more on this article:

CMP Poster Competition Sends Students to LSU Conference

At the end of the summer of 2014, the Center for Materials Processing (CMP) hosted a poster competition for undergraduate researchers. The winners of this internal poster competition were awarded travel expenses to participate in the 6th annual Louisiana State University (LSU) Undergraduate Research Conference (URC), "Excite/Explore/Experiment" held on October 31st.

The four students traveling were Karson Stone (sophomore, mechanical engineering), Jesse Johnson (sophomore, materials science and engineering), Maverick Echivarre (senior, materials science and engineering), and Christopher Hobbs (senior, materials science and engineering) along with Dr. Michael Koehler (Undergraduate Research Coordinator for the CMP). Ms. Stone and Mr. Johnson were placed in the Level 1 competition category reserved for 1st year researchers, while Mr. Echivarre and Mr. Hobbs were placed in the Level 2 category reserved for students who have been performing research for 3+ semesters.

Christopher Hobbs (pictured above) walked away with 1st place in the Technology & Engineering category and a monetary award for the poster "Numerical Modeling and Furnace Augmentation for Improved Growth of Large-Diameter Scintillators". Mr. Hobbs is an undergraduate research assistant at the Scintillator Materials Research Center (SMRC) and the Department of Homeland Security supports his research.

Pharr Named to National Academy of Engineering

Faculty member George Pharr has been named to the prestigious National Academy of Engineering. He is the fifth National Academy member in our College of Engineering. George is a Chancellor's Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and joint faculty scientist in the Materials Science and Technology Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Read more.


Mandrus Named UT Engineering's First Henry Endowed Professor

David Mandrus, a professor in the College of Engineering, has been selected as the first Jerry and Kay Henry Endowed Professor. Mandrus was chosen for the honor because of his research, teaching, and publication record. A fellow of the American Physical Society, Mandrus has done work covering everything from LED research to researching materials for the electronics of the future.


Improving Plant-based Battery with Neutrons and Simulations

09.18.14 Researchers at ORNL and the University of Tennessee are studying the structure of plant-based battery materials by combining neutron experiments and supercomputer simulations.
Initial testing of the lignin-derived battery showed promising results in terms of capacity and cycling stability, but the researchers wanted to understand how and why the material behaved so differently from other graphites. Rios began collaborating with the University of Tennessee's Computational Materials Group, led by David Keffer, to further examine the fibers' structure and behavior.
"There aren't many techniques we can use to study these unique materials made of crystalline domains within an amorphous matrix," said UT's Nicholas McNutt, a graduate student in Keffer's group. "We wanted to tie together some of Oak Ridge National Lab's best resources -- neutrons and computers -- and see what we could do."
The team ran neutron scattering experiments at ORNL's Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) to analyze how lignin-based fiber samples reacted with lithium. The SNS is a DOE Office of Science user facility that provides the most intense pulsed neutron beams in the world for scientific research and industrial development.
Using the neutron data, the team developed computational models and ran simulations on supercomputers including the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility's (OLCF) Titan, supported by DOE's Office of Science, and UT's Kraken, supported by the National Science Foundation. The team detailed its approach in the Journal of Applied Crystallography.
"Our models allow us to take experimental neutron scattering data and predict things about the local atomic structure," McNutt said. "We are using computation to understand experimental data in a way that you couldn't do before."
The initial combination of neutron experiments and simulation gave the UT-ORNL team a first glimpse into how the material's structure affects its overall performance. Now that they have confirmed their model's accuracy, the researchers plan on applying the technique to how the material's structure changes with and without added lithium, mimicking the charging and discharging cycles of a real battery. Read more

New ion beam materials laboratory for materials modification and irradiation effects research

ABSTRACT: "A new multifunctional ion beam materials laboratory (IBML) has been established at the University of Tennessee, in partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The IBML is currently equipped with two ion sources, a 3 MV tandem accelerator, three beamlines and three endstations. The IBML is primarily dedicated to fundamental research on ion–solid interaction, ion beam analysis, ion beam modification, and other basic and applied research on irradiation effects in a wide range of materials. An overview of the IBML facility is provided, and experimental results are reported to demonstrate the specific capabilities."
SOURCE: Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 338 (2014) 19-30

Three Engineering Professors on "World's Most Influential" List

From left to right: Governor's Chair Ramamoorthy Ramesh;
Matthew Mench, head of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace,
and Biomedical Engineering; and Professor David Mandrus.

Since having your work recognized by your peers has long been considered a top honor for those in higher education, a trio of College of Engineering professors recently became academic all-stars. Governor's Chair Ramamoorthy Ramesh and professors Matthew Mench and David Mandrus were recently named to the "World's Most Influential Scientific Minds: 2014″ list by Thomson Reuters news service. "This is a tremendous personal honor for all three of them, and also a strong validation of some of the things that we have going on here in the College of Engineering at Tennessee," said Wayne Davis, dean of the college. To compile the list, Reuters studied research and releases across the globe and measured the total number of times that other researchers, professors, and students cited the material in their own findings. Rather than just basing their result on which people had been cited the most overall, Reuters looked at which individual papers within the results had been cited the highest number of times. Those findings placed Ramesh, Mench, and Mandrus in the top 1 percent of all research scientists across the world. "For them to be on the list itself is nice enough, but for it to be based on the respect that others in their fields have for them—for their peers to so often cite them as leaders—underscores the sort of people we have on our faculty here," said Davis.

Along with being a Governor's Chair, Ramesh is the deputy director for science and technology at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in addition to his role in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at UT—where Mandrus is also a professor—while Mench is the head of and the Condra Chair of Excellence in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering.
Ramesh is an expert in solar nanotechnology, while Mench studies electrochemical power storage, transport, and conversion, and Mandrus is a leader in developing breakthroughs that lead to ever-smaller, more efficient electronics.


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