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All MSEN graduate seminars are held at 4:10 p.m. on a Monday unless otherwise noted below:

Fall 2020 Seminar Schedule

  • August 24
    Karim Ahmed, Texas A&M University

    Mesoscale Modeling of Nuclear Fuels
    Abstract: The concepts of integrated computational materials science and engineering (ICME) are now being utilized to extend the lifetime of current nuclear reactors and accelerate the design of advanced nuclear reactors. One main challenge for this goal is to select nuclear materials that can serve in these harsh environments. In that regard, the concepts of ICME are used to speed-up the process of optimizing existing materials and qualifying novel ones. In this talk, I willhighlight our efforts in that subject by discussing our work on mesoscale modeling of coevolution of microstructure and properties of nuclear fuels.

    Biography: Karim Ahmed is an Assistant Professor of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M University. He received his Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from Purdue University. He also obtained a M.Sc. in Materials Science from Florida State University. Prior to joining TAMU, He was a postdoctoral researcher with the Fuel Modeling and Simulation Department at Idaho National Laboratory,where he was a developer and user of the MOOSE‐MARMOT‐BISON framework for modeling the performance of fuel, cladding, and structural materials. Dr. Ahmed’s research interests are irradiations effects, coevolution of microstructure and properties of materials under extreme conditions, and multi‐scale modeling and simulations.

  • August 31 
    Stephen Raiman, Texas A&M University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Hotter, Safer, Stronger, Cheaper: Corrosion Science in Support of Nuclear Power and the Clean Energy Economy
    Abstract: As energy system designers challenge the limits of material performance, corrosion scientists work on controlling material and environmental properties to meet these challenges and ensure long economic service times. This 2‐part talk will discuss current research showing how corrosion science is used to support clean energy, by addressing challenges with current nuclear reactors, and by enabling next‐generation molten salt systems for heat transfer and thermal energy storage in advanced nuclear and renewable energy systems.

    Nuclear power is our world’s most abundant source of clean, scalable base-load energy, but high‐profile accidents have eroded public confidence. It may be surprising to learn the Fukushima accident in 2011 was a corrosion problem, involving runaway oxidation of a zirconium alloy used as a core structural material. Since the accident, the nuclear industry together with the Department of Energy has sought to replace zirconium‐based fuel cladding with a material that will better withstand a beyond‐design‐basis accident. Part 1 of this talk will present results and analysis of experiments investigating corrosion of FeCrAl alloys and SiC/SiC composite materials for use as a new generation of accident‐tolerant fuel cladding.

    The second part of the talk will describe a program investigating materials for use with molten salts as a coolant and storage medium in concentrated solar power systems, thermal batteries, and advanced nuclear reactors. Among the challenges with using molten salts is the aggressive environment imposed upon salt‐facing structural components. Part 2 of this talk will discuss efforts aimed at fundamentally understanding degradation of alloys in molten salts. Results of a combined experimental and computational strategy in which traditional experimentation is coupled with x‐ray spectroscopy and thermodynamic modeling are used to identify relevant reactions and to develop a thermodynamic description of the alloy‐salt system. Flowing experiments are used to more accurately recreate the in‐service environment and qualify materials for service in molten salt systems.

    Biography: Dr. Stephen Raiman is an R&D Associate in the Corrosion Science and Technology Group in the Materials Science and Technology Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and incoming assistant professor of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M University. He is interested in understanding corrosion and degradation of materials in extreme environments. His recent work has focused on understanding how materials interact with molten salts for use in molten salt reactors and concentrated solar power, and on evaluating materials for accident tolerant fuel cladding in light water reactors. Prior to joining ORNL, he graduated from The University of Michigan in 2016 with a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences with a concentration in materials. He also holds a B.S. in Physics from the University at Buffalo.

  • September 7 
    Xiaoqin (Elaine) Li, University of Texas, Austin

    Twist Angle Control of Moiré Superlattice Properties
    Abstract: In van der Waals bilayers, the strict requirement of lattice matching at the interface is lifted. The periodic changes in atomic alignment lead to the formation of an in‐plane superlattice, known as the moiré superlattice. The twist angle controls the size of the moiré supercells and acts as a unique knob to control the material properties. While many electronic phases (e.g.superconductivity and orbital magnetism) have been discovered at low temperatures, other aspects of such moiré crystals remain to be explored. In this talk, I will discuss how atomic reconstructions of the moiré pattern change with the twist angle and how one can probe it using simple Raman spectroscopy. Other excited state properties such as exciton lifetime and diffusion are also drastically modified with a subtle change in the twist angle.

    Biography: Xiaoqin Elaine Li received her B.S degree from Beijing Normal University in 1997 and Ph.D. in physics in 2003 from the University of Michigan. She was a postdoc fellow at JILA, Colorado from 2003‐2006. She started as an assistant professor at UT‐Austin in 2007 and was promoted to full professor in 2018. Prof. Li has received several awards including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in the U. S. and a Sloan Fellowship. She was a Humboldt research fellow at the Technical University of Berlin between 2013‐2015. She is a fellow of the American Physics Society. During the pandemic, she started a guided summer reading program on the popular science book “Physics for Future Presidents” for high school students.

  • September 14 
    Robert KellyUniversity of Virginia

    Computational and Experimental Studies of Localized Corrosion on Engineering Structures
    Abstract: Localized corrosion is one of the most insidious forms of corrosion damage because it is very difficult to detect or monitor, challenging to model, and the origin of most cracks in structures exposed to natural environments. In this talk, several approaches to modeling of localized corrosion will be presented and the critical role of experiments in both providing input information for the models and validation of the predictions will be highlighted. Limitations of current modeling approaches and future prospects will also be discussed. Applications to be discussed include storage of high‐level nuclear waste and galvanically induced localized corrosion in complex aircraft structures.

    Biography: Robert G. Kelly is the AT&T Professor of Engineering at the University of Virginia. After completing his Ph.D. studies at Johns Hopkins University, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Manchester as a Fulbright Scholar and as an NSF/NATO Post‐doctoral Fellow. He joined the faculty of the University of Virginia in 1990. His present work includes studies of the conditions inside localized corrosion sites in various alloy systems, corrosion in aging aircraft, and multi‐scale modeling of corrosion processes. He is a Fellow of both the Electrochemical Society and NACE International. He has won awards for research, teaching, and service. He has rendered technical assistance to numerous industries, the NRC and DOE concerning the Yucca Mountain Project, the USAF Aging Aircraft Program, the NASA Safety and Engineering Center, and the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial design team.

  • September 21
    Amy Peterson, University of Massachusetts Lowell

    Thermal Modeling and Informatics of Material Extrusion Additive Manufacturing
    Abstract: Additive manufacturing (AM) has drawn interest from fields ranging from aerospace to regenerative medicine to metamaterials. Using AM, specimens with complex internal geometries and structures can be manufactured. Despite the advantages and interest, broader use of AM is limited by poor mechanical properties, lack of reliability, and lack of expertise. In this presentation, I will describe a finite element model we developed to simulate heat transfer and generate temperature profiles during material extrusion AM (MatEx). At benchtop (FFF) scales, short times over Tg were reported, indicating limited opportunity for interlayer diffusion. Additionally, maxima in cooling rates were observed at print speeds of 10 30 mm/s, which may have implications for residual stress evolution. At larger (BAAM) scales, much longer times above Tg were observed, which can lead to continued flow of extruded material and warping of the printed structure. The effects of material and processing parameters were investigated at both scales, and different trends were observed at the small and large scales. We have also applied a materials informatics approach to MatEx. Principal component analysis (PCA) of those results indicate that differences in the printer design lead to performance‐critical differences in printed material structure and properties. Combined, these results indicate that designing MatEx materials and processes in concert will lead to improved structure performance, and give preliminary guidance in development of design rules.

    Biography: Amy Peterson is an Associate Professor of Plastics Engineering at University of Massachusetts Lowell with expertise in interfacial phenomena and additive manufacturing (AM). Her research group studies processing‐structureproperty relationships in polymers and polymer composites, with a focus on interfacial phenomena in multilayered systems. She received her PhD in 2011 from Drexel University. She was an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces 2011‐2013 and Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute 2013‐2018. Ongoing projects include experimental and computational investigation of semi‐crystalline polymers for material extrusion‐based, tailoring of interfacial interactions to facilitate flow and AM of highly loaded composites, real‐time control of and property prediction for MatEx, and coatings for cell culture surfaces capable of controlled release for cell manufacturing.
  • October 5
    Russell Hemley, University of Illinois Chicago

    New Findings in Materials in Extreme Environments
    Abstract: Extreme conditions, and in particular extreme pressures and temperatures, produce profound effects on condensed matter, leading to the creation of new, potentially useful materials. A growing number of novel materials and phenomena are being documented over a broad range of pressures (e.g., to >300 GPa) at a new generation of both small- and large-scale experimental facilities. In many cases guided by theory, recent results include unusual transitions between insulating and metallic phases, new topological materials and ferroelectrics, novel superhard materials, and transitions in soft matter. Studies of hydrogen and hydrogen-rich systems have uncovered new transformations to metallic states in both solid and fluid phases using new static and dynamic compression methods. These studies include our discovery of a new class of materials – superhydrides – and the observation of room-temperature superconductivity in these systems near 200 GPa. Altogether, the results are establishing a new paradigm – the marriage of ‘materials by design’ and ‘synthesis by extremes’. 

    Biography: Russell J. Hemley holds the position of Distinguished Chair in the Natural Sciences and Professor of Physics and Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received his B.A. from Wesleyan University, and M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, all in chemistry. Previously, he worked at the Carnegie Institution and has held positions at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Cornell University, and George Washington University. He is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Honoris Causa Professor of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and is a recipient of the Balzan Prize and Percy W. Bridgman Award, among other honors. He has authored approximately 650 scientific publications. 
  • October 19
    Peter Hosemann, University of California, Berkeley

    From Materials selection to deployment and degradation. Synergies and differences between different radiation induced defects and their meaning for performance.
    Abstract: Nuclear engineering provides some of the most interesting materials science challenges combining physical, chemical and nuclear properties of matter driving materials selection to multi‐dimensional space facilitating the interest  in  advanced  manufacturing  techniques  facilitating  gradient  materials.  Ionizing  radiation  can  lead  to  multiple degradation mechanism. Displacement damage leads to non‐equilibrium point defect concentrations further  fostering  the  development  of  dislocation  loops,  stacking  fault  tetrahedrons,  voids  and  enhanced  or  dissolving precipitation in alloys.  Transmutation of elements can lead to the build‐up of noble gases like Helium which can form He bubbles. While both lead to changes in microstructure and properties the nature of both defects is rather different. Small scale mechanical testing in combination with ion implantation enables separate effects  testing  and  uncover  the  different  deformation  processes  taking  place  in  an  efficient  fashion.  This  presentation aims to highlight the different phenomena on recent examples relevant to nuclear applications


    Biography: Peter Hosemann is professor in the Department for Nuclear Engineering at the University of California Berkeley and current department chair, head graduate adviser and UC Berkeley’s radiation safety chair. In 2017 Professor Hosemann  was  elected  chair  of  the  Nuclear  Science  User  Facility  user  group  an  international  network  of  institutions providing unique materials characterisation tools. Professor Hosemann received his PhD in Material Science from the Montanuniversität Leoben, Austria in 2008 while he conducted the research on lead bismuth eutectic  corrosion,  ion  beam  irradiations  and  microscale  mechanical  testing  was  carried  out  at  Los  Alamos  National Laboratory. He continued his research at Los Alamos National Laboratory and joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 2010. Professor Hosemann has authored more than 180 per reviewed publications since 2008. In 2014 he won the best reviewer of the journal of nuclear materials award, the ANS literature award and in 2015 he won the TMS early career faculty fellow award and the AIME Robert Lansing Hardy award and was awarded the E. S. Kuh Chair of the college of Engineering at UCB. While being dedicated to his research and teaching he also leads the UC Berkeley Bladesmithing team which won the title of “best example of a traditional blade” for UC Berkeley and is the lead faculty for the CalSol solar car racing team which won the American Solar challenge for Berkeley in 2017.

  • October 26
    Ali Erdemir, Texas A&M University

    Innovative Surface Technologies for Mitigating Mechanical and Environmental Degradations Under Extreme Conditions
    Abstract: Recent advances in surface engineering and coating technologies have paved the way for significant improvements in the efficiency, durability and performance characteristics of all kinds of moving mechanical systems that are subject to harsh operating conditions. In particular, the latest developments in physical and chemical vapor deposition technologies together with electrochemically driven thermal diffusion processes (such as ultra‐fast boriding) can produce nano‐structured and –composite layers that can resist wear and scuffing under extreme tribological conditions. Specifically, we have developed a new class of catalytically active nano‐composite coatings that can extract diamondlike carbon boundary films directly from the lubricating oils in a self‐healing manner and thus provide long‐lasting anti‐friction and ‐wear properties [1]. Ultrafast boriding of ferrous/non‐ferrous metals and their alloys was also realized and shown to hold great promise for severe applications involving friction, wear, corrosion, and oxidation [2]. Boriding of refractory metals (i.e., W, Mo, Nb, Ta, Ti, Zr, and Re, etc.) can yield superhardness and hence extreme resistance to mechanical and environmental degradations. In this talk, an overview of these and other emerging surface technologies will be provided. Based on the results of extensive experimental, surface and structure analytical studies as well computational simulations, fundamental mechanisms that are most responsible for the superior surface properties of such novel coatings and boride layers will also be presented.

    [1] Erdemir, et al., Nature, 536(2016)67.
    [2] Kartal, et.al., Surface and Coatings Technology, 204(2010)3935.

    Biography: Dr. Ali Erdemir is a Professor and Halliburton Chair in Engineering in the J. Mike Walker ’66 Mechanical Engineering Department of Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. Formerly, he was an Argonne Distinguished Fellow and a Senior Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory. In recognition of his research accomplishments, Dr. Erdemir has received numerous coveted awards (including STLE’s International Award, ASME’s Mayo D. Hersey Award, the University of Chicago’s Medal of Distinguished Performance, six R&D 100 Awards, two Al Sonntag Awards and an Edmond E. Bisson Award from STLE) and such honors as being elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the presidency of the International Tribology Council and STLE. He is also a Fellow of AAAS, ASME, STLE, AVS, and ASM‐International. He has authored/co‐authored more than 300 research articles and 18 book/handbook chapters, co‐edited four books, presented more than 180 invited/keynote/plenary talks, and holds 29 U.S. patents. His current research focuses on bridging scientific principles with engineering innovations towards the development of novel materials, coatings, and lubricants for a broad range of cross‐cutting applications in manufacturing, transportation and other energy conversion and utilization systems.
  • November 2
    Phanourios Tamamis, Texas A&M University

    Using computational methods to design functional peptide materials and clay‐based sorbents
    Abstract: Computational methods, including simulations, structural and free energy calculations, are increasingly becoming powerful tools in the design of novel materials. My presentation will present two topics of our lab's research, the design of functional peptide materials and clay‐based sorbents. In the first part, I will present our recent progress on using rational and optimization‐based approaches developed by my lab to design functional peptide materials with several applications including tissue‐engineering, drug delivery and gene transfer. The talk will highlight our latest efforts on using a combination of computational and experimental methods by my lab and Dr. Gazit’s lab (Tel Aviv University), respectively, to design a novel generation of cancer drug nanocarriers with enhanced fluorescence properties, and with the ability to self‐encapsulate a particular cancer drug, with in situ monitoring properties. In the second part, I will present our recent progress on using simulations to understand and design clay‐based materials as sorbents of toxic chemical compounds with environmental applications. The talk will highlight our latest efforts on using a combination of computational and experimental methods by my lab and Dr. Phillips’ lab (College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas, respectively, to investigate and design advanced clay‐based materials as sorbents for bisphenols BPA and BPS.

    Biography: Phanourios Tamamis received his B.S. degree in 2006 and Ph.D. degree in 2010 from the Physics Department of the University of Cyprus, and was recognized as the top Cypriot undergraduate researcher in 2006. During his undergraduate, graduate and early‐postdoctoral studies, he was supervised by Professor Georgios Archontis. After finishing his Ph.D. studies, from 2010 until 2012, Phanourios Tamamis served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Cyprus, and as a Fulbright scholar at the University of California at Riverside and Princeton University, under the cosupervision of Professors Dimitrios Morikis and Christodoulos A. Floudas. In 2013, he joined the lab of Professor Christodoulos A. Floudas at the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department of Princeton University as a Postdoctoral Research Associate. In 2015, he joined the Chemical Engineering Department of Texas A&M University as an Assistant Professor. Tamamis’ lab addresses key problems at the intersection of computational biophysics, computational biomolecular engineering and self‐assembly. He received awards for his teaching and research, including the Kaneka Junior Faculty Award in 2018 for his research in biological polymers. His research is funded by the NIH and NSF.
  • November 9
    Li Shi, University of Texas, Austin

    Atomic Scale Phonon Band Engineering of Semiconductors

    Abstract: As the energy quanta of lattice vibration, phonons control the transport of heat, charge, and spin in functional materials and devices. Recent progress in first principles theoretical computation has motivated experimental manipulation of the atomic basis of the lattice structure to engineer the phonon bands and transport properties of semiconductors. In boron arsenide (BAs) with a heavy arsenic atom and a light boron atom in the basis of the cubic  lattice  structure,  a  large  gap  between  the  acoustic  and  optical  polarizations  suppresses  three‐phonon  scattering  and  makes  BAs  the  first  known  semiconductor  with  an  unusual  high  lattice  thermal  conductivity. When the number of atoms in the basis is increased to the order of 100 in higher manganese silicide (HMS) with an incommensurate chimney ladder structure, the acoustic phonons are scattered strongly by numerous optical modes  including  an  unusually  low‐frequency  twisting  polarization.  Consequently,  bulk  HMS  single  crystals  exhibit a similarly low lattice thermal conductivity as silicon germanium (SiGe) alloy nanowires, where high‐frequency and low‐frequency modes are scattered by lattice and surface disorders. As such, BAs is emerging as a next‐generation electronic material, whereas HMS is being explored actively for solid‐state thermoelectric power generation. 

    Biography: Li Shi is the Ernest Cockrell Sr. Chair in Engineering #2 at the Cockrell School of Engineering of the University of Texas (UT) at Austin. He received his bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees from Tsinghua University, Arizona State University, and University of California at Berkeley, respectively. He explored industrial research in an electrical power research institute in China before pursuing graduate studies in the US. He was an IBM Research Staff Member for a year before joining UT as an assistant professor in 2002, followed by appointments to the BF Goodrich Endowed Professorship in Materials Engineering and Temple Foundation Endowed Professorship. He has served as the Editor in Chief for Nanoscale and Microscale Thermophysical Engineering since 2013. His scholarly  contributions  and  professional  services  have  been  recognized  by  several  awards,  including  the  O’Donnell Award in Engineering from the Academy of Medicine, Engineering, and Science of Texas, and the Heat Transfer Memorial Award in Science from the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME). He is an elected fellow of ASME and American Physical Society (APS). 
  • November 23
    Dr. Edgar Lara-CurzioOak Ridge National Laboratory

    Recovering Rare-Earth Elements and Critical Minerals from Coal and using Coal as a Precursor for Value-Added Products

    Abstract: In this presentation opportunities for using coal as a precursor for value-added products will be reviewed. Research needs and priority research directions for enabling the development of energy-efficient and cost-effective processes for recovering critical minerals, including rare-earth elements from coal, as well as refining coal into precursors for manufacturing value-added products.  Examples of technologies being developed include activated carbon, carbon fibers, electrodes for energy storage devices, electronic devices, materials for thermal management, and construction materials will also be identified. The value of public-private partnerships for achieving these goals will be discussed, along with opportunities for developing economic and workforce development programs in coal communities.

    Biography: Edgar Lara-Curzio is a Distinguished Scientist and leader of the Mechanical Properties & Mechanics Group at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), where he leads the scientific and technical operations of a group focused on the mechanical behavior of materials and structures for applications in energy and national security.  Lara-Curzio also co-directs ORNL’s Fossil Energy Program and served as Director of ORNL’s High Temperature Materials Laboratory.

    He received a B.Sc. degree in Engineering Physics from the Metropolitan University (Mexico City) and a Ph.D. degree in Materials Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  His areas of expertise include the development and characterization of materials for power generation and for the conversion, transmission, utilization and storage of energy.

    Lara-Curzio has authored or co-authored more than 250 articles in peer-reviewed journals or conference proceedings, four book chapters, six U.S. Patents and co-edited 16 books.  Lara-Curzio is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society, Fellow of ASTM, and a member of Alpha Sigma Mu the International Metallurgical Honorary Society. In 2019 he was named “Distinguished Graduate” of Mexico’s Metropolitan University.