Department of Materials Science and Engineering

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Research Topics

The department's more than 30 faculty members conduct a broad scope of research within the fields of materials science and engineering and welding engineering.

Biomaterials | Computational Modeling | Corrosion | Electronic, Optical & Magnetic Materials | Materials Performance | Materials Processing & Manufacturing | Mechanical Properties | Microstructure & Property Relationships | Superconductors | Welding Engineering


Faculty in this field:

Jianjun Guan, John Lannutti, Heather Powell

Biomaterials is a growing field that focuses on the development of materials to replace or augment human tissues. Tissue engineering is a subset of biomaterials and is rapidly expanding as a treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. Advances in tissue engineering integrate discoveries from biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, and materials science to produce three-dimensional structures with specific properties that enable us to replace or repair damaged, missing or poorly functioning biological components. Within tissue engineering, the process of electrospinning has demonstrated the most promise as a potential manufacturing technique by providing the right balance of speed, cost and biocompatibility for the replacement of nearly all human organs. Tissue engineering research within materials science and engineering at Ohio State includes:

  • “Smart” Polymers—injectable hydrogels that allow for the delivery of growth factors, genes and cells to damaged heart tissues.
  • Biomimetic Elastomers—elastic polymers that mimick mechanical properties of the tissue and key functions of proteins found in the body.
  • Engineered Skin—our research involving electrospun collagen and collagen-synthetic composites has shown improved collagen strength and elasticity while allowing for easy application.
  • Heart “Patches” and Blood Vessels—electrospinning can be used to create novel constructs that provide the right balance of properties and cell “friendly” microenvironments.
  • Microenvironment for Stem Cell Differentiation—engineering tissue construct microenvironment to direct stem cell differentiation.
  • Immunoisolation System—protecting cells with biomaterials to avoid immune attack, which improves the efficacy of cell transplantation.
  • Aligned Fiber Assays—highly aligned electrospun fibers have been developed and are being used in the diagnosis and treatment of many highly metastatic cancers.
  • Femtosecond Laser Machining—femtosecond lasers provide unique patterning capabilities in scaffold development with an accuracy of less than 10 µm.
  • Biomaterials for Islet Delivery—as components of pancreas replacements, we are designing materials to preserve the function of islets after they have been harvested from a donor and to aid in the delivery of these islets within the recipient patient that will promote their long-term health and survival.
  • Tendon Repair—Tissue-engineered constructs are being fabricated that will shorten the recovery time associated with tendon repair and also improve function.
  • Tissue-engineered cardiac patches and blood vessels—Engineering tissue constructs based on stem cell and biomimetic elastomers for cardiac tissue and blood vessel regeneration

Computational Modeling of Materials

Faculty in this field:

Peter Anderson, Sudarsanam Babu, Hamish Fraser, David McComb, Yunzhi Wang, Wolfgang Windl, Ji-Cheng Zhao

Advances in computing power and software offer the potential to design, synthesize, characterize and test materials in a virtual setting. These capabilities enable accelerated development and optimization of new materials across a range of applications. Our long-term investment in this vision has produced one of the leading programs in computational materials science and engineering. This is evidenced by:

  • A large core facility offering comprehensive coverage of advanced techniques
  • Access to world-class computing facilities, including the Ohio Supercomputing Center
  • A rich experimental environment to motivate and challenge computational research
  • Graduate core and elective courses in computational modeling and simulation

Our recent computational materials science and engineering research efforts include:

Materials Synthesis:

  • solidification of metals and alloys (finite difference)
  • phase transformations during non-equilibrium processing (phase field)
  • microstructural evolution in aerospace materials (phase field)
  • microstructure evolution during joining (computational thermodynamics & kinetics)
  • texture evolution during grain growth (phase field)

Characterization and Defect Structure:

  • interaction of dislocations with interfaces (atomistic, Peierls, phase field)
  • dislocation evolution in nanoscale materials (dislocation dynamics)

Biological and Polymeric Materials:

  • deformation of polymer scaffolds for engineered tissue (finite element)

Electronic Materials:

  • process and device modeling (atomistics)
  • texture development in sputtering targets (finite element)

Nuclear Materials:

  • damage creation and annealing in irradiated materials (atomistics, Monte Carlo)
  • effect of damage on mechanical and functional properties (continuum)

Structural Materials:

  • deformation mechanisms in nanocrystalline metals (phase field, finite element)
  • thermo-mechanical response of shape memory alloys (finite element)
  • metal forming and springback (finite element)


Faculty in this field:

Rudolph Buchheit, Gerald Frankel

Corrosion, the environmental degradation of materials, is a major area of research in materials science and engineering. It is estimated that corrosion costs U.S. households, businesses and government agencies more than $400 billion dollars a year. In the MSE department, research conducted at the Fontana Corrosion Center(FCC) focuses on the study of aqueous corrosion in our effort to develop better methods to protect materials from the adverse impacts of the environment. Topics of research at the FCC, which has earned an international reputation for excellence, include:

  • Mechanisms of localized corrosion
  • Fundamental studies of corrosion inhibition
  • Development of environmentally-friendly protective coating systems
  • Studies of coating adhesion and degradation
  • Predictive modeling of corrosion damage accumulation
  • Novel applications of scanning probe microscopy to corrosion
  • Corrosion and cracking of steel and H2S-containing environments

Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials

Faculty in this field:

Suliman Dregia, Patricia Morris, Roberto Myers, Wolfgang Windl

There is much interest in the synthesis, processing and characterization of new magnetic, optical and electronic materials. In cooperation with other departments at Ohio State, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering is taking the lead in developing a variety of these materials. Examples of our programs in this area include:

  • Semiconductor process modeling
  • Development of solid-state gas sensors
  • Superconducting oxide/metal laminates for energy storage and transmission
  • Nano-structured ceramics for applications in electrochemical devices such as sensors and fuel cells
  • Near-net-shape magnetic and dielectric ceramic components for telecommunications
  • Phase stability and interfacial phenomena in thin films
  • Semiconductor quantum structure growth for high-performance photonics
  • Magnetic semiconductors for spin-based electronics
  • Oxide film growth for magnetic applications
  • Chemical vapor deposition of graphene for spintronics and FET applications

Materials Performance

Faculty in this field:

Robert Wagoner

Improving the performance of synthesized materials used in manufacturing, energy, electronics, defense and other industries is one of the primary goals for many of the researchers in Ohio State’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE). From new biomedical composite materials to corrosion protection, MSE research programs are designed so breakthroughs developed in our laboratories can be applied to industrial processes, thereby helping industry save billions of dollars each year. These programs include:

  • Development and characterization of improved biomedical materials
  • Corrosion and protection of Al alloys in aging aircraft applications
  • Development of new gas, thermal and bio-sensors
  • Properties of materials that influence large-scale manufacturing
  • Development of co-continuous ceramic composites
  • Corrosion susceptibility of emerging Al-Li alloys
  • Development of high-temperature coatings for carbon/carbon composites
  • Design of protective coatings for refractory metals
  • Fatigue properties of die cast magnesium alloys

Materials Processing and Manufacturing

Faculty in this field:

Glenn Daehn, Robert Wagoner

Expertise in materials science goes well beyond understanding the properties of materials and how those properties can be applied. Materials scientists must also be adept at developing cost-effective techniques to synthesize, process and fabricate advanced materials that can meet the demands of a rapidly changing commercial marketplace. Researchers in Ohio State’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering are dedicated to this mission through a wide variety of programs that include:

  • Semiconductor process modeling
  • Ceramic-polymer composites using sol-gel techniques
  • Vapor deposition of diamond-like films
  • Development of fiber-optic glasses
  • Vitrification of industrial waste
  • Fabrication and testing of advanced microcomposite materials
  • High-rate forming techniques for net shape forming
  • High-temperature intermetallic materials
  • Sheet metal forming
  • Control of microstructures and porosity in die castings
  • Magnetron sputtering of laminated composites
  • Processing of ceramic composites from metallic precursors
  • Controlled crystal orientations in high Tc ceramic superconductors
  • Modeling of the chemical vapor deposition process

Mechanical Properties and Responses to Deformation

Faculty in this field:

Peter Anderson, Glenn Daehn, Michael Mills, Robert Wagoner

Extensive facilities for studying the mechanical properties of materials are available on site at Ohio State’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering. This includes the capability to test both existing and theoretical materials for qualities such as strength, plasticity and hardness. Current programs range from simulating and modeling a variety of forming operations for metals to studying the wear behavior of composites. These investigations employ experimental techniques ranging from the atomic to industrial forming processes and their use in manufacturing operations. Current research includes:

  • Ultra high rate forming
  • Toughening of ceramics and intermetallics
  • Hardness of multi-layered metallic composites
  • Creep and damage of stainless steels
  • Plasticity theory, simulation and application
  • Sheet metal forming
  • Flow of porous ductile materials
  • Micromechanisms of polycrystalline deformation
  • Dislocationmotion
  • Formation of nanocrystals by mechanical means
  • Brittle failure in layered systems

Microstructure and Property Relationships in Materials

Faculty in this field:

Hamish Fraser, David McComb, Michael Mills, Wolfgang Windl

There is a direct correlation between the microscopic configuration of atoms and molecules and a material's macroscopic, or "visible," properties. Understanding how properties such as transparency or ductility are derived from the atomic structure of a substance enables researchers to manipulate microscopic structures to achieve desired large-scale properties. Faculty and students in Ohio State’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering make use of the department’s state-of-the-art testing and characterization equipment to perform research in the following areas:

  • Computer simulation of microstructures and mathematical modeling
  • Microstructural control for quality castings
  • Structure and energy of interphase interfaces
  • The role of interfaces in composites
  • Structure and properties of grain boundaries
  • Crystallization of glasses
  • The role of microstructural heterogeneity in localized corrosion and environmental fracture
  • Deformation mechanisms in high-temperature intermetallics


Faculty in this field:

Michael Sumption

Much of the research conducted at Ohio State in the area of superconductivity is performed through the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and its Center for Superconducting and Magnetic Materials (CSMM). Work involves both fundamental science and applied science and focuses on superconducting materials and their formation, structure and magnetic and electrical properties. CSMM has research programs in a variety of areas, including MgB2, Nb3Sn, Bi-2212, YBCO, oxypnictides and new superconductors. Phase formation, reactions, diffusion and microstructure also are studied, as well as transport, magnetic and flux pinning properties. Access to experimental facilities includes the Campus Electron Optics Facility and the department’s XRD, DSC, TGA and XRF facilities. In addition, extensive cryogenic, electrical transport, thin film, and magnetic measurement facilities are available for use in CSMM itself. To learn more about the Center for Superconducting and Magnetic Materials, visit

Welding Engineering

Faculty in this field:

Boian Alexandrov, Sudarsanam Babu, Avraham Benatar, Glenn Daehn, Dave Farson, John Lippold, David Phillips, Stanislav Rokhlin

While many people think of welding in terms of a process, it is in practice a complex engineering discipline that involves aspects of materials science & metallurgy, lasers, thermodynamics, design, inspection & quality assurance, robotics, and mechanical, electrical & electronic systems.

Welding engineers must understand the properties behind the joining of materials to ensure that joined structures are safe and a benefit to society. Welding engineers have expertise in materials science, including steels, nonferrous alloys and polymeric materials, and in process technology, including arc welding, lasers, resistance welding, brazing and soldering. They also are experts in robotics, from programming and applications to sensors and controls.