Early Career Award supports Aeriel Leonard's research of fatigue prediction in complex metallic alloys

Posted: June 10, 2022
photo of Aeriel Murphy-Leonard, Ohio State
Dr. Aeriel Leonard

Aeriel Leonard, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering, has earned a 2022 Early Career Research Program Award from the Department of Energy (DOE) for her research on fatigue crack initiation and growth in material systems.

The Department of Energy created the Early Career Research Program thirteen years ago to support research of scientists who are in the nascent stage of their career. 

Dr. Leonard's research project, "The Role of Strain Localization at Interfaces on Fatigue Crack Initiation in Highly Textured Magnesium Alloy," focuses on the meso- and micro-scale structures of newer metallic alloys whose mechanical behaviors are not entirely understood. Novel material systems offer advantages like superior high-temperature performance and environmental sustainability, but they are not immune to the impact of continuous stress. Development of complex alloy systems with improved fatigue resistance requires a deeper understanding of property mechanics. 

"This project will directly address these challenges using a specifically designed and multimodal systematic study that combines electron microscopy, digital image correlation, and high energy X-ray based techniques to understand the mechanisms of damage accumulation at interfaces in complex microstructures leading to crack initiation and growth," states Leonard. She will be conducting research at Ohio State's Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS), which offers one of the largest concentrations of electron and ion beam analytical microscopy instruments in the world.

Professor Leonard joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in 2021. Her research concentration is: 

  • in-situ synchrotron and electron microscopy techniques for mechanical behavior and microstructural evolution
  • lightweight materials (Al, Mg)
  • alloy adaption for additive manufacturing
  • integrated computational materials engineering 

She earned her doctoral degree in materials science and engineering from the University of Michigan and bachelor's degree in metallurgical and materials engineering from the University of Alabama.

She was awarded the Young Investigator Award by Office of Naval Research in May 2021 to investigate deformation behavior in wire arc additive manufactured Nickel-Aluminum-Bronze.


Libby Culley, Senior Communications Specialist | culley.36@osu.edu