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Locke, Jenifer


Dr. Jenifer Locke is an assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. She came to The Ohio State University in January 2015 and primarily performs research in corrosion and environment-assisted cracking.

Professor Locke is an active scientist and advisor at Ohio State's Fontana Corrosion Center (FCC), where she focuses on the study of corrosion in an effort to protect materials from the harmful effects of environmental degradation.


Ph.D. Materials Science and Engineering, University of Virginia, School of Engineering and Applied Science (2010)

Dissertation topic: Inhibition of Environmental Fatigue Crack Propagation in Age-hardenable Aluminum Alloys under Full Immersion and Atmospheric Exposures


B.A. Physics, Minor Mathematics, Wittenberg University (2004)



Research focus areas

My primary research interests are in environment assisted cracking (EAC) and corrosion of metals and alloys. I have particular interest in advancing laboratory EAC experimental capabilities to enable improved understanding of unique service environments, quantifying and understanding metallurgical and thermo-mechanical processing effects on occluded site electrochemistry in corrosion and EAC of metals, and in inhibition of EAC.  

This research area is important as it dramatically improves the sustainable use of metals utilized in our infrastructure (examples include aluminum used for aircraft, automobiles; and bridges and steels used for ships, automobiles, bridges, and nuclear waste storage).

A major problem when considering the sustainable use of metals is environmental degradation through corrosion processes. In everyday life, corrosion is most easily seen as rust; but in our aging infrastructure, it can go unseen and cause catastrophic failures that severely limit sustainable, long-term use of engineered metal structures.

My research aims to understand the processes that lead to failures promoted by the environment so that one can properly design against it or mitigate the problem.

Professor Locke is active with the Center for Performance and Design of Nuclear Waste Forms and Containers (WastePD) at Ohio State, one of four Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC) established by the Department of Energy.

Technical work experience

Alcoa Technical Center

Staff Scientist 2013-2014
Senior Corrosion Scientist 2011-2013

Jen worked for three years in research and development at Alcoa, where she focused on corrosion and environment-assisted cracking of aerospace and automotive Al alloys. Professor Locke also began work in alloy development and thermo-mechanical processing at Alcoa. 

University of Virginia, Center for Electrochemical Science and Engineering

Post-doctoral Research Associate 2011

At the University of Virginia, Jen performed research on corrosion fatigue of age-hardenable Al alloys. Specifically, she examined the ability of specific microstructures to self-inhibit the deleterious effects of a corrosive environment or the ability of chemical inhibitors to produce passivity to inhibit the deleterious effects of a corrosive environment. 

Alcoa Technical Center

Graduate Intern, 2008

Air Force Research Laboratory

Engineering Aide, 2004-2005

At AFRL, Jen studied glass formability in Al-Ni-RE (rare earth) bulk metallic glasses.


Honors and awards

  • Partner level in the Ohio State University College of Engineering Inclusive Excellence Certificate program
  • Recipient of 2020 NSF CAREER Award
  • Recipient of 2020 Lumley Research Award at The Ohio State University
  • Recipient of the 2019 Mars G Fontana Award for the outstanding teacher of the year in Materials Science and Engineering
  • 2016 ONR (Office of Naval Research) Young Investigator Award recipient
  • Talk at Gordon Research Conference – Aqueous Corrosion at Colby-Sawyer College, July 2010
  • Greater Pittsburgh Area Dignity and Respect Champion for April 2013
  • Alcoa Recruiting Lead for corporate wide EAGLE (Employees at Alcoa for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Equality) Lead Team and Co-Lead ATC’s EAGLE.
  • Special Committee on the Nomination of a President – University of Virginia
  • Award for Best Student Oral Presenter - International Conference on Fatigue Damage of Structural Materials VIII Sept. 2010
  • Award for Excellence in Scholarship in Science and Engineering – University of Virginia 2009
  • Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC) Graduate Research Fellow
  • University of Virginia Departmental (MSE) Fellowship

Climate and Inclusivity

Professor Locke is a member of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering's Climate and Inclusivity committee. As such, she provides non-academic support and guidance to students in the materials science and engineering major to help them develop into career-ready engineers and responsible citizens.

While working at Alcoa, she won a greater Pittsburgh area Dignity and Respect Award for her role in starting and leading a LGBTQA employee resource group at the R&D center.

In the news

2020 College honors distinguished teaching, innovation and service for 23rd annual awards

2016 Joining efforts to advance vehicle sustainability