Research

The scope of research within the Department of Materials Science and Engineering is extensive. From biomaterials to joining science, metallurgy to ceramics, processing to corrosion, the department explores the fascinating field of materials. The Department of Materials Science and Engineering occupies 100,000 square feet of laboratory and office space in Fontana Labs, and the Edison Joining Technology Center. Research expenditures for 2023 were $20M.

The department’s facilities span five campus buildings with over $30 million of advanced equipment used to synthesize materials for biological, corrosive, electronic, energy and structural applications; to characterize their structure, properties and performance; and to join them using welding, frictional and other innovative methods. 

In collaboration with other engineering departments and research units at Ohio State, the high-tech collection of equipment and facilities contribute to the educational and research goals of the university. 

Research area descriptions

Biomaterials

Biomaterials focuses on the development of materials to replace or augment human tissues. Advances in tissue engineering integrate discoveries from biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, and materials science to produce three-dimensional structures that enable us to replace or repair damaged, missing or poorly functioning biological components.

Ceramic Science and Engineering

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering has high profile research programs in ceramics, with an emphasis on functional ceramics (such as sensors, fuel cells, batteries, catalysis, photovoltaics and superconductors), spanning their processing, characterization, and properties. While most of the work carried out in the department focuses on metal oxides, there is also interest in carbides, sulfides, and other advanced ceramic materials within the several areas of research.

Characterization and Microscopy

Extensive facilities for characterizing the properties and structure of materials are available to our students and faculty. This includes the capability to test both existing and theoretical materials for qualities such as strength, plasticity, and hardness as well as explore the microstructure that leads to these properties. 

At the core of this effort is the Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS). CEMAS is the preeminent materials characterization hub for business and academia. The Center brings together multidisciplinary expertise to drive synergy and amplify our characterization capabilities, and thus challenge what is possible in electron microscopy. CEMAS is revolutionizing teaching and learning of advanced characterization techniques for students and researchers.

Computational Materials Science and Engineering

Computational Modeling of Materials researches how advances in computing power and software offer the potential to design, synthesize, choose, characterize and test the expected performance of materials in a virtual setting. These capabilities enable accelerated development and optimization of new materials across a range of applications. This vision has produced one of the leading programs in computational materials science and engineering. 

Corrosion

Corrosion, the environmental degradation of materials, is a major area of research in materials science and engineering. In the MSE department, research conducted at the Fontana Corrosion Center (FCC) focuses on the study of corrosion in our effort to develop better methods to protect materials from the adverse impacts of the environment.

Electronic, Photonic, and Magnetic Materials

With an ever-growing range of important applications, and need for an expanding palette of functionalities and properties, there is substantial interest in the synthesis, processing, and characterization of new electronic, optical/photonic, and magnetic materials. The Department of Materials Science and Engineering, often in cross-disciplinary collaboration, is taking the lead in developing a wide variety of these advanced materials, as well as the novel devices and systems that make use of them.

Energy Materials

Energy is a central aspect of our daily lives, as well as a critical lynch pin in everything from climate change to the economy to national security. Materials science and engineering research plays a truly enabling role in the creation, understanding, and application of new and advanced materials for clean and renewable energy generation, storage, and efficient use.

Mechanical properties of materials

Research into the mechanical properties of materials includes testing 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 scale and their use in manufacturing operations. 

Metallic Materials

The demands of modern methods of transportation, structural systems, and manufacturing all require innovative alloys and processes of production. Our department, in collaboration with others at Ohio State and beyond, is uniquely structured to address these demands.

Our materials modeling capabilities, coupled with the advanced characterization facilities found in the Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS), allows for a drastic reduction in the concept-to-application timeframe for new alloys. The world-renowned Fontana Corrosion Center (FCC) predicts and studies the degradation of materials systems. The Welding Engineering program and the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) help industry meet production challenges found with the application of advanced metals.

Polymers

Polymers research at The Ohio State University spans multiple departments. In the Materials Science and Engineering and Welding Engineering programs the study of polymers involves two broad areas, biomaterials and polymers joining. Our biomaterials faculty research the use of polymers as they interact with living systems. This can involve such applications as polymer mesh as scaffolds for living cells, flexible electronics, drug delivery systems, and more. Polymers joining is part of our Welding Engineering program and explores new and efficient means of bonding different polymers, as well as, how to join to non-polymers.

Processing and manufacturing

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.

Sensor materials and technologies

Working from the successes of the NSF Center for Industrial Sensors and Measurements (CISM), a wide range of on-going activity in sensor materials and devices is carried out in our department spanning ceramic, polymers, and biomaterials sensor technologies.  Research in the field of Sensor Materials and Technologies includes such topics as electrochemical sensors for environmental and high-temperature applications, bulk, nanowires, and heterostructures, chemical sensors for breath and skin, implantable biosensors, devices for artificial olfaction, and much more.

Welding engineering

Welding Engineering is a complex engineering field requiring sound knowledge of a wide variety of engineering disciplines.  Following successful completion of standard engineering prerequisite courses, Welding Engineer students begin their welding engineering coursework. The broad range of topics covered include welding metallurgy of ferrous and non-ferrous alloys, fundamental principles of industrial welding processes including Solid-State, Laser, Resistance, Electron Beam, and Arc Welding, computational modelling, heat flow, residual stress and distortion, fracture mechanics, weld design for various loading conditions, and non-destructive testing methods.  Welding Engineering graduates are well-prepared for solving complex problems and making critical engineering decisions. The highly sought-after graduates take jobs in a wide variety of industry sectors including nuclear, petrochemical, automotive, medical, ship building, aerospace, power generation, and heavy equipment manufacturing.