Unraveling the secrets to tougher materials to support safer, lower cost energy production

Categories: Departmental News

Youxing Chen, assistant professor of mechanical engineering with W.S. Lee College of Engineering and the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center, has earned an NSF CAREER Award for his research proposal, “Atomic-level understanding of stability and transition kinetics of 3-dimensional interfaces under irradiation.” The NSF’s award of $555,785 supports Chen’s study of metallic nanostructure, which will ultimately benefit the energy industry as they work toward safer energy production at lower costs.

Chen explains that scientists are on a fascinating mission to create super-tough materials that withstand extreme conditions like blistering heat, immense pressure, and even radiation. One way to achieve these tougher materials is to use a special ingredient known as “interfaces,” which are like secret agents in nanostructured composites that determine their unique properties.