MSE Seminar: “Radiation Resistance and Mechanical Response of Materials in Extreme Environments”

Date(s) - 01/23/2024
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Rhines Hall 125



The development of energy-efficient and safe technologies for energy production, transportation, and defense poses ever-increasing demands on materials stability in harsh environments. Ceramics are attractive in this regard because of their high-temperature stability, good corrosion and radiation resistance, and excellent mechanical strength.

This talk will be focused on fundamental issues related to the stability of ceramics and intermetallics in extreme environments. First, I will discuss the role interfaces play in response to radiation and corrosion. I will demonstrate that in ceramics, the effects of interfaces are closely coupled to the complex defect energy landscape, leading to surprising new phenomena. For example, we discovered that even though ceramics form line compounds, radiation causes the segregation of constituent elements to grain boundaries without precipitating new phases, which impacts corrosion resistance.

Secondly, I will discuss the response of materials to mechanical stresses and high-velocity impact and our recent discovery of new mechanisms of ductility in nominally brittle materials. We found that in the absence of dislocation plasticity, stress-induced amorphous shear bands can increase ductility and toughness. We identified criteria for when such shear bands enable plasticity instead of being pre-cursors to fracture. These mechanisms open the possibility for the design of materials that are both strong and ductile.


Izabela Szlufarska, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Materials Science & Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Izabela Szlufarska is a Harvey D. Spangler Professor of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the chair of the Materials Science & Engineering Department. Szlufarska develops and employs theoretical and computational tools to address problems in the areas that span the mechanical behavior of materials, interfacial chemistry, and materials design for extreme environments (corrosion, high temperature, radiation). Szlufarska published ~140 peer-reviewed papers. Among her awards are the NSF CAREER award, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award, the H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellowship, the Vilas Associate Professorship, and the TMS Brimacombe Medalist award. She was also placed on the National Academy of Engineering’s list of Frontiers of Engineering. Prof. Szlufarska has served in a number of leadership and advisory roles, including service as a chair of the Materials Research Society meeting (2016), panel lead for the Department of Energy workshop on basic research needs for future nuclear energy, and the Editor-in-Chief for the journal “Current Opinion in Solid State and Materials Science.”