Allison Beese

Allison Beese
  • Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
327 Steidle Building
(814) 865-1523

Bio

Allison Beese received her B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Penn State University. Following her undergraduate studies, she was employed at Lockheed Martin’s Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, where she designed large scale experiments and performed failure analysis of nuclear power plant components. She then entered graduate school at MIT, where she conducted research in Professor Tomasz Wierzbicki’s Impact and Crashworthiness Laboratory, and was awarded a Department of Defense National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. She earned her M.S. and her Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Biomechanics at MIT.

Her doctoral research involved experimental characterization and modeling of the large deformation behavior of anisotropic steel sheets undergoing strain-induced phase transformation. Dr. Beese spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow in Professor Horacio Espinosa’s Micro and Nanomechanics Laboratory at Northwestern University, where she experimentally studied fabrication-structure-property relationships of both carbon based nanomaterials, using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based testing techniques in situ a transmission electron microscope (TEM), and macroscopic materials derived from nanoscale carbon constituents.

Academic Training

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University

Awards and Accomplishments

NSF CAREER Award (2017)
International Outstanding Young Researcher in Freeform and Additive Manufacturing Award (2017)
3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award (2016)
Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Award (2015)
TMS Young Leader Professional Development Award (2015)

Research

Professor Beese’s research interests are in experimental and computational multiscale mechanics of materials ranging from metals to composites. Her research focuses on developing experimental methods to elucidate the connections among the microstructure, macroscopic deformation, damage accumulation, and failure properties of materials. Using experimental data, physically-based large deformation and failure models can be developed to predict component performance.

One current research thrust in her group focuses on additive manufacturing (AM) of metallic components.  In AM of metals, powder or wire feedstock is delivered to a location, melted with a laser or electron beam, and as the material cools and solidifies, it fuses to the material below.  This allows for the fabrication of complex 3-dimensional components in a layer-by-layer fashion.  However, it introduces rapid thermal cycles that result in microstructures that differ drastically from their cast or wrought counterparts.  To make full use of these components in structural applications, their mechanical properties must be characterized and predictable.  Professor Beese’s group focuses on a variety of materials characterization techniques to uncover the relationships among thermal history, microstructure, and mechanical properties within macroscopic components.

Another research thrust focuses on uncovering the mechanisms of ductile failure of metals over a wide range of stress states toward the development of predictive computational fracture models.  Two applications in which these models are critical are in forming operations and crash situations of automobile components.  Advanced High Strength Steels are a particularly attractive class of materials for the automobile industry, as they offer increased strength over traditional steels without sacrificing ductility, lending themselves to application in lightweight vehicle structures. However, to fully exploit their benefits, it is imperative to understand the mechanisms of deformation and failure in order to develop physically-based computational models.  Professor Beese’s group develops experimental techniques to characterize the evolving microstructure of these steels, some of which undergo a phase transformation upon deformation, which provides significant strain hardening at the macroscale.