A new glass for the future: Taking LionGlass out of the lab and into the market
The science of inventing and commercializing a glass with 10x the strength and half the carbon footprint of standard glass
One of the few things scientists know for certain about glass is that its atomic structure is chaos. Neither liquid nor solid, glass is its own phase — a material somewhere between these two states of matter — that owes its existence to the way it is formed.
Glass is made by heating a mixture of materials to molten temperatures and then quickly cooling the scorching hot liquid, a process called “quenching.” Such a rapid transition doesn’t give the atoms enough time or energy to arrange themselves into the highly organized lattice-like structures of solid matter. Instead, they remain disordered, like molecules in a flowing liquid, but frozen in place, rigid like a solid.
“In many ways, glass is a state of matter all its own,” said John Mauro, Dorothy Pate Enright Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State. “Any liquid can form a glass if it’s cooled rapidly enough. You can make glass out of water. In fact, physicists believe that most of the water in the universe is probably in glassy form. In movies, they use glass made from sugars for breakable windows, and there are dozens of glasses made from metallic alloys. Anything that can be liquefied can be brought into the glassy state if quenched fast enough to avoid crystallization.” Read more
MatSE welcomed Nairiti Sinha as a new assistant professor to the department this fall.
“I am delighted to have Dr. Nairiti Sinha join our department,” said Susan Sinnott, head of materials science and engineering. "Her passion for polymer research and teaching is sure to be a valuable addition to our department, benefiting both our research endeavors and our students." Read more
Penn State World Campus students learn about research in University Park visit
In response to increased industry demand for experts in the growing field of additive manufacturing, Penn State began offering residential and online master’s degrees in additive manufacturing and design in 2017. As part of the curriculum, Penn State World Campus students in the program journeyed to University Park campus to participate in a variety of activities that highlighted the depth and breadth of additive manufacturing research at Penn State.
Students in the online Master of Engineering Additive Manufacturing and Design (AMD) program who took the Metal Additive Manufacturing Lab core course in the spring 2023 semester visited campus this summer and participated in lab demonstrations and tours designed to supplement the material covered in the course. They also engaged in a team design challenge. The visiting students traveled from across the country, representing eight states and nine companies. Read more
From the Department Head
In these challenging times, when the world looks to science and technology for solutions, let us recognize and celebrate the vital role of graduate education in materials science and engineering. As a professor and department head of Materials Science and Engineering (MatSE) at Penn State, I am deeply passionate about the importance of graduate education in our field. Read more
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging
MatSE names Allison Beese as associate head for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging
Allison Beese, professor of materials science and engineering and mechanical engineering, was appointed associate head for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MatSE). She is also the director of the Additive Manufacturing and Design graduate program and co-director of Penn State’s Additive Manufacturing Center, the Center for Innovative Materials Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D).
“It is an honor to be named the associate head for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging,” said Beese. “I look forward to strengthening the existing groundwork within MatSE, fostering an inclusive atmosphere that acknowledges and cherishes the unique contributions each one of us brings to our classrooms, laboratories, and campus.”Read more
MatSE establishes 115th Anniversary Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fund
Through events, education and actions, MatSE is committed to creating an environment that promotes diversity in the field so that the next generation of experts tasked with creating and improving materials incorporates all perspectives.
To help support its commitment to diversity, the department—in conjunction with its anniversary—established the 115th Anniversary Materials Science and Engineering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fund. The fund will be used to support engagement opportunities, inclusive social events, and visits from guest speakers to help enhance diversity education and create a sense of belonging. Read more
Cell protector: Bio-inspired solar devices boost stability, efficiency
Borrowing from cell membranes, the protective barriers around cells in all living organisms, Penn State scientists have developed a new, cost-effective method for creating bio-inspired solar devices that could improve the performance of next-generation solar technology.
The researchers combined perovskite solar cell material — named for their unique crystalline structure that excels at absorbing visible light — with a synthesized version of natural lipid biomolecules to help protect against moisture-induced degradation. Read more
Zentropy and the art of creating new ferroelectric materials
Systems in the Universe trend toward disorder, with only applied energy keeping the chaos at bay. The concept is called entropy, and examples can be found everywhere: ice melting, campfire burning, water boiling. Zentropy theory, however, adds another level to the mix.
A team led by Zi-Kui Liu, the Dorothy Pate Enright Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State, developed the theory. The “Z” in zentropy stands for the German word Zustandssumm, meaning ‘‘sum over states” of entropy. Read more
New ferroelectric material could give robots muscles
A new type of ferroelectric polymer that is exceptionally good at converting electrical energy into mechanical strain holds promise as a high-performance motion controller or “actuator” with great potential for applications in medical devices, advanced robotics, and precision positioning systems, according to a team of international researchers led by Penn State.
Mechanical strain, how a material changes shape when force is applied, is an important property for an actuator, which is any material that will change or deform when an external force such as electrical energy is applied. Read more
Solution found to problem bedeviling semiconductor researchers
Researchers from the National Science Foundation-sponsored Two-Dimensional Crystal Consortium (2DCC-MIP) - Materials Innovation Platform may have come up with a solution for a bottleneck that has confounded researchers trying to develop high-quality 2D semiconductors for next generation electronics such as Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence.
Tungsten diselenide is a semiconductor that holds promise as a material for nanosheet transistors, which are electronic devices that use atomically-thin layers of material to control and manipulate electrical current flow. Read more
Materials science and engineering student awarded Ellwood Metallurgy Scholarship
Benjamin O’Donnell, a Penn State undergraduate student studying materials science and engineering in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, received the 2023 Ellwood Metallurgy Scholarship, which also included a paid summer internship with the company.
“Winning this scholarship is one of my proudest achievements at Penn State,” said O’Donnell, now a fourth-year student. Read more
Congratulations to Julianne Chen for placing third in the MS&T Student Speaking Competition!
The Student Speaking Contest is a national competition held at the annual MS&T conference and sponsored by Material Advantage. The contest encourages undergraduate students to present technical papers and to improve their skills in the techniques of presentation.
Beril Tonyali, MatSE Ph.D. candidate, is one of six Penn State graduate students to receive a prestigious National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship, sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Army Research Office, and the Office of Naval Research, under the direction of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.
The NDSEG fellowship program, established in 1989, provides fellows with the opportunity to pursue a doctoral degree in science and engineering disciplines of military importance, according to the fellowship’s website. Read more
Jones and Sly receive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships
Haley Jones and Jessica Sly, both MatSE Ph.D. candidates, received National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) for the 2023-24 academic year.
The NSF program supports outstanding graduate students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines; those in STEM education and learning research; and those in social and behavioral sciences, who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees. Read more
Sixth annual poster session for Accelerated M.S. students
The Accelerated Masters of Science in Materials Science and Engineering is a one-year rigorous, interdisciplinary program requiring thirty credits for completion and culminating in a residential research project, poster presentation, and a scholarly paper.
Each year at the end of the summer semester, MatSE holds the annual poster session for MatSE accelerated master’s students. The event fulfills the degree requirement for a poster presentation. Read more
Javier Mena-Garcia won first place in the MS&T 2023 Graduate Student Poster Contest
The Graduate Student Poster Contest is a national competition held at the annual MS&T conference and sponsored by Material Advantage. The contest recognizes superior research performed during graduate study.
Nancy Huang received a Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium Graduate Research Fellowship
Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium Graduate Research Fellowships annually provides a one-year fellowship of $5,000 to outstanding Penn State students pursuing graduate study leading to master's or doctoral degrees in STEM fields that promote the understanding, assessment and utilization of space and contribute to NASA's Mission Directorates. In keeping with the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program goals, scholars agree to participate in mentoring or educational outreach activities for a minimum of 10 hours per semester.
Elisabeth Lloyd won first place in the “Millennium Café Pitch Competition” sponsored by PPG
The 9th Annual Millennium Café Elevator Pitch Competition, sponsored by PPG Industries, is an opportunity for graduate students to pitch their research ideas in two minutes or less.
Lloyd's winning pitch was titled, "Supersoft, Porous Hydrogels with Structure and Properties Reminiscent of Natural Tissue." Watch video
Douglas Wolfe named AVP for Research, director of strategic initiatives
Douglas E. Wolfe has been named the new associate vice president for Research, director of strategic initiatives (AVPR-SI) within the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research (OSVPR) at Penn State.
Wolfe succeeds Phil Savage, who is returning to his role as head of the Department of Chemical Engineering after the last year as interim in this role.
“We would like to sincerely thank Phil for his excellence as interim associate vice president for Research, director of strategic initiatives. Phil’s vision in this role has brought many new opportunities to our research enterprise,” said Andrew Read, interim senior vice president for research at Penn State. Read more
Long-Qing Chen elected as 2023 member of the Academia Europaea
Long-Qing Chen, Hamer Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, has been elected as a foreign member of the Academia Europaea for his “pioneering contributions to the development and applications of phase-field method to understanding and predicting materials microstructure and property evolution.”
Founded in 1988, the Academia Europaea is the pan-European Academy of Sciences, Humanities and Letters. It is dedicated to the advancement and propagation of excellence in scholarship in the humanities; law; the economic, social, and political sciences; mathematics; medicine, and all branches of the natural and technological sciences. Read more
Susan Sinnott to deliver McMahon Lecture at Alfred University
Susan Sinnott, professor and head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State, will deliver the John F. McMahon Memorial Lecture at Alfred University at 11:20 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, in Holmes Auditorium, Harder Hall. Sinnott, who also holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Chemistry at Penn State, will be speaking on “Atomistic Simulations to Advance Surface Science.”
The John F. McMahon Memorial Lecture Award is presented annually to an outstanding ceramic engineer. The award was created by Alfred University alumni in honor of the late John F. McMahon, an alumnus, a professor and finally, dean of what is now the Inamori School of Engineering. Read more
John Mauro elected to World Academy of Ceramics
One of the main objectives of the World Academy of Ceramics is to reward and honor individuals who have made an international noteworthy contribution to the advancement of ceramics, culture, science and technology. Mauro was admitted as a professional member (Academician).
Venkatraman Gopalan elected Fellow of the American Ceramic Society
American Ceramic Society Fellows are members who have distinguished themselves through outstanding contributions to the ceramic arts or sciences, broad and productive scholarship in ceramic science and technology, conspicuous achievement in ceramic industry, or by outstanding service to the society.
Materials science alumna awarded for advancing science, students
Tabbetha Dobbins, professor, dean of graduate studies and former vice president for research at Rowan University, is the recipient of the 2023 College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) Charles L. Hosler Alumni Scholar Medal for her efforts to elevate scientists and students.
The award, named for Charles L. Hosler, dean emeritus of the college and Penn State Distinguished Alumnus, honors alumni who have made outstanding contributions to the development of science through research, teaching or administrative leadership. Read more
Alumna recognized for her passion for providing STEM outreach
Megan Penrod received the Faraday Institution Community Awards STEM Outreach Award for going above and beyond in taking a leading role in providing STEM outreach activities focusing on electricity and energy storage to young people.
Penrod received her bachelor of science degree in materials science and engineering in 2021 from Penn State. Since then, she has embarked on a career journey that has led to her current role as research assistant at the University of Cambridge. She is passionate about communicating science and runs inspiring STEM outreach workshops in schools to encourage the next generation of battery scientists. Read more
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