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Materials & Characterization

Hard Metals

Design it, build it, use it: Discover Origami and Engineering

The Electroactive Materials Characterization group research focuses on processing-microstructure-property relationships in smart materials with the goal of developing new materials with unique combinations of mechanical, electrical, and coupled properties for uses that range from advanced electronic devices and autonomous system concepts to the aerospace, automotive, medical and consumer industries.

Faculty Experts: 
Chen, Long-Qing
Frecker, Mary
Liu, Zi-Kui
Messing, Gary
Palmer, Todd
Simpson, Timothy
Zhang, Qiming
Ounaies, Zoubeida

Renewable Energy

At BEST, Batteries Are Not Just a Black Box

For decades, batteries have been just another commodity. One dies and we drop a new one in, whether it’s to power a cell phone or start an automobile.

Even research scientists treat batteries as a kind of black box, says Chao-Yang Wang, Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State. “They look at the ratings and plug them in, but they never open them up. They don’t know whether an application is limited by the battery’s anode, cathode, or something else.”

All that may be about to change.


A Splash of Alcohol Eases the Friction When Tiny Gears Meet

MEMS are micro machines that typically range in size from as small as a dust particle up to the size of a grain of rice (20 microns to a millimeter). MEMS are embedded in cell phones, automotive air bags, digital cameras, microphones, and ink jet printers, to name only a few of their multibillion dollar applications. More recently, MEMS accelerometers that measure the motion in handheld devices are the enabling technology in the popular Nintendo Wii gaming system.

Glass, Surfaces, and Interfaces

Glass research was the bailiwick of Professor Woldemar Weyl -- one of the founders of the modern science of glass. He was among the first Penn State faculty to bring about a close collaboration between the University and private industry to support basic and applied research. In 1960, Weyl was named one of the first two faculty to receive an Evan Pugh Professorship -- of Glass Technology -- for his many contributions as a researcher.

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