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Mechanical Properties and Mechanics

Vision Statement

Leveraging state-of-the-art infrastructure and world-class technical expertise, the Mechanical Properties and Mechanics Group aims to drive ORNL’s strategic goals by delivering innovative contributions and exceptional value to the development of next-generation materials for critical applications. 

Mission Statement

Coupling state-of-the-art experimental, analytical, and numerical analysis techniques, the mission of the Mechanical Properties and Mechanics Group is to provide world-renowned scientific leadership in understanding the correlation between processing, microstructure, mechanical behavior, and performance, thereby enabling the development of superior materials for energy and defense systems. 

R&D Scope

Our research and development activities encompass a comprehensive exploration of the mechanical behavior and properties of materials and structures. This includes:

Materials Development: Innovating and enhancing materials with superior strength, durability, and performance for applications in power generation, energy transformation, transmission, storage, and national defense. 

Mechanics of Materials: Harnessing the fundamental principles of solid mechanics to engineer stress relief mechanisms that enable significant improvements in material performance at relevant length scales and service conditions.

Advanced Characterization Techniques: Utilizing state-of-the-art experimental, analytical, and numerical methods to characterize the microstructure and mechanical behavior of materials over multiple length scales, strain rates, and controlled environmental conditions. 

Correlation Studies: Establishing robust correlations between processing techniques, microstructural features, mechanical behavior, and the overall performance of materials. 

Fundamental and Application-Oriented Research: Focusing on the development of next-generation materials tailored for strategic and critical applications, ensuring that our innovations meet the evolving needs of ORNL and our sponsors. 

By addressing these core areas, our R&D efforts aim to push the boundaries of material science, contributing to the development of advanced energy systems and supporting ORNL’s mission to achieve scientific and technological excellence. 

Core Competencies

  • Metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, biomaterials (natural and synthetic), and structured devices
  • Tension, compression, shear, torsion, biaxial, and flexure
  • High vacuum, inert gases, and corrosive atmospheres
  • Infrared, resistance, and RF heating
  • Digital Image Correlation
  • Multiaxial, cyclic, and impact loading
  • Creep, fatigue, fracture, spiral notch, dynamic mechanical analysis, resonant ultrasound spectroscopy, and three-point bend
  • Lever-arm, electromechanical, servohydraulic, and electromagnetic testing platforms
  • Instrumented indentation (ambient and controlled atmosphere): in-situ SEM, temperatures to 500 °C, high throughput screening, mechanical property mapping, micro-pillar compression, and micro-beam bending 
  • Rationalization of mechanical behavior with microstructural and chemical characterization using SEM, EBSD, EDX, XPS, TEM, AFM, and XRD
  • Data analytics via clustering techniques
  • Length scales: 10-9 to 100 m
  • Strain rates: 10-10 to 1000 s-1
  • Temperatures: 20 to 2200 °C 
  • Forces: 10-6 to 106 N
  • Pressures: 10-9 to 106 torr


Group Leader, Mechanical Properties and Mechanics
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