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Carnegie Mellon Materials Research Science & Engineering Center

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MRSEC: Carnegie Mellon University Materials Research Science and Engineering Center  (Carnegie-Mellon University)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The Carnegie Mellon Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) supports interdisciplinary materials research and education of the highest quality while addressing fundamental problems in science and engineering that are important to society.

Most metallic and ceramic materials used in aircraft, automobiles, and devices such as computers are polycrystalline. In other words, they are made up of many microscopic crystals held together by grain boundaries. It is widely recognized that the types of grain boundaries in a material and the manner in which they are connected affect a wide range of properties and, ultimately, a material's performance and lifetime. In most cases, however, our ability to predict and control the materials properties that are governed by the grain boundaries is severely limited by our incomplete knowledge of the network structure and the behavior of individual interfaces.

The Center's goals are to understand the origins of the quantifiable characteristics of polycrystals that arise during processing, to develop strategies for influencing these characteristics in predictable ways, and to define microstructural metrics that can be directly related to macroscopic properties and performance. The Center's tools and findings will have applications in a range of practical materials processing applications and, to insure rapid implementation, we work collaboratively with government, industry, and international laboratories.

Education & Outreach

The Center's major educational goals are to increase the participation of underrepresented minorities in materials research, raise awareness of materials science and engineering among high school students through the curricula used in chemistry, physics, and earth science classes, provide meaningful research experiences for undergraduates, and support interdisciplinary graduate education. Students supported by the Center have taken positions in academia, industry, and government.

The Center participates in a number of fruitful outreach activities with other institutions. This outreach takes of the form of collaborations based on shared interests and/or resources, personnel exchanges with other laboratories, and the organization of meetings and work shops.

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  • Image from an NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC).
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