Materials Science Research Areas

Student in lab attire looking at science material.

From transparent electronics to fiber composites, Oregon State researchers are leading the development of a new generation of materials.

Electronic materials

Research on electronic materials is widespread throughout the Materials Science program. In Mechanical Engineering, electroceramic materials such as ferroelectrics, piezoelectrics and dielectrics are studied for their microstructure-processing-property relationships. In Electrical Engineering, Chemistry and Physics, there is a vibrant research thrust in transparent electronics.

Composite materials - Fiber composites

In Wood Science and Engineering a combination of fundamental and applied work is undertaken on the refinement of conventional wood-based composites and on the development of new materials based on natural and man-made fibers. Research includes materials with oriented fibers, mathematical simulation of the formation processes, structure-property relationships, adhesives, engineered composites.

Magnetic materials and superconductivity

Synthesis and characterization of superconductors is carried out in Chemistry, Physics, and Mechanical Engineering. Both traditional niobium-based alloys and intermetallics and high Tc oxide materials are of interest. Goals are the discovery of improved compositions for oxide superconductors, understanding of flux pinning, and the development of thin-film superconducting devices.

Structural Materials

Research activities in the area of structural materials are found in the Colleges of Engineering and Forestry. In the Mechanical Engineering Department research is focused on understanding and predicting the deformation, fracture, and fatigue behavior of metals, intermetallics, metallic glasses, metal foams, ceramics, and composites, while research on polymer materials is conducted in the Chemical Engineering Department. In Wood Science and Engineering research efforts are focused on wood and wood based composite materials, spanning from composite design and processing to characterizing and modeling the mechanical response.

Biomaterials and Biological Materials

In the Department of Mechanical Engineering current research areas of interest include characterizing the fracture and fatigue behavior of composite materials for dental filling applications and developing novel new dental nanocomposites that achieve a balance of high aesthetic quality and mechanical performance. Additional ME research efforts include furthering the understanding of the mechanical behavior of hard biological tissues, including cortical and trabecular bone.

Optical materials

Thin film luminescence and the design and fabrication of diode lasers and photodetectors are areas of emphasis in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Research on lasers and nonlinear optical phenomena, found in both Chemistry and Physics, involves synthesis of new optical materials and the use of lasers and nonlinear spectroscopy as tools for investigating materials from isolated atoms to cluster to surfaces.

Other areas

Transportation materials (Civil Engineering). Nuclear materials (Nuclear Engineering). Polymers (Chemistry and Forest Products). Surface science (Chemistry and Physics). Analysis of materials (Chemistry).