The Department of Materials Science and Engineering welcomed two new faculty members—associate professor Fadi Abdeljawad and assistant professor Glenn Balbus—in the Fall 2023 semester.

Professor Abdeljawad was most recently the Bob and Kaye Stanzione Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Clemson University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. 

He received his MA and PhD with a primary focus on theoretical and computational materials science from Princeton University, where he was the recipient of the Francis Robbins Upton Fellowship; the most prestigious fellowship bestowed to an incoming graduate student. Upon completion of his PhD, he joined the Computational Materials and Data Science Department at Sandia National Laboratories first as a postdoctoral fellow, then as a senior member of the technical staff. Prior to his graduate studies, he worked in the aerospace industry, where he was a materials and stress engineer for Sikorsky Aircraft.

In broad terms, Abdeljawad’s research group employs cutting-edge computational tools to advance our understanding of how a materials internal structure (i.e., the microstructure) forms during processing treatments and how such microstructures evolve under the application of external fields, i.e., thermal, mechanical, etc. His group complements these computational efforts with machine learning techniques, which provide a low-computational-cost approach to solving microstructure-based problems. His current research is funded by several agencies including the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, and Department of Defense.

Current projects include: 

  • Microstructure physics

  • Interfacial dynamics

  • Alloy thermodynamics

  • Pattern formation and evolution

  • Mechanics

  • Algorithms and computational tools: Molecular simulations, Monte Carlo, phase field, and physics-informed machine learning

Professor Balbus was most recently an NRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Air Force Research Laboratory in the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

He earned his BS in mechanical engineering with a concentration in aerospace from Johns Hopkins University and his PhD in materials from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Balbus has received several awards, including the Acta Materialia Student Award, NRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, Austrian Marshall Plan Scholarship, NSF GRFP, and the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

The Balbus group leverages advanced characterization techniques and mechanical testing to investigate the mechanical behavior of advanced alloys. The group uses several experimental techniques, spanning length scales from the atomic (in-situ TEM) to micro- (nanoindentation, micro-mechanical testing) and macro- scale to investigate the role of defects in controlling the properties of materials.

His current research areas include:

  • Mechanical behavior of materials

  • Physical metallurgy

  • In-situ electron microscopy

  • Grain boundaries and interfaces

Fadi Abdeljawad

Fadi Abdeljawad, associate professor, materials science and engineering

Glenn Balbus

Glenn Balbus, assistant professor, materials science and engineering