Robert Maass

 Robert Maass
Robert Maass
Adjunct Assistant Professor

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Research Statement

Our research focuses on the fundamentals of plasticity across all length scales in both crystalline and amorphous materials. Plasticity of defect dominated materials is an old, but exciting problem with many unsolved questions. We are interested in plastic processes at the small scale that arise due to extrinsic or intrinsic confinements. Examples of such are the simple reduction of a materials dimension, or the mediation of global plastic deformation by only a tiny fraction of the material. In both cases unexpected scaling regimes can emerge, which can be exploited to tune a material’s resistance to plastic deformation – a property many of your daily life products are crucially reliant on. We combine traditional materials testing protocols with state-of-the-art nanoscale probing methods, and often design our own in-situ experiments to unravel micro structural processes underlying deformation. Current research topics target spatiotemporal properties of collective deformation mechanisms in bulk metallic glasses and microcrystals, nano-scale structural characterization of deformation structures in amorphous metals, relaxation of glasses, microplasticity in shape-memory and high-entropy alloys, and liquid-metal embrittlement of steels. All of these activities aim at understanding irreversible structural transitions and ways how to control them so that the next generation metallic components in your newest life-style gadget lasts even longer.

Research Honors

  • Finalist Medal of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) (2023)
  • TMS Emerging Leaders Alliance Award (2019)
  • American Society for Nondestructive Testing Award (2019)
  • Masing Memorial Medal by the German Materials Society (2019)
  • NSF Career Award (2017)
  • TMS Young Leaders Professional Development Award (2016)
  • Emmy Noether Award by the German Research Foundation (2014)
  • Feodor von Lynen Award by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2011)
  • Young Scientist Award by the German Materials Society (2009)

Recent Courses Taught

  • MSE 406 - Thermal-Mech Behavior of Matls
  • MSE 441 - Metals Processing
  • MSE 529 - Hard Materials Seminar