Research Scientists

Tracy Berman, Assistant Research Scientist

2026 Gerstacker

(734) 615-5163

My research focus is processing-structure-property relationships in light metals.  In order to accelerate the development of new materials, it is important to be able to predict local mechanical properties and their evolution through processing.  I conduct quantitative microstructure characterization in order to generate microstructural descriptors that can be used for model calibration and validation and I develop analytical models to describe microstructure evolution as a function of processing history. My research can be roughly divided into two areas:  (1) recrystallization, grain growth, and texture evolution in wrought materials and (2) microstructure evolution and solidification segregation in cast alloys.   An understanding of the evolution of mechanical properties (primarily strength, ductility, and formability) can be obtained by applying a mechanistic understanding of how microstructure affects properties in these systems.

David Montiel, Research Investigator

2072 H.H. Dow

(734) 647-4802

The main focus of my research is the development and application of theoretical models to the computational study of the evolution of structures, both at the microscopic and mesoscopic level. In particular, I have employed the Phase Field (PF) and Phase Field Crystal (PFC) models to study phenomena such as formation of precipitate free-zones near grain boundaries, evolution of the metal/electrolyte interface during pitting corrosion, columnar-to-equiaxed transition in Mg alloy welds, and buckling of two-dimensional layers.

Chal Park, Research Investigator

1209 ERB II

My main research interest is in the development of industry-ready Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) capabilities in metals technology. As the ICME staff for the LIFT (Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow) consortium, my primary objective is to develop advanced user subroutines for commercial manufacturing-simulation software that could accurately predict the evolution of local microstructure and local properties during the manufacturing process so that the industry partners can use these tools to optimize design and process at reduced cost and time. These user subroutines are based on pervasive material models that can predict material behavior for a wide range of alloy selections and manufacturing processes. I am mainly interested in crystal plasticity models for texture prediction during thermomechanical process, creep models for high temperature behavior prediction, and solidification and precipitation models for yield strength prediction during casting and subsequent heat treatment process. Commercial software of interests include Abaqus, DEFORM, Pam-Stamp for thermomechanical processes, Pro-Cast for casting, and ThermoCalc and PanDat for microstructure prediction. 

Brian Puchala, Assistant Research Scientist

1207 ERB II

As a member of the PRedictive Structural Materials Science (PRISMS) Center, my research is focused on computational materials modeling of the thermodynamics and kinetics of crystalline materials through the development of new automated computational tools and materials databases. I am a co-lead developer of the open-source statistical mechanics software package, CASM, and a domain scientist helping to develop Materials Commons, a knowledge repository and collaboration platform for the materials community.

Kai Sun, Associate Research Scientist

2800 Plymouth Road, NCRC Building 22 G013

(734) 936-3353

Research focuses on characterization of materials by analytical electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy techniques and synthesis of nanostructured materials by electron and focused ion beams as well as wet chemical methods.

Mohammadreza Yaghoobi, Research Investigator

1209 ERB II

My primary research interest is in multiscale computational plasticity and damage mechanics of crystalline materials, composites, and ceramics with emphasis on the theoretical modeling, numerical simulation of material behavior, and experimental correlation. Research activities of particular interest includes modelling at different length scales including atomistic simulation, crystal plasticity finite element method, and local and nonlocal continuum plasticity. Central to my research is serving as a lead developer of PRISMS-Plasticity software, which is an open-source parallel 3-D crystal plasticity and continuum plasticity finite element code.