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Steven Zinkle

Steven Zinkle

Governor’s Chair for Nuclear Materials, Professor


Physical metallurgy of structural materials; ion and neutron irradiation effects on the microstructure, physical and mechanical properties of metals and ceramics; fusion and fission reactor materials; deformation and fracture mechanisms.


PhD, Nuclear Engineering (minor in Physics), University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, 1985

MS, Materials Science, 1985

MS, Nuclear Engineering, 1982

BS, Nuclear Engineering, 1980

Professional Service

Senior editor, Journal of Nuclear Materials (Jan. 2016-present)

Member, National Academies National Materials and Manufacturing Board, NMMB (2015-present)

Member, National Academies Condensed Matter and Materials Research Committee (2019-2022)

Member, National Academies NMMB panel on Strategic Long-Term Participation by Department of Defense in Manufacturing USA Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (2018-19)

Member, National Academies committee on Frontiers of Materials Research: A Decadal Survey (2017-18)

Member, National Academies committee on NNSA peer review and design competition related to nuclear weapons, 2014-15

Member, National Academies panel on review of the Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2014-15

Member, NAE 2019 nominating committee, 2017-2019

NAE section 9 (Materials Engineering), Vice chair 7/2019-6/2020; Chair 7/2020-6/2021

Member, DOE National Nuclear Security Administration Defense Programs Advisory Comm., 4/2018-8/2022

Member, DOE Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (FESAC), 2009-2015

Chair, DOE FESAC advisory panel on Materials Science & Technology (July 2011-Feb. 2012); vice-chair, DOE FESAC advisory panel on Strategic Planning (April –September, 2014)

Vice-chair of DOE Fusion Energy Sciences Workshop and Report on Plasma Materials Interactions (2015)

Member, DOE FESAC advisory panel on Fusion Energy Development Path (Oct. 2002-June 2003), advisory panel on 10 year R&D priorities (Oct. 2003-Nov. 2004), advisory panel on strategic planning (March-Oct. 2007); advisory panel on Magnetic Fusion Energy priorities (July 2012-Jan. 2013)

Member, US Magnetic Fusion Reactor Strategic Directions Program Committee (2017-18); Fusion Materials & Technology program committee (chair, Fusion Materials expert group) for US fusion energy sciences community planning process (2019-2020)

Scientific advisory committee member, CEA Nuclear Energy Directorate, France, 2008-present

Advisory board, Univ. Michigan Dept. of Nuclear Engineering & Radiological Sciences, 2009-2017

Advisory board, Univ. Wisconsin Dept. of Engineering Physics, 2009-2015

Advisory board, Purdue Univ. School of Nuclear Engineering, 2012-2017

Visiting Committee for the MIT Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, 2014-present

Reviewer for numerous DOE and NSF research programs and over 25 archival journals; Acta Materialia 2015 outstanding reviewer, Scripta Materialia Outstanding Reviewer Award 2017, 2019

Mentoring of Students and Postdoctoral Researchers

Total Postgraduate Scholars Advised: 5 as primary advisor; 7 as co-advisor

Potstdoc primary mentor (UT): Siwei Chen (expected start 5/2020); Tengfei Yang (2016-2019; currently Asst. Prof. at Hunan Univ.); Adrien Terricabras (post-MS scholar, 2016);   Postdoc co-mentor (UT, with Bill Weber): Shradha Agarwal (2017-2018)

Scientific/technical advising of Graduate Students: 2 MS theses, 5 PhD theses as primary advisor (on thesis evaluation committee for 21 additional MS/PhD graduates at UT)

Daniel W. Clark (MS-NE, Aug. 2015; conferred Dec. 2015), “Ion Irradiation Characterization Studies of MAX Phase Ceramics”

Ethan Pratt (MS-MSE, Dec. 2015), “Kinetic and Thermodynamic Modeling of Long Term Phase Stability in Alloy 800H Subjected to LWR Core Conditions” (Brian Wirth, coadvisor)

Congyi Li (PhD-ESE, August 2018), “Characterization of Radiation Effects and Ab Initio Modeling of Defects in a High Entropy Alloy for Nuclear Power Application” (Brian Wirth, coadvisor)

Caleb Massey (PhD-NE, Dec. 2018), “Multiscale Investigations of Nanoprecipitate Nucleation, Growth, and Coarsening in ODS FeCrAl Alloys: Optimizing Sink Strength for Nuclear Applications”

Kelsa Benensky (PhD-NE, Jan. 2019, conferred May 2019), “Investigation of Refractory Carbide Behavior in Flowing Hydrogen at Very High Temperatures Relevant for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Applications”

Jamieson Brechtl (PhD-ESE, April, 2019, conferred August 2019), “Effects of Irradiation and Annealing on the Microstructures and Mechanical Properties of Bulk Metallic Glass Alloys”

Ling Wang (PhD-MSE, Dec. 2019; conferred May 2020), “Phase Stability of Precipitates after Ion Irradiation and Creep Tests”

Current UT PhD students: Peter Doyle (MSNE 12/2017; PhD expected 5/2020), Jonathan Baker (PhD expected 5/2020), Rachel Gaudet, C. Joshua Beers, Yan-Ru Lin, Tyler Smith, Yajie Zhao, Adrien Terricabras, Taylor Duncan, Yao Li, Ty Austin, Kacie Breeding, Pengcheng Zhu, Neal Gaffin, Qinyun Chen, Zehui Qi, Elizabeth Lindquist, Ishtiaque Karim Robin, William Ponder, Samara Levine, Samuel Bell

Awards and Recognitions

ASM International Gold medal (2018)

TMS Robert Franklin Mehl award and Institute of Metals lecture (2017)

American Ceramic Society Edward Orton, Jr. Memorial Lecture Award (Materials Science & Technology 2017)

Fusion Power Associates Leadership Award (2016)

Member of the National Academy of Engineering (Materials Engineering section, 2012)

US Dept. of Energy (DOE) Ernest Orlando Lawrence Memorial Award (Nuclear Technology, 2006)

Fellow, American Physical Society (2013), Materials Research Society (2013), The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS, 2011), American Association for the Advancement of Science (2009), American Nuclear Society (ANS, 2007), ASM International (2003), American Ceramic Society (2001)

ORNL Corporate Fellow (2004)—limited to about 30 staff among 4,800 ORNL employees

ANS Mishima Award for outstanding R&D on nuclear fuels and materials (2007)

Robert W. Cahn Award (inaugural recipient, Elsevier Nuclear Materials Conference, 2010)

University Wisconsin College of Engineering Distinguished Achievement Award (2010)

IEEE Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society Fusion Technology Award (2006)

ANS Mater. Sci. & Technology Division Outstanding Achievement Award (2005)

ANS Mater. Sci. & Technology Division Literary Award (coauthor, 1996, 2006)

American Ceramic Society Nucl. & Environ. Technology Division Best Paper Award (1994–1995, 2007)

National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering symposium invited participant (1998)

Fusion Power Associates David J. Rose Excellence in Fusion Engineering Award (1992)

ORNL Eugene P. Wigner Fellow (1985–1987)

ORNL Awards Night Technical Achievement (R&D Accomplishment) Award (1991, 1997, 1999, 2002)

Phi Eta Sigma, Tau Beta Pi, Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Xi

University Wisconsin Sigma Xi Excellence in Graduate Research Award (1985)


Select publications below. For a full list of his publications, view his Google Scholar page.

J. Brechtl, M.L. Crespillo, S. Agarwal, H. Bei and S.J. Zinkle, “Effects of irradiation spectrum on the microstructural and mechanical properties of bulk metallic glasses,” J. Nucl. Mater. 533 (2020) 152084.

L. Wang, C. Zheng, B. Kombaiah, L. Tan, D.J. Sprouster, L.L. Snead, S.J. Zinkle, Y. Yang, “Contrasting roles of Laves Cr2Nb precipitates on the creep properties of novel CuCrNbZr alloys,” Materials Science & Engineering A 779 (2020) 139110.

Zhanfeng Yan, Tengfei Yang, Yanru Lin, Youping Lu, Yue Su, Steven J. Zinkle, Yugang Wang, “Effects of temperature on the He behavior in Fe-9Cr alloy”, Journal of Nuclear Materials 532 (2020) 152045.

T. Yang, W. Guo, J.D. Poplawsky, D. Li, L. Wang, Y. Li, W. Hu, M.L. Crespillo, Z. Yan, Y. Zhang, Y. Wang, and S.J. Zinkle, “Structural damage and phase stability of Al0.3CoCrFeNi high entropy alloy under high temperature ion irradiation,” Acta Materialia 188 (2020) 1-15.

S. Agarwal, T. Koyanagi, A. Bhattacharya, L. Wang, Y. Katoh, X. Hu, M. Pagan and S.J. Zinkle, “Neutron irradiation-induced microstructure damage in ultra-high temperature ceramic TiC,” Acta Materialia 186 (2020) 1-10.

D.T. Hoelzer, C.P. Massey, S.J. Zinkle, D.C. Crawford and K.A. Terrani, “Modern nano-structured ferritic alloys: a compelling and viable choice for sodium fast reactor fuel cladding application,” J. Nucl. Mater., (2020) 151928.

J. Brechtl, S. Agarwal, M. L. Crespillo, T. Yang, H. Bei, and S. J. Zinkle, “Investigation of the mechanical and microstructural evolution of a Cu based bulk metallic glass during ion irradiation,” Intermetallics 116 (2020) 106655.

C. Li, X. Hu, T. Yang, N.A.P. Kiran Kumar, B.D. Wirth and S.J. Zinkle, “Neutron irradiation response of a Co-free high entropy alloy,” J. Nuclear Materials 527 (2019) article 151838.

G.S. Was, D. Petti, S. Ukai and S.J. Zinkle, “Materials for Future Nuclear Energy Systems,” J. Nucl. Mater. 526 (2019) article 151837.

S. Agarwal, Q. Chen, T. Koyanagi, Y. Zhao, S. J. Zinkle, W. J. Weber, “Revealing irradiation damage along with the entire damage range in ion-irradiated SiC/SiC composites using Raman spectroscopy,” J. Nucl. Mater. 526 (2019) article 151778.

J. Brechtl, H. Wang, N.A.P. Kiran Kumar, T. Yang, Y-R Lin, H. Bei, J. Neuefeind, W. Dmowski, and S. J. Zinkle, “Investigation of the thermal and neutron irradiation response of BAM-11 bulk metallic glass,” J. Nucl. Mater. 526 (2019) article 151771.

S.J. Zinkle, H. Tanigawa, B.D. Wirth, “Radiation and Thermomechanical Degradation Effects in Reactor Structural Alloys,” in: G.R. Odette, S.J. Zinkle (Eds.) Structural Alloys for Nuclear Energy Applications, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2019, pp. 163-210.

J. Brechtl, S. Agarwal, M.L. Crespillo, T. Yang, H. Bei, and S.J. Zinkle, “Evolution of the microstructural and mechanical properties of BAM-11 bulk metallic glass during ion irradiation and annealing,” Journal of Nuclear Materials, 523 (2019) 299-309.

C.P. Massey, D.T. Hoelzer, P.D. Edmondson, A. Kini, B. Gault, K.A. Terrani and S.J. Zinkle, “Stability of a Model Fe-14Cr Nanostructured Ferritic Alloy After Long-term Thermal Creep,” Scripta Materialia 170 (2019) 134-139.

C.P. Massey, D.T. Hoelzer, R.L. Seibert, P.D. Edmondson, A. Kini, B. Gault, K.A. Terrani and S.J. Zinkle, “Microstructural Evaluation of a Fe-12Cr Nanostructured Ferritic Alloy Designed for Impurity Sequestration,” J. Nucl. Mater. 522 (2019) 111-122.

W.A. Hanson, M.K. Patel, M.L. Crespillo, F. Xhang, S.J. Zinkle, Y. Zhang, and W.J. Weber, “Ionizing vs collisional radiation damage in materials: separated, competing, and synergistic effects in Ti3SiC2,” Acta Materialia 173  (2019) 195-205. 10.1016/j.actamat.2019.05.015

C. Li, J. Ying, G.M. Stocks, B.C. Sales, B.D. Wirth and S.J. Zinkle, “First principles study of magnetism and vacancies in a near equimolar FeNiMnCr high entropy alloy,” J. Appl. Phys. 125, no. 15, (March 26, 2019) 155103 (17pp.) (highlighted as an Editor’s pick)

J. Brechtl, B. Chen, X. Xie, Yang Ren, J. D. Venable, P. K. Liaw, and S. J. Zinkle, “Entropy modeling on serrated flows in carburized steels,” Mater. Sci. & Eng. A 753 (2019) 135-145.

B. Heidrich, S. Pimblott, G. Was, S.J. Zinkle, “Roadmap for the Application of Ion Beam Technologies to the Challenges of Nuclear Energy Technologies,” Nucl. Instrum. Meth. B 441 (2019) 41-45.

J. Beers, E.G. Lindquist, T. M. Biewer, J.F. Caneses, J. B. O. Caughman , R. H. Goulding , N. Kafle, H. Ray , M. A. Showers, S. J. Zinkle, and J. Rapp, “Characterization of the Helicon Plasma Flux to the Target of Proto-MPEX,” Fusion Engineering & Design 138 (2019) 282-288.

C.P. Massey, S.N. Dryepondt, P.D. Edmondson, M.G. Frith, KC. Littrell, A. Kini, B. Gault, K.A. Terrani and S.J. Zinkle, “Multiscale investigations of nanoprecipitate nucleation, growth and coarsening in annealed low-Cr oxide dispersion strengthened FeCrAl powder,” Acta Materialia 166 (2019) 1-17.

J. Brechtl, S.Y. Chen, X. Xie, Y. Ren, J.W. Qiao, P.K. Liaw, and S.J. Zinkle, “Towards a Greater Understanding of Serrated Flows in an Al-Containing High-Entropy-Based Alloy,” International Journal of Plasticity 115 (2019) 71-92.

A. Bhattacharya, C.M. Parish, T. Koyanagi, C.M. Petrie, D. King, G. Hilmas, W.G. Fahrenholtz, S.J. Zinkle and Y. Katoh, “Nano-scale microstructure damage by neutron irradiations in a novel Boron-11 enriched TiB2 ultra-high temperature ceramic,” Acta Mater. 165 (2019) 26-39.

Tengfei Yang, Chenxu Wang, Wulong Liu, Shaoshuai Liu, Jingren Xiao, Qing Huang, Yugang Wang and Steven J. Zinkle, “Comparison of irradiation tolerance of two MAX phases-Ti4AlN3 and Ti2AlN,” J. Nucl. Mater. 513 (2019) 120-128.

C.P. Massey, S.L. Dryepondt, P.D. Edmondson, K.G. Field, D.T. Hoelzer, K.A. Terrani and S.J. Zinkle, “Post Irradiation Examination of Nanoprecipitate Stability and a’ Precipitation in an Oxide Dispersion Strengthened Fe-12Cr-5Al Alloy,” Scripta Materialia 162 (2019) 94-98.

S. Agarwal, A. Bhattacharya, P. Trocellier and S.J. Zinkle, “Helium induced microstructure damage, nanoscale grain formation and helium retention behaviour of ZrC,” Acta Mater. 163 (2019) 14-27.

K. Nordlund, S.J. Zinkle, A.E. Sand, F. Granberg, R.S. Averback, R. Stoller, T. Suzudo, L. Malerba, F. Banhart, W.J. Weber, F. Willaime, S. Dudarev and D. Simeone, “Primary radiation damage: A review of current understanding and models” (invited), Journal of Nuclear Materials 512 (2018) 450-479.

C.P. Massey, S.L. Dryepondt, P.D. Edmondson, K.A. Terrani and S.J. Zinkle, “Influence of Mechanical Alloying and Extrusion Conditions on the Development of Low-Cr ODS FeCrAl Alloys,” Journal of Nuclear Materials 512 (2018) 227-238.

J. Brechtl, X. Xie, P.K. Liaw and S.J. Zinkle “Complexity Modelling and Analysis of Chaos and Other Fluctuating Phenomena,” Chaos, Solitons and Fractals 116 (2018) 166-175.

T. Yang, C. Li, S.J. Zinkle, S. Zhao, H. Bei and Y. Zhang, “Irradiation responses and defect behavior of single-phase concentrated solid solution alloys,” invited paper for Focus Issue on Fundamental Understanding and Applications of High-Entropy Alloys, Journal of Materials Research 33, no. 19 (2018) 3077-3091.

Y. Yang, L. Wang, L.L. Snead and S.J. Zinkle, “Thermodynamic Modelling of the Cu-Cr-Nb-Zr System and Its Use to Design Novel Cu Alloys,” Materials & Design 156 (2018) 370-380.

P.J. Doyle, K.M. Benensky and S.J. Zinkle, “Modeling the impact of radiation-enhanced diffusion on implanted ion profiles,” J. Nucl. Mater., 508 (2018) 168-180.

M.E. Moore, H. Xue, P. Vilmercati, S.J. Zinkle, N. Mannella and J.P. Hayward, “Thermal diffusion of mixed valence Ce in 6Li loaded silicate glass for neutron imaging,” Journal of Noncrystalline Materials 498 (2018) 145-152.

K. Nordlund, S.J. Zinkle, A.E. Sand, F. Granberg, R.S. Averback, R. Stoller, T. Suzudo, L. Malerba, F. Banhart, W.J. Weber, F. Willaime, S. Dudarev and D. Simeone, “Improving atomic displacement and replacement calculations with physically realistic damage models,” Nature Communications 9 (2018) 1084 (8 pp.).

L.K. Mansur, G.S. Was, S.J. Zinkle, D. Petti and S. Ukai, “The century of nuclear materials,” J. Nucl. Mater. 500 (2018) A1-A2.

P.J. Doyle, K.M. Benensky and S.J. Zinkle, “Modeling of dislocation channel width evolution in irradiated metals,” J. Nucl. Mater. 499 (2018) 47-64.

Yang, S. Xia, W. Guo, R. Hu, J.D. Poplawsky, G. Sha, Y. Fang, Z. Yan, C. Wang, C. Li, Y. Zhang, S.J. Zinkle and Y. Wang, “Effects of temperature on the irradiation responses of Al0.1CoCrFeNi high entropy alloy,” Scripta Materialia 144 (2018) 31-35.

S.J. Zinkle and L.L. Snead, “Opportunities and limitations for ion beams in radiation effects studies: Bridging critical gaps between charged particle and neutron irradiations,” invited viewpoint paper for Scripta Materialia 143 (Jan. 2018) 154-160.

Steven Zinkle

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