Microstructure-property relationships play a key role in guiding the design of new materials, and the increasing demand for materials performance requires development of materials with increasingly complex microstructures. However, microstructural features are often cross-linked during materials processing, particularly when across multiple length scales, which poses a grand challenge towards understanding the microstructure-property relationships and optimizing materials’ microstructures. In this talk, I will present several advanced manufacturing techniques which enable fabricating materials with controlled microstructures on different length scales from nanometers to meters. Specifically, I will talk about advanced manufacturing techniques including thermoplastic forming, laser selective melting, and direct ink writing that allow us to independently vary and manipulate microstructural features in a variety of metal alloys. The high accuracy and versatility in microstructural control demonstrate these techniques as powerful toolboxes to achieve materials with benchmark mechanical properties and functionalities.
Dr. Wen Chen is currently working as an Assistant Professor in Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at UMass Amherst. He completed his Ph.D degree in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Yale University. His Ph.D thesis focused on understanding microstructure-property-processing relationships in metallic glasses by artificial microstructures approach. After his Ph.D, he worked as a postdoctoral research scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he developed direct ink writing based technology for additive manufacturing of metals. Dr. Chen's research interests lie in mechanical behavior of materials, materials design, and additive manufacturing. He is the recipient of many academic awards including Yale Pierre W. Hoge Fellowship Award, Acta Student Award, and Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Oversea Graduate Students.