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Extreme mechanics, materials, and manufacturing across scales


Prof. Yu Zou

Department of Materials Science & Engineering

Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering

University of Toronto


Date & Time

Thursday, 11 May 2023

3:00 am


Room 7-34, Haking Wong Building, HKU


Many of today's most critical engineering infrastructure and machinery (for example, next-generation turbines, mineral exploration equipment, nuclear reactors, and critical medical implants) are made with materials that operate under extreme conditions, including high temperature, pressure, strain rate, cyclic loading, and radiative and chemical environments. Innovations in material development and manufacturing processes for such demanding conditions are necessary and urgent to increase the service life of existing engineering infrastructure and to open the door to new applications. Towards this vision, my seminar will focus on the exploration of mechanical behavior and manufacturing processes of materials across many length- and time-scales. I will first introduce our recently developed versatile in situ nanomechanical testing platform that allows us to study the mechanical behavior of metallic materials and semiconductors at the micrometer- and nanometer-scales under high temperatures, strain rates, and/or electric fields. Then, I will share insights on the mechanical and thermal stability of emerging nanostructured refractory high-entropy alloys: I have led a project that achieved mechanically strong (yield strength of ~10 GPa) and thermally stable (up to 1100 °C) nanocrystalline alloys, surpassing many conventional nickel-based superalloys and refractory alloys. My group has also developed new manufacturing approaches for the mass production of nanocrystalline high-entropy alloys towards commercialization. Moreover, I will talk about my research on two types of metal additive manufacturing processes, namely cold spray additive manufacturing and laser-based additive manufacturing, in which metal powders are processed under extreme deformation and heat conditions, respectively. In closing, I will present my future research on the combinatorial development of next-generation structural materials using data-driven approaches.


Dr. Yu Zou is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering (primary appointment) and Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering (cross-appointed) at the University of Toronto (U of T). Before he joined U of T in 2018, he worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT (with Prof. A. John Hart). He received his Ph.D., Master’s, and bachelor’s degrees in Materials Science and Engineering from ETH Zurich (with Prof. Ralph Spolenak), McGill University (with Profs. Jerzy Szpunar and Stephen Yue), and Beihang University (thesis with Prof. Hua-Ming Wang), respectively. He was also a JSPS visiting scholar at Kyoto University (with Prof. Takayuki Kitamura). His research areas include physical metallurgy, nanomechanics, microstructural analysis, and metal additive manufacturing, for aerospace, automotive, energy, and health applications.

Dr. Zou has garnered several major early-career awards in the materials community, including the 2022 TMS Early Career Faculty Fellow Award, 2021 Young Leaders Professional Development Award, and 2020 JMR Early Career Scholars Prize by MRS, as well as awards bestowed by U of T, Ontario and Canada, including the Brimacombe Award from Metallurgy and Materials Society Canada, Connaught New Researcher Award and Dean’s Spark Professorship from U of T, and Ontario Early Researcher Award form Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities. To date, as the lead PI, he has received over C$6 million in research funding; as the corresponding author, he has published more than 60 peer-reviewed journal papers, including Nature Materials (recently accepted), Nature Communications, Nano Letters, Physical Review Materials, Acta Materialia, and Scripta Materialia. He has served as the Chair of the Materials Technical Section of MetSoc, the Metallurgy and Materials Society in the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) since 2020. He chaired the Canadian Materials Science Conference (the largest materials conference in Canada) in 2022, hosted and organized the MRS Webinar on “Metal Additive Manufacturing” in 2020, and has led four TMS symposia in the field of the mechanics and manufacturing of metallic materials.

Research Areas:

Contact for


Dr. L.Z. Xu

+(852) 3917 2628

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