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Dr. Giacomo Po, researcher in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, won a new research grant from the National Science Foundation to study the ductility of transition-metal carbides through experiments and modeling. These materials exhibit high hardness, high stiffness, good resistance to wear, ablation, and corrosion, high-temperature mechanical strength along with good electrical conductivity, but they are brittle. The new study at UCLA will reveal the fundamental origin of their brittleness, and how to design such materials to be ductile at the nano and microscales. Exploring the relationship between dislocation activity and onset of fracture may potentially lead to the design of tougher miniature structural components, such as micro- and nano-electromechanical systems (MEMS and NEMS). Dr. Po’s proposed research will provide the much needed theoretical insights into the role of structural defects on plasticity in these hard materials. Dr. Giacomo Po is in the process of securing a tenure-track faculty position and can be reached at .

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Giacomo Po CV
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