2022 NSF CAREER Award: Yang Yang


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Yang Yang, assistant professor of engineering science and mechanics at Penn State, earned a five-year, $550,000 NSF CAREER Award for a project titled “Characterization and understanding of point defect evolution during corrosion-induced grain boundary migration.” Yang is also affiliated with the Penn State Materials Research Institute.

How will advances in this area impact society?

This research facilitates the prediction of failure due to rust in engineering systems and infrastructures to help prevent rust-induced accidents. In addition, by understanding the motion of grain boundaries migration during rusting, we can advance engineering methods to make low-cost, high-performance and damage-resistant alloys for application in advanced energy and transportation systems. 

Will undergraduate or graduate students contribute to this research? How?

One to two graduate students will be research assistants for this project. One to two undergraduate students will also participate as research interns. Students interested in participating can email me at yang@psu.edu.

The NSF CAREER Award not only funds a research project, but it also recognizes the potential of the recipient as a researcher, educator and leader in their field. How do you hope to fulfill that potential?

The proposed research is at the intersection of materials science, nuclear engineering, and engineering science and mechanics. In this project, I will integrate research with a multi-level educational program that foster students’ interest in science and engineering, motivate students to effectively address critical global challenges, and increase under-represented minorities involvement in science and engineering. My long-term goal is to establish Penn State as a leading center for the study of interfaces in extreme environments, with unique advanced characterization systems that will benefit all materials researchers at Penn State and beyond.


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