Faculty Profile

Robert Maass

Materials Science and Engineering
 Robert Maass
Robert Maass
Assistant Professor
408B Materials Science & Eng Bld
1304 W. Green
Urbana Illinois 61801
(217) 300-0665

Primary Research Area

  • Metals

For more information

Professional Highlights

  • Robert Maass received a triple diploma in Materials Science and Engineering from the Institut National Polytechnique de Lorraine (INPL-EEIGM, France), Luleå Technical University (Sweden) and Saarland University (Germany) in 2005. In 2009, he obtained his PhD from the Materials Science Department at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. During his doctoral work, Robert designed and built an in-situ micro-compression set-up that he used to study small-scale plasticity with time-resolved Laue diffraction at the Swiss Light Source. From 2009-2011 he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) on plasticity of metallic glasses. Subsequently, he joined the California Institute of Technology as an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral scholar to continue his research on plasticity of metals. After working as a specialist management consultant for metals at McKinsey & Co., he transferred to the University of Göttingen as a junior research group leader. He joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in 2015.

Research Statement

Our research focuses on the fundamentals of plasticity across all length scales in both crystalline and amorphous materials. Plasticity of defect dominated materials is an old, but exciting problem with many unsolved questions. We are interested in plastic processes at the small scale that arise due to extrinsic or intrinsic confinements. Examples of such are the simple reduction of a materials dimension, or the mediation of global plastic deformation by only a tiny fraction of the material. In both cases unexpected scaling regimes can emerge, which can be exploited to tune a material’s resistance to plastic deformation – a property many of your daily life products are crucially reliant on. We combine traditional materials testing protocols with state-of-the-art nanoscale probing methods, and often design our own in-situ experiments to unravel micro structural processes underlying deformation. Current projects target spatiotemporal properties of collective deformation mechanisms in bulk metallic glasses and microcrystals, nano-scale structural characterization of deformation structures in amorphous metals, and microplasticity. All of these activities aim at understanding irreversible structural transitions and ways how to control them so that the next generation metallic components in your newest life-style gadget lasts even longer.

Research Areas

  • Metals

Research Topics

Selected Articles in Journals

Teaching Honors

  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent (Fall 2017) (2018)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent (Fall 2016) (2017)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent (Fall 2015) (2016)

Research Honors

  • NSF Career Award (2017)
  • TMS Young Leaders Professional Development award (2016)
  • Emmy Noether award by the German Research Foundation (2014)
  • Feodor von Lynen award by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2011)
  • Young scientist award by the German Materials Research Society (2009)