Faculty Directory
Gregory B. Olson

Walter P. Murphy Professor of Materials Science and Engineering


2220 Campus Drive
Cook Hall 2036
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

Email Gregory Olson


The Steel Research Group


Materials Science and Engineering


Sc.D. MIT, Cambridge, MA

M.S. MIT, Cambridge, MA

B.S. MIT, Cambridge, MA

Research Interests

We are integrating fundamental principles of processing/structure/property/performance relations within a systems engineering framework. Science-based design produces dynamic, multilevel, structured systems for new materials. Mechanistic models for both displacive martensitic and diffusional precipitation reactions are provided from theoretical and experimental study of first-order phase transformations in model alloy systems. We apply kinetics-based constitutive relations for martensitically transforming materials to numerical modeling of shape memory behaviors and transformation toughening mechanisms in ductile solids. These incorporate interactions with microvoid nucleation processes and plastic flow localization.

Our interdisciplinary collaborations include quantum-mechanical investigations of the chemical basis of intergranular fracture resistance. We integrate principles into materials system designs through computational thermodynamics and numerical kinetic modeling. Prototype high-performance alloy steels have demonstrated record property combinations, and the design methodology is now being extended to intermetallic composites, ceramics, and polymers, including biomimetic design concepts.

Significant Recognition

  • Received the Tibbetts Award (2016)
  • Foreign Associate, Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Science (2013)
  • TMS Morris Cohen Award (2013)
  • Member, AAAS (2012)
  • Fellow, TMS-AIME (2001)
  • Fellow, ASM (1990)
  • MS-SMD Distinguished Scientist/Engineer Award
  • Technology of the Year Award, Industry Week (1998)
  • NASA Technology Recognition Award (1994)
  • M. R. Tenenbaum Award of ISS-AIME (1993)
  • J. Wallenberg Foundation Award, Sweden (1993)
  • Featured (as Director of the multi-institutional Steel Research Group) on a PBS-TV Infinite Voyage special (1991)
  • Army Materials Special Service Award (1988)
  • NSF Research Creativity Award (1983)

Significant Professional Service

  • Co-founder, Chief Scientific Officer and Board Member, QuesTek Innovations, LLC
  • Technical Advisory Board, Constellium Corp.
  • Member, ArcelorMittal Scientific Partners Network
  • Materials Advisory Board, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) - Sweden
  • MSE Advisory Board, KAIST-Korea
  • MSE Advisory Board, Michigan Technological University
  • Board of Governors, Acta Materialia
  • Member, National Academy of Engineering (2010)
  • Advisory Board, Journal of Computer-Assisted Materials Design
  • 20th annual A. Frank Golick Lecturer, Missouri University of Science and Technology, 2009
  • Cambridge University Kelly Lectureship, 2008
  • ASM Campbell Memorial Lectureship, 2008
  • ASM Alpha Sigma Mu Lecturer, 1996
  • SERC Visiting Professor, Cambridge University, 1992

Selected Publications

  • Jia Yi Yan, G. B. Olson, “Molar volumes of bcc, hcp, and orthorhombic Ti-base solid solutions at room temperature”, Calphad: Computer Coupling of Phase Diagrams and Thermochemistry, (2016)
  • Jia Yi Yan, G. B. Olson, “Computational thermodynamics and kinetics of displacive transformations in titanium-based alloys”, Journal of Alloys and Compounds, (2016)
  • Stephanie Chan O'Keeffe, Shan Tang, Adrian M. Kopacz, Jacob Smith, David J. Rowenhorst, George Spanos, Wing Kam Liu, Gregory B. Olson, “Multiscale ductile fracture integrating tomographic characterization and 3-D simulation”, Acta Materialia, (2015)
  • D. Frankel, T. Jiang, G. B. Olson, “Design of a Fatigue Resistant Ni-free PdTi-base SMA”, Materials Today: Proceedings, (2015)
  • N. J. Wengrenovich, G. B. Olson, “Optimization of a TRIP steel for adiabatic fragment protection”, Materials Today: Proceedings, (2015)
  • Wei Xiong, Gregory B. Olson, “Integrated computational materials design for high-performance alloys”, MRS Bulletin, (2015)
  • Jia Yi Yan, G. B. Olson, “Cahn-rosenberg distortion and the orthorhombicity of titanium martensites”, PTM 2015 - Proceedings of the International Conference on Solid-Solid Phase Transformations in Inorganic Materials 2015, (2015)
  • G. B. Olson, “Flying martensite”, PTM 2015 - Proceedings of the International Conference on Solid-Solid Phase Transformations in Inorganic Materials 2015, (2015)