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Networks are ubiquitous. Familiar examples include social networks, telecommunication networks, and biological networks. The components of these networks and the way they are connected controls their function and efficiency. The properties and performance of materials are particularly sensitive to the internal network structure of defects, phases and other microstructural components. Judicious changes to this structure can enhance material properties by orders of magnitude. Furthermore, these networks are often dynamic—changing and evolving with time and environmental conditions.

The Johnson Group studies grain boundaries and grain boundary networks in materials. We investigate the influence of microstructural anisotropy, heterogeneity and topology on the properties of materials. We use theory, computation, and experiments to exploit these attributes of microstructures in an effort to characterize, design and synthesize materials with enhanced and/or tailored performance and to gain new insights into the relationships between the structure of materials and their properties.