Bai Cui

Bai Cui
Contact Information:
W331 NH
City Campus (Lincoln)
(402) 472-5740
Personal Links:
Google Scholar page

Assistant Professor
Academic Degrees
  • PhD, Materials, Imperial College London, 2011
  • M. Eng, Materials, Tsinghua University, 2008
  • B. Eng, Materials, Tsinghua University, 2006

Areas of Research and Professional Interest
  • Materials for extreme environments: ODS alloys, high-entropy alloys, high-entropy ceramics, MAX phases, ultra-high temperature ceramics. 
  • Advanced Manufacturing: laser shock processing, pulsed electric current sintering/welding process, additive manufacturing. 
  • Corrosion: stress corrosion cracking, high-temperature corrosion
  • Irradiation damage: irradiation defects, irradiation-assisted stress corrosion cracking
  • Microstructural characterizations: in-situ TEM deformation, irradiation, heating, and electrical experiements
Research Profiles:
Courses Taught
  • Corrosion (MATL 473/873): 2020 Spring
  • Electron Microscopy of Materials (MATL 471/871): 2019 Spring
  • Elements of Materials Science (MATL 260/360): 2018 Fall
  • Introduction to Materials for Nuclear Energy Systems (MATL 492/892): 2020 Fall
About Bai Cui

Bai leads the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing for Extreme Environments Laboratory. His lab aims to develop advanced materials that can withstand extreme environments, such as high temperature, irradiation, and corrosive gas or liquid, in next-generation nuclear energy, petroleum, and aeronautic systems. It also develops novel advanced manufacturing processes for these materials and reveal the fundamental mechanisms in manufacturing processes. His work has appeared in top journals such as Acta Materialia and Journal of American Ceramic Society. He was recognized by Nuclear Regulatory Commission Faculty Development Grant (2018), Nebraska EPSCoR First award (2018), the Richard Brook Prize for Best PhD in Ceramics in the UK (2012), Guastv Eirich Award from the European Centre for Refractories (2012), the Tony Evans Prize for Best Ceramics Thesis (2012), and the Lee Family Scholarship (2008-2011). 

Bai received his Ph.D. from Imperial College London, UK (advisor: Prof. Bill Lee), and was a Postdoc at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (advisor: Prof. Ian Robertson). 

Recent News of the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing for Extreme Environments Laboratory

2020.6. Our new paper in Acta Materialia reveals the the mechanisms of irradiation damage in the novel high entropy carbide ceramics, suggesting they are promising structural materials for advanced nuclear reactors. 
2020.5. Dr. Cui is promoted to Associate Professor and granted tenure
2020.2. Our paper, (Hf0.2Zr0.2Ta0.2Nb0.2Ti0.2)C high-entropy ceramics with low thermal conductivity, was among Journal of the American Ceramic Society's top cited articles in Jan 2018 to Dec 2019.
2020.2. Dr. Cui is recoganized as Outstanding Reviewer for Scripta Materialia, and Journal of American Ceramic Society, in 2019.  
2019.10/2020.1. Dr. Cui presents two invited talks in Materials Science & Technology (MS&T) and International Conference and Exposition on Advanced Ceramics and Composites conference (ICACC) on laser shock processing of ceramic materials.
2019.9. ORNL Neutron Sciences website has reported a story about our research on neutron diffraction of additive manufactured ceramic materials, which is also cited by Laser Systems Europe.  
2019.7. Dr. Cui visits Argonne National Laboratory and presents in the Nuclear Science & Engineering Seminar.  
2019.4. Fei Wang successfully passes his Ph.D. defense. He is also named a 2019 Pierson Distinguished Research Award. Congratulations to Fei!! 
2019.4. Dr. Cui visits the University of Florida and presents a MSE seminar “Mechanisms of Laser Shock Processing of Metal and Ceramic Materials". 
2019.2. Kevin Zhao receives the 2019 Darrell J. Nelson Summer Undergraduate Internship in Energy Sciences Research. 
2018.11. Dr. Cui is was honored by the UNL College of Engineering during the 2018 Research Celebration. 
2018.10/11. Dr. Cui presents two invited talks in OSA Laser Applications Conference and SPIE/COS Photonics Asia about his research on laser shock processing of materials.
2018. 10. Nate Snyder is a winner of John Woollam Foundation Award for MME Undergraduate Research.  
2018. 6. A Faculty Development Grant from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will support Dr. Bai Cui's research and eduction on nuclear engineering for two years. 
2018. 5. Dr. Cui is awarded a NSF grant as PI for the project "understanding the mechanisms of the pulsed electric current process for joining oxide-dispersion-strengthened alloys" with Dr. Qin Zhou and Dr. Michael Nastasi. 
2018. 5. Two papers from our group will appear in the Journal of American Ceramics Society, on laser shock processing and high-entropy ceramics, respectively.  
2018. 3. Dr. Cui is one of Nebraska EPSCoR FIRST Awards winners. 
2018. 2. Dr. Cui will lead a project from the Ceramic and Glass Industry Foundation to promote education and outreach in ceramic and glass in Nebraska. 
2017. 12. Dr. Cui hosts a seminar "Laser Shock Processing of Metals and Ceramics: Preventing Material Failures by Surface Engineering"  in Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience.  
2017.11 Xueliang's two papers on ODS alloys have been accepted for publication in Corrosion and Advanced Engineering Materials
2017.4. Ziyad Smoqi sucessfully passes his oral defense of Master Thesis. Congratulations!  
2017.3. Dr. Cui is elected as the vice chair of the Corrosion and Environmental Effects Committee in TMS. 
2017.2. Our lab receives a research grant from ExxonMobil Research and Engineering.
2017.1.  Xueliang and Fei visit the I3TEM facility in Sandia National Laboratories. 
2016.11. Ting Lou sucessfully passes his defense of Master Thesis. Congratulations!  
2016.10. Fei Wang receives the Best poster: second prize at the Mechanical and Materials Engineering Research Fair. 
2016. 10. Dr. Cui presents an invited talk in the "High Temperature Corrosion of Structural Materials" symposium at the Materials Science & Technology 2016 meeting. 
2016.7 Dr. Cui delivers an invited talk in the "Nuclear and Irradiated Materials” symposium at the Microscopy and Microanalysis 2016 Meeting. 
2016.6 Dr. Cui is awarded a NSF grant as a PI for a project "mechanisms of toughening structural ceramics by thermal engineered laser shock peening" with Co-PIs Prof. Yongfeng Lu and Prof. Michael Nastasi. 
2016.6  Dr. Cui visits the the Advanced Test Reactor facillity at the Idaho National Laboratory.    
2016.5  Dr. Cui is organizing the symposium of "Environmentally Assisted Cracking: Theory and Practice" for TMS 2017.  
2015.12 Dr. Cui is awarded an Energy Research Grant from Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research with Co-PI Prof. Yongfeng Lu. 
2015.11 Dr. Cui is awarded a Petroleum Research Fund from American Chemical Society. 
2015.3.23-27 Dr. Cui visit Argonne National Laboratory on experiments at the IVEM-Tandem facility.  
2015.1.5 Fei Wang joins in the group as a PhD student from Tsinghua University.
2014.12.4  Dr. Cui is awarded a Faculty Seed Grant for a twelve-month period.
2014.11.14 Fei Wang is awarded a Spring 2015 Nebraska Engineering Recruitment Fellowship.
2014.10.17  Dr. Cui is selected to participate in the 2014-2015 Research Development Fellows Program.
2014.8.18   The Materials for Extreme Environments (Me2) Lab is established at UNL. 

Employment History
Assistant Professor, MME, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2014.8-present
Research Associate, MSE, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011.12-2014.8       

Graduate Students
Fei Wang (Ph.D.), 2015-2019. MS: Tsinghua University; BS: University of Science & Technology Beijing. PhD Thesis:  Laser Shock Processing of Ceramic Materials
Ziyad M. Smoqi (Master), 2015-2017. Master Thesis: Oxidation of Ti2AlC in High-Temperature Steam Environments. 
Ting Lou (Master), 2015-2016. Master Thesis: Microstructure and Properties of Spark Plasma Sintered  MoAlB CeramicsBS: University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Lejun Jiang (Ph.D.), 2016-2017. Transfer to MBA program. MRes, BEng: Swansea University. 
Xiang Zhang (Ph.D.), 2018-present. MS, BS: Central South University.
Samuel Ruiz (Ph.D.), 2019-present. BS: Creighton University
Yongchu Yoo (Ph.D.), 2019-present. MS, BS: Yonsei University.  
Xin Chen (Ph.D.), 2020-present. MS, BS: China University of Mining and Technology. 

Postdoctoral Research Associates 
Dr. Xueliang Yan, 2016-2019.  PhD: Beijing Institute of Technology. 

Dr. Fei Wang, 2019-present. PhD: University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

Undergraduate Students
Zachary Bram, 2015, MME, UNL.
Anelisa Petzhold, 2015.2-7, Chemical Engineering, UNL, Brazil Scientific Mobility Program. 
D. Alexander Chin, 2015.7-8, University of New York at Geneseo, REU program.
Abigail Heiller, 2015.7-8, Milwaukee School of Engineering, REU program.
Tze Yeen Yap, 2016.9-2017.6, UNL. UCARE program. 
Yazhi Tian, Chao Yan, Yulong Li, UNL, 2018 Spring.  
Joseph Johnston, UNL, 2019 Spring.
Nate Snyder, UNL, 2018 Fall-present, UNL, John Woollam Scholar (2018/2019), UCARE program (2019/2020).  
Kevin Zhao, UNL, 2019 Spring-present, Darrell J. Nelson Summer Undergraduate Internship in Energy Sciences Research (2019 summer), UCARE program (2019/2020).    

High School Students
Peter Jurich, 2016, NCMN’s High School Summer Internship. 
Kate Tadesse, 2018, NCMN’s High School Summer Internship. 
Serena Jentz, 2019, NCMN’s High School Summer Internship. 

Professional Membership
  • Member: Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS); American Ceramic Society (ACerS); American Nuclear Society (ANS), the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE).
  • Chair (2019-2020), Vice Chair (2017-2018), Corrosion and Environmental Effects Committee, TMS.    
  • Technical Committee Member in TMS: Corrosion and Environmental Effects, Nuclear Materials, Mechanical Behavior of Materials, Additive Manufacturing.
  • Co-Chair, Programming Committee, Manufacturing Division, ACerS. 
Professional Activities
  • Lead organizer, "Environmentally Assisted Cracking: Theory and Practice" symposium in TMS annual meetings since 2017.  
  • Lead organizer, “Manufacturing and Processing of Advanced Ceramic Materials” symposium, Materials Science & Technology (MS&T) 2020, 2021.
  • Organizer, “Ultra-High Temperature Ceramics” symposium, International Conference and Exposition on Advanced Ceramics and Composites (ICACC) 2020, 2021.
  • Program committee member, “Laser Additive Manufacturing and Laser Peening” symposium, Photonics Asia 2018 and 2019 meetings. 
Journal Reviewer
Journal of American Ceramic Society; Journal of Nuclear Materials; Acta Materialia; Scripta Materialia; JOM; Scientific Reports; Ultramicroscopy; Journal of Alloys and Compounds; Ceramics International; Advances in Applied Ceramics; Materials and Design

Honors and Awards

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Faculty Development Grant, 2018 

Nebraska EPSCoR FIRST Award, 2018

Richard Brook Prize for Best PhD in Ceramics in the UK, 2012 

Guastv Eirich Award, European Centre for Refractories, 2012

Tony Evans Prize for Best Ceramics Thesis, Imperial College London, 2012

Lee Family Scholarship, Imperial College London, 2008-2011

Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award, Tsinghua University, 2008


Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research, PI, 1/1/2019 to 12/31/2020, $167,600. Co-PI: Yongfeng Lu. Project Title: Novel high‐entropy ceramic materials for extreme environments.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Faculty Development Grant. Junior Faculty, 7/16/2018 to 7/15/2020, $324,403. PI: Jeffrey Shield. Co-PI: Bai Cui, Michael Nastasi.  Project Title: Faculty development program in nuclear engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

NSF-CMMI, Materials Engineering & Processing Program. PI, 9/1/2018 to 8/31/2021, $307,825. Co-PIs: Qin Zhou, Michael Nastasi. Project Title: Understanding the mechanisms of the pulsed electric current process for joining oxide-dispersion-strengthened alloys.  

Tethon 3D, PI, 08/01/2018 through 07/31/2019, $50,000. Co-PI: Prahalada Rao. Project Title: A novel DLP 3D printer optimized for ceramics and metals.  

Nebraska Corn Board, PI,  07/01/2018 to 6/30/2019, $79,600. Co-PI: Mark Wilkins. Project Title: 3D printing using corn kernel fiber. 

ExxonMobil Research and Engineering, PI, 01/23/2017 to 11/30/2017, $15,866.  

NSF-CMMI, Materials Engineering & Processing Program, PI, 9/1/2016 to 8/31/2020, $348,336. Co-PIs: Yongfeng Lu, Michael Nastasi. Project Title: Mechanisms of toughening structural ceramics by thermal engineered laser shock peening. 

Petroleum Research Fund, American Chemical Society, PI, 9/1/2016 to 8/31/2019, $110,000. Project Title: Controlling stress corrosion cracking of alloys in chloride environments by laser shock peening.

Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research, PI, 1/1/2016 to 4/30/2018, $149,924. Co-PI: Yongfeng Lu. Project Title: Novel irradiation and stress corrosion cracking resistant oxide-dispersion-strengthened alloys. 

Selected Publications

A list of all publications is in my Google Scholar page.

F Wang, X Yan, T Wang, Y Wu, L Shao, M Nastasi, Y Lu, B Cui. Irradiation damage in (Zr0.25Ta0.25Nb0.25Ti0.25)C high-entropy carbide ceramics. Acta Materialia, 2020, in press. 

F Wang, X Zhang, X Yan, Y Lu, M Nastasi, Y Chen, B Cui. The effect of submicron grain size on thermal stability and mechanical properties of high‐entropy carbide ceramicsJournal of the American Ceramic Society, in press. 

X Zhang, M Khedmati, Y Kim, H Shin, J Lee, Y Kim, B Cui. Microstructural evolution during spark plasma sintering of FJS-1 lunar soil simulant. Journal of the American Ceramic Society, 2020, 103, 899. 

X Yan, F Wang, K Hattar, M Nastasi, B Cui. Novel amorphous SiOC dispersion-strengthened austenitic steels. Materialia, 2019, 6, 100345. 

F Wang, X Yan, C Zhang, L Deng, Y Lu, M Nastasi, B CuiLocalized plasticity in silicon carbide ceramics induced by laser shock processing. Materialia, 2019, 6, 100265. 

X Yan, L Constantin, Y Lu, J Silvain, M Nastasi, B Cui. (Hf0.2Zr0.2Ta0.2Nb0.2Ti0.2)C high-entropy ceramics with low thermal conductivityJournal of American Ceramic Society, 2018, 101 (10), 4486-4491.  

F Wang, C Zhang, X Yan, L Deng, Y Lu, M Nastasi, B Cui. Microstructure-property relation in alumina ceramics during post-annealing process after laser shock processing. Journal of American Ceramics Society, 2018, 101 (11), 4933-4941.  

Q Lu, Q Su, F Wang, C Zhang, Y Lu, M Nastasi, B. Cui. Influence of laser shock peening on irradiation defects in austenitic stainless steelsJournal of Nuclear Materials, 2017, 489, 203–210.   

F Wang, C Zhang, Y Lu, M Nastasi, B Cui, Laser Shock Processing of Polycrystalline Alumina CeramicsJournal of American Ceramic Society, 2017, 100 (3), 911-919.  

Q Su, B Cui, M Kirk, M Nastasi. In-situ observation of radiation damage in nanostructured amorphous SiOC/crystalline Fe composite. Scripta Materialia, 2016, 113, 79-83.

M McMurtrey, B Cui, IM Robertson, D Farkas, GS Was. Mechanism of dislocation channel-induced irradiation assisted stress corrosion cracking in austenitic stainless steelCurrent Opinion in Solid State & Materials Science, 2015, 19, 305-314.

B Cui, M McMurtrey, GS Was, IM Robertson. Micromechanistic origin of irradiation-assisted stress corrosion crackingPhilosophical Magazine2014, 94, 4197-4218. 

B Cui, J Kacher, M McMurtrey, GS Was, IM Robertson. Influence of irradiation damage on slip transfer across grain boundariesActa Materialia, 2014, 65, 150-160. 

B Cui, E Zapata-Solvasa, MJ Reece, C Wang, WE Lee. Microstructure and high-temperature oxidation behaviour of Ti3AlC2/W compositesJournal of American Ceramic Society, 2013, 96, 584-591.

B Cui, R Sa, DD Jayaseelan, F Inam, MJ Reece, WE Lee. Microstructural evolution during high-temperature oxidation of spark plasma sintered Ti2AlN ceramicsActa Materialia, 2012, 60, 1079-1092. 

B Cui, DD Jayaseelan, WE Lee. TEM study of the early stages of Ti2AlC oxidation at 900 oCScripta Materialia, 2012, 67, 830-833.

B Cui, DD Jayaseelan, WE Lee. Microstructural evolution during high-temperature oxidation of Ti2AlC ceramicsActa Materialia, 2011, 59, 4116-4125. 

Recent Presentations


Invited Talks: 

  • Materials Science & Technology (MS&T), Oct 4, 2020, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.  
  • International Conference on Advanced Ceramics and Composites (ICACC), Jan 26, 2020, Daytona Beach, FL, USA.   
  • MS&T, September 29, 2019, Portland, OR, USA.  
  • Nuclear Science & Engineering Seminar, July 31, 2019, Argonne National Laboratory, USA. 
  • 3rd Annual Midwest Regional 3D Symposium, June 7, 2019, Kansas City, KS, USA.
  • MSE Seminar, “Mechanisms of Laser Shock Processing of Metal and Ceramic Materials", University of Florida, April 2, 2019, Gainesville, FL, USA. 
  • "Laser Shock Peening" Symposium, OSA Laser Applications Conference, November 7, 2018, Boston, MA, USA. 
  • "Advanced Laser Processing and Manufacturing II" Symposium, SPIE/COS Photonics Asia 2018, October 13, 2018, Beijing, China. 
  • 10th meeting on Recent Developments in the Study of Radiation Effects in Matter, August 6, 2018, Galveston Island, TX, USA. 
  • 'Deformation in Irradiated Materials' symposium and ‘Plasticity of Materials under Extreme Conditions’ symposium, 2018 International Conference on Plasticity, Damage and Fracture, Jan 3, 2018, San Juan, PR, USA.
  • Seminar, "Laser Shock Processing of Metals and Ceramics: Preventing Material Failures by Surface Engineering" , Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience,  Dec 6, 2017, Lincoln, NE, USA. 
  • "Environmentally Accelerated Damage and Failure Mechanics " Symposium, ASME 2016 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, November 11, 2016, Phoenix, AZ, USA.  
  • “High Temperature Corrosion of Structural Materials” symposium, MS&T 2016, October 23, 2016, Salt lake city, UT, USA. 
  • "Nuclear and Irradiated Materials” symposium at Microscopy and Microanalysis 2016 Meeting, July 24, 2016, Columbus, OH, USA. 
  • UNL student chapter of the American Society for Mechanical Engineers, 16 April 2015, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. 
  • Midwest Microscopy and Microanalysis Society Summer Meeting, 6 June 2014, Madison, Wisconsin, USA. 
  • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 18 April 2014, Leuven, Belgium.  
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 27 March 2014, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.
  • Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 7 November 2013, Urbana, Illinois, USA.
  • Gustav Eirich Award Ceremony, 55th International Colloquium on Refractories, 19 September 2012, Aachen, Germany.