Skip to content

Peter K. Liaw

Professor and Ivan Racheff Chair of Excellence


Dr. Liaw graduated from the Chiayi High School, obtained his B.S. in Physics from the National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, and his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern University, USA, in 1980.

After working at the Westinghouse Research and Development (R&D) Center for thirteen years, he joins the faculty and becomes an Endowed Ivan Racheff Chair of Excellence in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at The University of Tennessee (UT), Knoxville, since March 1993.  He has been working in the areas of fatigue, fracture, nondestructive evaluation, and life-prediction methodologies of structural alloys and composites.  Since joining UT, his research interests include mechanical behavior, nondestructive evaluation, biomaterials, and processing of high-temperature alloys and ceramic-matrix composites and coatings with the kind and great help of his colleagues at UT and the nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  He has published over five hundred papers, edited twenty books, and presented numerous invited talks at various national and international conferences.

He was awarded the Royal E. Cabell Fellowship at Northwestern University.  He is a recipient of numerous “Outstanding Performance” awards from the Westinghouse R&D Center.  He was the Chairman of The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS) “Mechanical Metallurgy” Committee, and the Chairman of the American Society for Metals (ASM) “Flow and Fracture” Committee.  He has been the Chairman and Member of the TMS Award Committee on “Application to Practice, Educator, and Leadership Awards.”  He is a fellow of ASM.  He has been given the Outstanding Teacher Award, the Moses E. and Mayme Brooks Distinguished Professor Award, the Engineering Research Fellow Award, the National Alumni Association Distinguished Service Professor Award, the L. R. Hesler Award, and the John Fisher Professorship at UT, and the TMS Distinguished Service Award.

He has been the Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) Program, the Director of the NSF International Materials Institutes (IMI) Program, and the Director of the NSF Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program at UT.  Several of his graduate students have been given awards for their research and presentations at various professional societies and conferences.  Moreover, his students are teaching and doing research at universities, industries, and government laboratories.


Mechanical behavior, fatigue and fracture behavior, nondestructive-evaluation, and neutron/synchrotron studies of advanced materials, including bulk-metallic glasses, nano-structural materials, high-entropy alloys, superalloys, steels, and intermetallics.  (Click each area for more information!)


Ph.D., Northwestern: Advanced Structural Alloys, including Bulk-Amorphous, Nano-Materials, and High-Entropy Alloys, Bulk-Amorphous and Nano-Materials Processing, Fatigue and Fracture Behavior, Nondestructive Characterization, including In-situ Neutron and Synchrotron Diffraction and Thermography Detection, and Theoretical Modeling

Professional Service

  • Technical Advisor for Journal of Metals (JOM)
  • Key Reader for Metallurgical and Materials Transactions
  • Chairman of the Flow and Fracture Committee, American Society for Metals (ASM), and The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS)
  • Chairman and Member of the TMS Committee on Application to Practice, Educator, and Leadership Awards

Awards and Recognitions

2011, 2008, and 2003 Moses E. and Mayme Brooks Distinguished Professorship at The University of Tennessee
2010 L. R. Hesler Award at The University of Tennessee
2007 Distinguished Service Award, the 2007 TMS 136th Annual Meeting and Exhibition
2006 The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS) Outstanding Service Award
1997 Fellow, ASM International


S. Cheng, Y. H. Zhao, Y. M. Wang, Y. Li, X. L. Wang, P. K. Liaw, and E. J. Lavernia, “Structure Modulation Driven by Cyclic Deformation in Nanocrystalline NiFe,” Physical Review Letters, Vol. 104, Issue 25, p. 255501 (2010).

S. Cheng, Y. H. Zhao, Y. Z. Guo, Y. Li, Q. M. Wei, X. L. Wang, Y. Ren, P. K. Liaw, H. Choo, and E. J. Lavernia, “High Plasticity and Substantial Deformation in Nanocrystalline NiFe Alloys Under Dynamic Loading,” Advanced Materials, Vol. 21, No. 8, pp. 5001-5004 (2009).

S. L. Wang, Y. H. He, X. S. Fang, J. Zhou, Y. Yang, H. Huang, P. M. F. J. Costa, M. Song, B. Y. Huang, C. T. Liu, P. K. Liaw, Y. Bando, and D. Golberg, “Structure and Field-Emission Properties of Sub-Micrometer-Sized Tungsten-Whisker Arrays Fabricated by Vapor Deposition,” Advanced Materials, Vol. 21, No. 23, pp. 2387-2392 (2009).

S. Cheng, A. D. Stoica, X. L. Wang, Y. Ren, J. Almer, J. A. Horton, C. T. Liu, B. Clausen, D. W. Brown, P. K. Liaw, and L. Zuo, “Deformation Crossover: From Nano to Mesoscale,” Physical Review Letters, Vol. 103, No. 3, p. 035502 (2009).

H. Q. Li, H. Choo, Y. Ren, T. A. Saleh, U. Lienert, P. K. Liaw, and F. Ebrahimi, “Strain-Dependent Deformation Behavior in Nanocrystalline Metals,” Physical Review Letters,  Vol. 101, No. 1, p. 015502 (2008).

Y. He, Y. Jiang, N. P. Xu, J. Zou, B. Y. Huang, C. T. Liu, and P. K. Liaw, “Fabrication of Ti-Al Micro/Nanometer-Sized Porous Alloys through the Kirkendall Effect,” Advanced Materials, Vol. 19, Issue 16, pp. 2102-2106 (2007).

H. Li, C. Fan, K. Tao, H. Choo, and P. K. Liaw, “Compressive Behavior of a Zr-Based Metallic Glass at Cryogenic Temperatures,” Advanced Materials, Vol. 18, No. 6, pp. 752-754 (2006).

C. Fan, H. Li, L. J. Kecskes, K. Tao, H. Choo, P. K. Liaw, and C. T. Liu, “Mechanical Behavior of Bulk Amorphous Alloys Reinforced by Ductile Particles in Cryogenic Temperature,” Physical Review Letters, Vol. 96, No. 14, pp. 145506 1-4 (2006).

Yan-Dong Wang, Yang Ren, Hongqi Li, Hahn Choo, Michael L. Benson, Don Brown, Peter K. Liaw, Gang Wang, D. E. Brown, E. E. Alp, and Liang Zuo, “Tracing Memory in Polycrystalline Ferromagnetic Shape-Memory Alloys,” Advanced Materials, Vol. 18, No. 18, pp. 2392-2396 (2006).

Y. D. Wang, H. B. Tian, A. D. Stoica, X. L. Wang, P. K. Liaw, and J. W. Richardson, “The Development of Grain-Orientation-Dependent-Residual Stresses in a Cyclically Deformed Alloy,” Nature Materials, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 101-106 (2003).

Selected Patents

Method for Bonding Glassy Metals with Patent Number of I33150, Applicants: Shinghoa Wang, Peihung Kuo, Peter K. Liaw, Guojiang Fan, Hsiaotsung Tsang, Dongchun Qiao, and Feng Jiang. Assignment for Published Patent Application: National Taiwan Ocean University; Foreign Application: Taiwan 096148928, 12/20/2007.

Contact Information

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.