Sean Agnew headshot

Sean R. Agnew

Unit: School of Engineering and Applied Science
Department: Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Office location and address
Wilsdorf Hall, Room 224
395 McCormick Rd
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
B.S. Cornell University, 1994
​Ph.D. Northwestern University, 1998

Our research is focused primarily on metals analysis, including magnesium alloy formability, intermetallic behaviors, and aluminum alloy fatigue. Our methods of analysis typically include uses of SEM, TEM, XRD, and Neutron diffraction. Also included in our army of techniques is mechanical testing.

Additive Manufacturing of High-Performance Niobium Alloys Components for Scramjet Applications: Going Beyond Alloy C103
Source: Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station
October 14, 2021 – September 23, 2024
Studies of uranium hydrides by neutron imaging and neutron scattering techniques
Source: Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC.
March 02, 2021 – September 30, 2022
Solute effects on dislocation motion and recovery in Mg alloys
Source: U.S. Department Of Energy - Chicago
July 15, 2018 – July 14, 2022
Accounting for Climb and Cross-Slip in the Polycrystal Plasticity of Non-Cubic Metal
Source: U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)
July 01, 2018 – June 30, 2022
Measuring and modeling the structure and properties of U-6Nb alloys
Source: Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC.
December 01, 2019 – April 30, 2022
Multi-Modal Sensing of Sensitization of Stress Corrosion Cracking Susceptibility in AA5xxx Alloys
Source: Luna Innovations, Inc.
February 28, 2020 – March 03, 2022
EN-MSE Pareto Guided Design Optimization of Thermally Stable Nanocrystalline Materials
Source: Mississippi State University
July 31, 2015 – June 30, 2021
Identifying, Predicting and Preventing Localized Corrosion in Kr-85 Storage Canisters
Source: U.S. Department Of Energy - Idaho
October 01, 2017 – September 30, 2020
Jump Start in Nuclear Materials Education and Research Fellowship Program at the University of Virginia
Source: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
July 01, 2016 – June 30, 2020
EN-MSE Development of Routine Orientation Texture Capabilities at NOMAD
Source: UT-Battelle, LLC
January 04, 2016 – December 31, 2019
In-Situ Neutron Diffraction Study to Investigate Phase Transformation in U-Mo Fuel Alloys
Source: U.S. DOE - Battelle Memorial Institute, Pacific No
May 19, 2017 – September 30, 2019
Exploring Compositionally and Microstructurally Complex Alloys (MPE Alloys) with High Strength/Ductility and Tunable Corrosion Resistance
Source: U.S. DOD - Navy - Office Of Naval Research (Onr)
July 01, 2018 – September 30, 2019
EN-MSE Quantitative Investigation of the Mechanical Performance and Residual Stress of Additively Manufactured Precipitation Strengthened Stainless Steels
Source: U.S. DOD - Navy - Naval Surface Warfare Ctr. (NSWC
April 15, 2016 – April 14, 2019
Aluminum Alloy Sheet/Plate Texture Measurement and Predictions of Plastic Anisotropy and Forming Limit Curves
Source: Novelis Inc.
September 01, 2017 – August 30, 2018
EN-MSE Characterization of Uranium Alloy Castings and Foil
Source: Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC.
March 13, 2015 – September 30, 2017
Dynamic Failure Mitigation through Microstructure Control: Application to Aluminum and Magnesium Alloys
Source: U.S. DOD - Army - Aro
September 10, 2012 – March 31, 2017
DMREF/Collaborative Research: Multi-Scale Modeling and Characterization of Twinning-Induced Plasticity and Fracture in Magnesium Alloys
Source: U.S. NSF - Directorate For Engineering
September 01, 2012 – August 31, 2016
EN-MSE XRD and EBSD Texture Measurements for Magensium Extrusions
Source: Natural Resources Canada
December 14, 2015 – March 31, 2016
EN-MSE Comparisons of the Effects of Manufacturing and Fabrication Processes on Shipbuilding Steels
Source: Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing
June 16, 2014 – December 17, 2015
EN-MSE Characterizing the Microstructure of T8 Heat Treated Mg Alloy WE43B
Source: Virginia Space Grant Consortium
June 01, 2014 – May 31, 2015
In-Situ Neutron Diffraction and Crystal Plasticity Modeling
Source: Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services Y-12, LLC
January 15, 2012 – March 31, 2015
EN-MSE Eddy Current Sensor Development for Sensitization Detection
Source: Luna Innovations, Inc.
January 14, 2013 – January 15, 2015
EN-MSE Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF) Grantees' Workshop; Arlington, Virginia; September 8-10, 2013
Source: U.S. NSF - Directorate For Engineering
August 15, 2013 – July 31, 2014
EN-MSE Blade Wall Thickness Measurement & Process Improvement
Source: Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing
August 15, 2012 – April 30, 2014
Microstructural Characterization
Source: U.S. DOE - National Lab - Oak Ridge
January 06, 2012 – September 30, 2013
ENGR 1624: Introduction to Engineering
Credits: 4
Cornerstone course for first-year SEAS undergraduates, introducing them to engineering practice and design philosophy, via exposure to open-ended, realistic , hands-on challenges. Students engage in both individual and team work, and consider the contexts in which engineering challenges arise. SEAS majors and potential career paths are also introduced. Students who have taken ENGR 1620 or 1621 or both, can't enroll in ENGR 1624.
ENGR 2993: Independent Study
Credits: 1–3
Special tutorial with a topic declared in advance. The topic, work plan, and conditions are arranged by contract between instructor and student and approved by the department Chair, with a copy to be filed in the department office.
MSE 3060: Structures and Defects of Materials
Credits: 3
Basic materials structure concepts are developed, include bonding and crystallography. The structure-property paradigm is illustrated through discussion of the frequently anisotropic properties of crystalline solids, such as elastic moduli, thermal expansion, magnetic properties, and the piezoelectric effect. Descriptions of important defects in crystalline solids, from point defects, to dislocations, to interfaces are introduced along with the thermodynamic and kinetic principles that govern their interactions and roles during materials processing, such as annealing, aging, and sintering. Applications are made to a broad range of materials, from structural alloys to so-called "smart materials" used in sensors and actuators. Prerequisite: MSE 2090 and APMA 2120 or instructor permission.
MSE 4320: Origins of Mechanical Behavior
Credits: 3
Develops understanding of material deformation and fracture in response to mechanical loading. Engineering and scientific principles are integrated in an approach that includes: (a) material property phenomenology,(b) test methods, (c) causal mechanisms at the atomic defect to microstructure scale, (d) governing continuum mechanics equations, and (e) problem solving. Plastic deformation and creep are understood based on elasticity theory and dislocation concepts. Fatigue and fracture are understood based on continuum fracture mechanics and microstructural damage mechanisms. Special Topics provide capstone descriptions of content, and engage the student with future challenges and opportunities. Prerequisite: MSE 3060 or MSE 2090 plus instructor permission.
MSE 4960: Special Project in Materials Science and Engineering
Credits: 1–6
A fourth year project in MSE, under the supervision of a faculty member, is designed to give undergraduate students an application of principles learned in the classroom. The work may be experimental or computational, and the student is expected to become proficient in techniques used to process, characterize, or model materials. The project should make use of design principles in the solution of a problem. Six hours in lab per week, notebook. Prerequisite: 4th year standing and prior approval by a faculty member who is project supervisor.
MSE 6020: Defects and Microstructure in Materials
Credits: 3
Basic course designed to provide a foundation for correlating defect structure and microstructure with physical, mechanical and chemical properties of engineering materials. The fundamental properties of point, line and surface defects in ordered media will be formulated. The thermodynamics of point defects in various types of solids will be discussed as well as the geometry and mechanics of crystal dislocations and their role in crystal plasticity elucidated. The essential elements of microstructure will be characterized emphasizing the concepts of phase constitution, microconstituent, polycrystalline aggregate and multiphase materials. The concept of real materials embodying a hierarchy of structures is emphasized. The principles governing the genesis and stability of material structure at various levels will be discussed. Prerequisite: MSE 6010.
MSE 6320: Deformation and Fracture of Structural Materials
Credits: 3
Deformation and fracture are considered through integration of materials science microstructure and solid mechanics principles over a range of length scales, emphasizing the mechanical behavior of metallic-structural alloys and electronic materials. Metal deformation is understood based on elasticity theory and dislocation concepts. Fracture is understood based on continuum fracture mechanics and microstructural damage mechanisms. Additional topics include fatigue, elevated temperature behavior, material embrittlement, time-dependency, experimental design, damage-tolerant life prognosis, small-volume behavior, and material property modeling. Prerequisite: MSE 4320, or BS in MSE, or MSE 6050, or permission of instructor for graduate students outside of MSE.
ENGR 6890: Industrial Applications
Credits: 1–3
Students register for this course to complement an industry work experience. Topics focus on the application of engineering principles, analysis, methods and best practices in an industrial setting. A final report is required. Registration is only offered on a Credit/No Credit basis. Courses taken for Credit/No Credit may not be used for any major or degree requirements.
MSE 6995: Supervised Project Research
Credits: 1–12
Formal record of student commitment to project research for Master of Science or Master of Materials Science degree under the guidance of a faculty advisor. May be repeated as necessary.
MSE 7993: Independent Study
Credits: 1–12
Detailed study of graduate course material on an independent basis under the guidance of a faculty member.
MSE 8999: Masters Degree Research
Credits: 1–12
Formal record of student commitment to master's thesis research under the guidance of a faculty advisor. May be repeated as necessary.
EP 8999: Master's Degree Research
Credits: 1–12
Formal record of student commitment to master's thesis research under the guidance of a faculty advisor. May be repeated as necessary.
MSE 9970: Graduate Teaching Instruction-Ph.D.
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral students.
MSE 9999: PHD Dissertation Research
Credits: 1–12
Formal record of student commitment to doctoral research under the guidance of a faculty advisor. May be repeated as necessary.
EP 9999: Ph.D. Dissertation Research
Credits: 1–12
Formal record of commitment to doctoral research under the guidance of a faculty advisor. May be repeated as necessary.