Christopher Schuh

Visiting Professor

Primary Impact, Materials, Research Type

Contact Info

Office Phone: 847-491-5220
Website/Lab: Northwestern Profile


Professor Christopher Schuh’s research group uses experiments, analytical theory, and computer simulations to explore the processing-structure-property relationships in structural materials such as metals and ceramics. He and his colleagues are particularly interested in the design of new materials from the atomic level up, including alloys with designer grain boundaries and functional ceramics optimized by lattice engineering. They study design and processing of those materials, with an emphasis on fundamental science applicable to technology transfer and eventual full-scale production. Their work includes study on materials in extreme conditions often encountered in advanced processing methods or in severe applications.


Professor Schuh was the POSCO Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT until August 2023; he is now Dean of the McCormick School of Engineering and the John G. Searle Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University.

Schuh earned a BS in materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1997 and a PhD at Northwestern University in 2001. He was the Ernest O. Lawrence postdoctoral fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2001 before joining the faculty at MIT in 2002. He has co-founded several metallurgical companies, including Xtalic, which commercialized a Schuh Group process for producing metallic coatings now used in electrical connectors worldwide. He also co-founded additive manufacturing startup Desktop Metal, which develops metal 3-D printers, and Foundation Alloy, a metal part production platform.

Key Publications

Low-hysteresis shape-memory ceramics designed by multimode modeling

Created a category of shape-memory materials from ceramics that can operate at higher temperatures without sustaining much damage.

Shape-memory materials function as actuators, changing shape as a reaction to external stimuli such as heat. Ductile metals, popular materials in this category, withstand damage well. But their utility is limited as they do not function well at high temperatures.

Many applications, such as jet engine operations, require actuators that can withstand the stress generated by high heat. Having a single solid-state ceramic material can help in such situations. Ceramic actuators can potentially also work in microscale applications like lab-on-a-chip devices, which integrate laboratory functions on a single circuit.

Awards & Honors

National Academy of Engineering
National Academy of Inventors
Fellow, American Society for Metals
Fellow, The Minerals, Metals & Metals Society
MacVicar Faculty Fellow, MIT