De Boer group: Mechanics of Materials

Our group works within the discipline of Mechanics of Materials, which combines a rigorous understanding of the stress states imposed by applied forces with research into the microscopic mechanisms that metals, ceramics and polymers employ to accommodate the associated deformations.

Our current areas of emphasis are in

de Boer research image
  • Understanding the behavior of grain boundary phases, known as complexions, in metals
  • Manufacturing and joining of Inconels, stainless steels, low carbon steels, and refractory metals by the 3-D printing method known as directed energy deposition
  • Micro- and nanoswitch reliability, and
  • Developing high temperature structural material for applications in microelectromechanical systems and as an actuator material for thin film mechanical behavior studies including creep.

The image to the right shows a test platform our group developed to elucidate the laws of friction at the microscale, as featured in a December 2022 article in the Materials Research Society Bulletin.  We have conducted extensive research on enhancing the reliability of micromachined devices, including fabrication, test and analysis of new structures, and of building advanced test chambers.

We collaborate with faculty in the Materials Science, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering departments.


Maarten P. de Boer

Maarten P. de Boer

Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Courtesy Appointment, Materials Science and Engineering

Maarten de Boer earned the bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, and the master’s degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder, both in Electrical Engineering, with an emphasis on solid-state device technology. He earned the PhD from the University of Minnesota in Materials Science, concentrating on fracture mechanics. Before joining Carnegie Mellon in 2007, he fabricated integrated circuits as a process engineer at Hewlett-Packard in Fort Collins, Colorado, and investigated mechanisms underpinning MEMS reliability as a principal member of technical staff at Sandia National Labs, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Scaife Hall 417
Google Scholar
Maarten P. de Boer


Below, you'll find representative research projects from the de Boer Group.

Research Team

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Deepak Kumar


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MD Shariful Islam


Jose Loli

Jose Loli


Jack Beuth
Bryan Webler
Research interests
High entropy alloy development for high temperature oxidation resistance; additive manufacturing of metals with powder-bed and powder feed systems
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AJ Stair


Jack Beuth
Bryan Webler
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Kyle Schneider


Michael McHenry

Past students

  • Sid Hazra (2010, Ostendo)
  • Vitali Brand (2014, Lam Research)
  • Emrecan Soylemez (2014, Marmara University, Turkey)
  • Mohamed Saleh (2015, Prince Mohammad Univ., Saudia Arabia)
  • Sameer Shroff (2015, Bettis Labs)
  • Changho Oh (2018, Lam Research)
  • Ramesh Shrestha (2018, KLA)
  • Prince Singh (2019, Bosch India)
  • Longchang Ni (2021, Intel)
  • Nick Jones (2022, Vulcan Forms)


Course Course Name Location Units Semester Offered
24-652 Special Topics: Mechanical Properties of Engineering Materials Pittsburgh 12 Fall
24-251 Electronics for Sensing and Actuation Pittsburgh 3 Fall, Spring
24-651 Material Selection for Mechanical Engineers Pittsburgh 12 Spring
24-751 Introduction to Solid Mechanics I Pittsburgh 12 Fall
24-221 Thermodynamics Pittsburgh 10 Fall
24-351 Dynamics Pittsburgh 10 Fall


For a list of Maarten de Boer's publications, please see the following: 

Media mentions

CMU Engineering

Tantalizing tantalum actuators and sensors

Can this refractory metal be an efficient substitute material in microelectromechanical system (MEMS) thermal actuators?

Mechanical Engineering

Driving ahead

From ensuring the supply quality of powertrain plastics to project managing Ford's new electric pickup truck, master's alumna Stephanie Jennings is applying the analytical and problem-solving skills she learned in MechE to her career.

CMU Engineering

A big comeback for a little switch

Maarten de Boer and Gianluca Piazza are developing reliable, mechanical switches the size of a DNA molecule, thanks to a $2M LEAP-HI grant from the National Science Foundation.

Journal of Applied Physics

de Boer's article featured on journal cover

A paper by MechE’s Maarten de Boer was featured on the cover of Journal of Applied Physics. It was also promoted as an Editor’s Pick and will be displayed on the journal’s homepage.

Singh wins fifth preliminary round of 3MT

MechE Ph.D. candidate Prince Singh, advised by Maarten de Boer, was the winner of the CMU Libraries’ Three Minute Thesis (3MT) fifth preliminary round. The internationally recognized competition challenges Ph.D. students to consolidate their research projects, goals, and ideas in a three-minute oral presentation. The final competition will be help on Tuesday, March 26 in Kresge Theater in CFA at 4:30 p.m. 

Mechanical Engineering

Exploring high-entropy alloys

Collaborators De Boer, Poczos, and Webler receive a Manufacturing Futures Initiative (MFI) award to explore high-entropy alloys, a new class of metal alloy.

CMU Engineering

A high-tech spin on spider silk

This game-changing technology can transform polymers from soft and thermally insulating materials to an ultra-strong and thermally conductive material.

Mechanical Engineering

Engineering students and Congressman Doyle explore the role of tribology in industry and the economy

This semester, Carnegie Mellon University students had the opportunity to share tribology research projects with United States Representative Mike Doyle as part of the course, Material Selection for Mechanical Engineers.

Mechanical Engineering

From earthquakes to micromachines

Carnegie Mellon University Ph.D. alumnus Sameer Shroff and Professor Maarten de Boer published two companion papers detailing their research on micromachine friction.