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George Pharr

Materials Science and Engineering, UT


Dr. George M. Pharr is Chancellor's Professor and McKamey Professor of Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT). He also holds a Joint Faculty position in the Materials Science and Technology Division at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). He received his BS in Mechanical Engineering at Rice University in 1975 and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford in 1979. After one year of postdoctoral study at the University of Cambridge, England, he returned to Rice in 1980 as a faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. He moved to his current joint position at UT/ORNL in 1998 and has been Head of the UT Materials Science and Engineering Department since 2006. He currently also serves as the Director of the UT/ORNL Joint Institute for Advanced Materials.

Dr. Pharr received ASM International’s Bradley Stoughton Award for Young Teachers of Metallurgy in 1985 and was elected a Fellow of ASM International in 1995. His honors also include the Amoco Award for Superior Teaching at Rice University in 1995, the University of Tennessee Chancellor's Award for Research and Creative Achievement in 2004, and a Humboldt Senior Scientist Award in 2007. In 2010, he and Dr. Warren C. Oliver of Nanomechanics Inc. were selected as the inaugural recipients of the Materials Research Society's Innovation in Materials Characterization Award for their work on the development of nanoindentation.  Dr. Pharr has been an Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Ceramic Society since 1990, served as Volume Organizer for the MRS Bulletin in 2000, and organized/edited special focus issues on indentation testing in the Journal of Materials Research (2004 and 2009) and Philosophical Magazine (2006). He has chaired or co-chaired many professional society meetings including the 1995 Spring Meeting of the Materials Research Society in San Francisco and the 2000 Gordon Research Conference on Thin Film Mechanical Behavior, which he co-founded in 1998. He is an author or co-author of more than 200 scientific publications, including 4 book chapters, and an ISI highly cited researcher in Materials Science. His research focuses on measuring mechanical properties at very small scales, micron and submicron, and using that information to understand the fundamental mechanisms of deformation and fracture.


W.C. Oliver and G.M. Pharr, "Nanoindentation in Materials Research: Past, Present, and Future", MRS Bulletin 35, pp. 897-907 (2010).

G.M. Pharr, E.G. Herbert, and Y.F. Gao, "The Indentation Size Effect: A Critical Examination of Experimental Observations and Mechanistic Interpretations", Annual Reviews in Materials Research 40, pp. 271-290 (2010).

G.M. Pharr, J.H. Strader, and W.C. Oliver, "Critical Issues in Making Small-depth Mechanical Property Measurements by Nanoindentation with Continuous Stiffness Measurement", Journal of Materials Research24, pp. 653-666 (2009).

E.G. Herbert, W.C. Oliver, A. Lumsdaine, and G.M. Pharr, "Measuring the Constitutive Behavior of Viscoelastic Solids in the Time and Frequency Domain Using Flat Punch Nanoindentation", Journal of Materials Research 24, pp. 626-637 (2009).

H. Bei, S. Shim, G.M. Pharr, and E.P. George, "Effects of Pre-strain on the Compressive Stress-Strain Response of Mo-alloy Single Crystal Micro-pillars", Acta Materialia 56, pp. 4762-4770 (2008). 

Jae-il Jang and G.M. Pharr, "Influence of Indenter Angle on Cracking in Si and Ge During Nanoindentation", Acta Materialia 56, pp. 4458-4469 (2008).

Y.F. Gao, H.T. Xu, W.C. Oliver, and G.M. Pharr, "Effective Elastic Modulus of Film-on-Substrate Systems Under Normal and Tangential Contact", Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids 56, pp. 402-416 (2008).

Y.F. Gao, H. Xu, W.C. Oliver, and G.M. Pharr, "A Comparison of Coulomb Friction and Friction Stress Models Based on Multidimensional Nanocontact Experiments", Journal of Applied Mechanics 75, pp. 034504 1-3 (2008).

H. Bei, Y.F. Gao, S. Shim, E.P. George, and G.M. Pharr, "Strength Differences Arising from Homogeneous vs. Heterogeneous Dislocation Nucleation", Physical Review B 77, 060103 (2008).

W.C. Oliver and G.M. Pharr, "An Improved Technique for Determining Hardness and Elastic Modulus Using Load and Displacement Sensing Indentation Experiments", Journal of Materials Research 7, pp. 1564-1583 (1992).


UT Department of Materials Science & Engineering

UT Chancellor's Professors

ORNL Center for Defect Physics

Materials Research Society ICMC Award 2010

Joint Institute for Advanced Materials

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