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Steve Zinkle

Governor's Chair for Nuclear Materials, UTK


Steve Zinkle is a UTK/ORNL Governor’s Chair in the Nuclear Engineering Department with a joint appointment in the Materials Science & Engineering Department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Prior to October, 2013, he was the Chief Scientist of the Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate and a Corporate Fellow at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). He previously served as the director of the ORNL Materials Science and Technology Division from 2006 - 2010, and in a variety of research scientist and program management roles since he joined ORNL in 1985 as a Eugene Wigner fellow. Much of his research has utilized materials science to explore fundamental physical phenomena that are important for advanced nuclear energy applications. His research interests include deformation and fracture mechanisms in structural materials, design and development of new high-performance structural materials, and investigation of radiation effects in ceramics, fuel systems, and metallic alloys for fusion and fission energy systems. His research has been instrumental in defining performance limits and operating temperature windows for materials in nuclear energy systems. He received his PhD in Nuclear Engineering and an MS in Materials Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985. He has written over 240 peer-reviewed publications, is a recipient of the 2006 U.S. Department of Energy E.O. Lawrence Award, and is a fellow of 7 professional societies including American Physical Society, The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS), the American Nuclear Society, Materials Research Society, ASM International and the American Ceramic Society. His awards include the inaugural Robert W. Cahn award from Elsevier in 2010, the 2007 Mishima Award from the American Nuclear Society for outstanding R&D on nuclear materials and fuels, and the 2010 University of Wisconsin College of Engineering Distinguished Achievement Award. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.


Radiation effects in materials

Deformation and fracture mechanisms in structural materials

Fusion reactor materials

Fission reactor materials

Materials processing and performance under extreme conditions

Microstructure-property relationships

Thermal and electrical conductivity mechanisms in materials

Transmission electron microscopy

Accident tolerant fuel systems

Nonequilibrium and additive manufacturing processes


K.A. Terrani, S.J. Zinkle, L.L. Snead, “Advanced Oxidation Resistant Iron-Based Alloys for LWR Fuel Cladding,” J. Nucl. Mater., in press (July, 2013). DOI 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2013.06.041

S.J. Zinkle and G.S. Was, “Materials Challenges in Nuclear Energy”, Acta Materialia Diamond Jubilee volume, Acta Materialia 61, no. 3 (2013) 735-758.

S.J. Zinkle, "Effects of H and He Irradiation on Cavity Formation and Blistering in Ceramics", Nucl. Instr. Meth. Phys. Res. B 286, (2012) 4-19.

S.J. Zinkle and N.M. Ghoniem, “Prospects for Accelerated Development of High Performance Structural Materials”, J. Nucl. Mater. 417, no. 1-3 (2011) 2-8.

S.J. Zinkle and J.T. Busby, “Structural Materials for Fission and Fusion Energy”, Materials Today 12, no. 11 (2009) 12-19.

D.C. Chrzan, J.W. Morris, Jr., Y.N. Osetsky, R.E. Stoller and S.J. Zinkle, “What is the Limit of Nanoparticle Strengthening?”, MRS Bulletin 34, no. 3 (Mar. 2009) 173-177.

Y. Matsukawa and S.J. Zinkle, “One-dimensional Fast Migration of Vacancy Clusters in Metals”, Science, 318, no. 5852 (Nov, 9, 2007) 959-962.

L.L. Snead, S.J. Zinkle and D.P. White, "Thermal Conductivity Degradation of Ceramic Materials due to Low Temperature Low Dose Neutron Irradiation", J. Nucl. Mater. 340 (2005) 187-202.

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