Department of Mechanical Engineering


James C. M. Li

Emeritus Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Emeritus Professor of Materials Science


221 Hopeman Hall
(585) 275-4038
Fax: (585) 256-2509

Research Interests

Materials science and micromechanics; Platinum nanowires and networks as fuel cell electrodes; Whisker growth from tin coatings; Nanocrystalline materials

Research Overview

My research is in the area of materials science and micromechanics, dealing mainly with the relation between macroscopic properties and microstructure. Mechanical properties are of primary concern, although thermodynamic properties, transport mechanisms and electronic, optical and magnetic behaviors are of interest also. Both theoretical (including computer simulation) and experimental investigations are emphasized.

Current topics include platinum nanowires and networks as fuel cell electrodes, whisker growth from tin coatings, spontaneous combustion processing of near shaped intermetallic compounds and mechanical properties of nanocrystalline materials. Other topics include localized testing such as impression creep using micron-sized cylindrical indenters to determine adhesion, work hardening, viscosity, and the kinetics of stress relaxation.

Most of my PhD students are working in industry: four at Xerox, three at MRL/ITRI in Taiwan, and one each at Kodak, G.M., 3M, ATT Laboratory, Dow, Shell Development, Sandia, Naval Research Laboratory, Inland Steel, United Technology, Delphi, Philips Electronics, Stoody and Gerson. Four of my students are in academia.

Representative Publications

  1. “A New Mechanism for Superplasticity” in “Science and Technology of Interfaces” International Symp. in honor of Dr. Bhakta Rath (Ed. By S. Ankem, et al. TMS, 2002) pp 155-169
  2. “Reaction Mechanism of Combustion Synthesis of NiAl” Mat. Sci. Eng. A329, 57-68 (2002)
  3. “Cross Deformation and Stress Relaxation of Biaxially Oriented Polystyrene Films” J. Polym. Sci. Part B Polym. Phys. 41, 687-700 (2003)
  4. “Diffusion Induced Beam Bending in Hydrogen Sensors” J. Appl. Phys. 93, 9304-9309 (2003)
  5. “Adiabatic Temperature of Combustion Syntheses of Al-Ni Systems” Mat. Sci. Eng. A357, 248-257(2003)
  6. “Effect of Moisture on the Contact between a Cylinder and a Parallel Plate” J. Adhesion 81, 1049-1073 (2005) (with Chenny Zhenyu Wang)
  7. “Spontaneous Whisker Growth on Lead-free Solder Finishes” Mat. Sci. Eng. A409, 131-139 (2005) (with K. N. Tu)
  8. “Internal Stresses in Plasticity, Microplasticity and Ductile Fracture” Mat. Sci. Eng. A421, 194-108 (2006) (with C. C. Chau)
  9. “Mechanical Grain Growth in Nanocrystalline Copper” Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 215506 (2006)
  10. “Deformation Behavior of Tin and Some Tin Alloys” J. Mat. Sci. Mat. Electronics 18, 191-210 (2007) (with Fuqian Yang)
  11. “Grain Boundary Impurity and Porosity Effects on the Yield Strength of Nanocrystalline Materials” Appl Phys. Lett, 90, 041912 (2007)
  12. “Coupling between Grain Growth and Grain Rotation” Appl. Phys. Lett. 90, 161915 (2007)