Chew gains Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research


Huck Beng Chew, left, and his research group
Huck Beng Chew, left, and his research group
Aerospace Engineering at Illinois Assistant Prof. Huck Beng Chew has been honored with the 2017 College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research.

An AE faculty member since 2011, Chew uses multi-scale modeling and simulations to gain a mechanistic understanding of the fracture and failure processes of small-scale material structures. “My research philosophy is physics motivated,” Chew said. “Given interesting experimental or physical phenomena, I strive to uncover the fundamental mechanisms that govern these phenomena.”

Chew engages in diverse investigations, with notable contributions in:

  • Deformation and failure of high-capacity electrodes in lithium ion batteries
  • Nanoscale mechanics of interfaces
  • Patterning of graphene nanostructures

Among his accomplishments have been the development of novel mechanics tools, and the applications of the tools to predict improved strength and toughness for a range of materials, including nanolayers, wavy nanoscale interfaces, high-capacity battery electrodes, and graphene.

AE Prof. John Lambros said Chew has been able to obtain local material properties from global response observations. “For nano- and microscale mechanics problems this is a very significant result since in many of these types of problems local experimental measurements are difficult to make, thus forcing us to extract local properties mainly from what would be considered far-field measurements,” Lambros said.

Chew earned three mechanical engineering degrees from the National University of Singapore: a bachelor’s in 2002: a master’s in 2003, and a PhD in 2007. He was a postdoctoral research associate at Brown University before joining the AE faculty.