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Ian Baker

Ian Baker

Sherman Fairchild Professor of Engineering

Senior Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Programs

Baker discusses his research, focusing on the properties and the mechanical and magnetic behavior of materials, and how this work can help power plants be much more energy efficient.

Research Interests

Materials for energy systems; mechanical behavior; phase tranformations; electron microscopy; x-ray topography; x-ray diffraction; microstructure and mechanical behavior of snow, firn, and ice; magnetic materials; intermetallic compounds; high entropy alloys; high temperature materials; nanoparticles for magnetic hyperthermia; biomaterials


  • BA, Metallurgy and Science of Materials, University of Oxford 1979
  • D.Phil, Metallurgy and Science of Materials, University of Oxford 1982

Professional Activities

  • Organizer, Physics and Chemistry of Ice 2014, Dartmouth College, March 2014
  • Organizer, 2014 MRS Fall Meeting Symposium on Intermetallic-based Alloys – Science, Technology, and Applications
  • Editorial Board, Nano Life (2009-)
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Intermetallics (1998-)
  • Editorial Board, Metals (2010-)
  • Editor in Chief, Materials Characterization (2009-2020)
  • Editorial Board, International Materials Reviews (2002-2020)
  • Reviewer for various U.S., Canadian, Hong Kong, Swiss, French, and Australian government agencies and numerous journals.
  • Consulting to various companies on microstructural characterization and materials processing
  • Editor of the proceedings of five conferences


  • 2015 Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • 2012 Fellow, Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS)
  • 2011 Fellow, Materials Research Society
  • 2003 Listed in ISI citation index of highly-cited Materials Scientists
  • 2002 Fellow, The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (U.K.)
  • 2001 Fellow, ASM international
  • 1993 Chartered Engineer (C.Eng.) of The Engineering Council (U.K.)

Selected Publications

  1. “Effect of solute on microstructural evolution during directional recrystallization”, C. Yang and I. Baker, Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 815 (2020) 152358 (15 pages).
  2. “High Strength and High Ductility in a Novel Fe40.2Ni11.3Mn30Al7.5Cr11 Multiphase High Entropy Alloy”, M. Wu and I. Baker, Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 820 (2020) 153181 (11 pages).
  3. “Effect of soluble particles on microstructural evolution during directional recrystallization” C. Yang and I. Baker, Acta Materialia, 188 (2020) 288-301.
  4. “A comparison of the dry sliding wear behavior of NiCoCr medium entropy alloy with 316 stainless steel”, X. Guo, I. Baker, F.E. Kennedy and M. Song, Materials Characterization, 160 (2020) 110132.
  5. “An Organo-Apatitic Composite Cement: pH Effects and Reaction Product Evolution”, F. Prifti Kesseli, C. Lauer, I. Baker, K. Mirica and D. Van Citters, Acta Biomaterialia, 105 (2020) 280-289.
  6. “A model for French-press experiments of dry snow compaction”, C.R. Meyer, K.M. Keegan, I. Baker and R.L. Hawley, The Cryosphere 14 (2020) 1449–1458.
  7. “Interstitials in f.c.c. High Entropy Alloys”, I. Baker, Metals, 10 (2020) 695 (20 pages). doi:10.3390/met10050695
  8. “Enhanced Mechanical Properties of Carbon-doped FeNiMnAlCr High Entropy Alloy via Hot-Rolling”, M. Wu, C. Yang, M. Kuijer and I. Baker, Materials Characterization, 158 (2019) 109983 (6 pages).
  9. "The effects of carbon on the phase stability and mechanical properties of heat-treated FeNiMnCrAl high entropy alloys," M. Wu, Z. Li, B. Gault, P. Munroe and I. Baker, Materials Science and Engineering: A, 748 (2019) 59–73.
  10. “Climatic effects on firn microstructure are preserved within the firn column,” K. Keegan, M. Albert, J.R. McConnell and I. Baker, Journal of Geophysical Research—Earth Surface, 124 (2019) 830–837.
  11. “Characterization of high-strength high‑nitrogen austenitic stainless steel synthesized from nitrided powders by spark plasma sintering”, L. Hu, H. Peng, L. Lia, Ian Baker, W. Zhang, Materials Characterization, 152 (2019) 76-84.
  12. “Effects of Niobium Particles on the Wear Behavior of Powder Metallurgical γ-TiAl alloy in Different Environments”, J. Qiu, Z. Fu, B. Liu, Y. Liu, J. Yan, D. Pan, W. Zhang and I. Baker, Wear, 434-435 (2019) 202964.


  • ENGS 133: Methods of Materials Characterization
  • ENGG 195: Seminar on Science - Technology and Society
  • ENGG 198: Research-In-Progress Workshop


  • High-strength nanostructured alloys | 7,815,850
  • System and method for use of nanoparticles in imaging and temperature measurement | 7,994,786
  • Joining of parts via magnetic heating of metal-aluminum powders | 8,172,126
  • Joining of parts via magnetic heating of metal aluminum powders | 8,444,045
  • Nanostructured Mn-Al permanent magnets and methods of producing same | 8,999,233
  • Oxidation resistant high-entropy alloys | 10,190,197

Research Projects

  • High-strength, high-ductility, high entropy alloys with high-efficiency native oxide solar absorbers for concentrated solar power systems

    High-strength, high-ductility, high entropy alloys with high-efficiency native oxide solar absorbers for concentrated solar power systems

    This project is investigating the synergy between the excellent mechanical behavior of FeMnNiAlCr high entropy alloys (HEAs) and the high solar absorptance of their native thermal oxides for high efficiency concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) systems working at >700oC. The alloy itself would be used in high-temperature tubing to carry molten salts or supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2), while the native oxide would act as a high-efficiency solar thermal absorber. The oxide layer is also dense and protective against oxidation (parabolic growth kinetics) at 750 °C. This new Fe-Mn based HEA system has already demonstrated a higher tensile strength and ductility than more expensive Ni-based Inconel 740 superalloys at both room temperature (with carbon doping) and 750oC (with Ti doping), and their native thermal oxides have achieved a high optical-to-thermal conversion efficiency of ηtherm=90.8% at 750°C under 1000x solar concentration ratio. In preliminary corrosion studies, two-phase Cr-modified HEAs have sustained bromide molten salts for 14 days at 750°C with <2% weight loss. The project has close collaborations with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the Ames Laboratory in computational materials science and atom probe tomography (APT) to understand the fundamental structure-property relationship in FeMnNiAlCr HEAs.

    Funded by DOE.

  • Understanding the deformation behavior of alumina-forming austenitic stainless steels

    Understanding the deformation behavior of alumina-forming austenitic stainless steels

    Even with the increasing use of renewable energy, the primary energy sources for the foreseeable future for power generation are likely to be fossil fuels. Thus, for economic reasons, it is critical to use these resources as efficiently as possible. Increasing a power plant’s operating temperature increases its efficiency. The limiting factor for higher temperature is materials that can operate at higher temperatures, and are economically viable. The aim of this project is to elucidate the deformation mechanisms in alumina-forming austenitic (AFA) stainless steels that are being considered for this application.

    The project will ascertain the deformation mechanisms associated with grain boundary (GB) precipitation strengthening, and attempt to understand the fundamental deformation behavior in alloys containing both a precipitate free zone (PFZ) and multiple types of precipitates in both the GBs and the matrix each of which can contribute differently to the deformation behavior. The work will be performed on the model AFA stainless steel Fe-20Cr-30Ni-2Nb-5Al. Detailed microstructural and defect characterization by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) wlll be performed before and after mechanical testing. TEM in-situ straining and SEM in-situ straining studies performed at both room temperature and 750°C will examine both dislocation/precipitate and dislocation/GB interactions, including understanding the role of the PFZ along the GBs.

    Funded by National Science Foundation (NSF).

  • New Hampshire Center for Multiscale Modeling and Manufacturing of Biomaterials (NH Bio-MADE)

    New Hampshire Center for Multiscale Modeling and Manufacturing of Biomaterials (NH Bio-MADE)

    Orthopedic implants are often required to replace or support damaged skeletal structures. For this application and many others, an individualized component, determined, through, for example, an MRI scan, is required for repairs. Thus, the ability to rapid prototype biomedical implants for mass customization is desirable. Furthermore, the final product properties and characteristics are critical to, for example, reduce the gauge thickness and, thus, the weight of the component. Computational modeling is necessary to optimize the final product. Cost is important so creating the component from stock sheet metal, as opposed to from metal powder, machining from a large workpiece, or casting the component, is advantageous. Furthermore, by work hardening of the material through forming, increased strength is achieved.

    With respect to sheet metal, characterizing the material behavior thoroughly is essential to produce an optimal final product. Tests to characterize the material, e.g. uniaxial tension/compression (Marciniak tests), are typically performed under proportional loading and follow a linear deformation path. Such testing can produce a failure criterion for the material, e.g., a forming limit curve (FLC), which represents the planar strain values in sheet metal above which the deformation localizes into a diffuse neck. The strain path dependence of FLCs has been documented by a number of workers. During forming, the deformation path can be intentionally manipulated to improve the forming process. For example, if a sharp corner feature is desired in a component, a generous radius is formed first, then a restrike operation is performed in the corner with the desired sharp punch tool. The variation in the deformation path allows the final strain values to be below the FLC and, thus, avoids failure. While such industrial applications are well known, the phenomenon which allows this increased formability during non-linear deformation path loading is poorly understood. This project will test the hypothesis that the increased formability exhibited by metallic alloys during non-linear deformation paths results from dislocation mechanisms, i.e., recombination and change of glide systems upon strain-path change, which prevents strain localizations due to pile-ups at grain or phase boundaries or other interfaces in the microstructure. Increment forming of stainless steel and titanium parts is being performed at the University of New Hampshire alongside numerical modeling of the process, while analysis of the dislocation structures using transmission electron microscopy and scanning electron microscopy is being performed at Dartmouth.

    Funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation EPSCOR program.

  • Cryogenic wear of novel high-entropy alloys

    Cryogenic wear of novel high-entropy alloys

    This project explores the complex interactions between materials (two novel high entropy alloys CoCrFeMnNi and carbon-doped FeNiMnAlCr, and stainless steel), temperature, sliding velocity and testing environment during dry sliding wear at room and cryogenic temperatures. Wear is the major determinant of durability of mechanical components, and therefore it has significant economic ramifications throughout industry, particularly in the energy, manufacturing, medical and transportation sectors. The task of designing tribological components to resist wear is becoming even more difficult as the components have to face higher operating speeds and more difficult operating environments. The information gained by the proposed research will assist engineers in this important task. The results will be published in refereed journals and presented at conferences. The projectwill lead totraining of a Ph.D. student and several undergraduates.

    The aim of this project is to examine the hypotheses that the high entropy alloys (HEAs) CoCrFeMnNi and carbon-doped Fe40.4Ni11.3Mn34.8Al7.5Cr6, because of their superior yield strengths compared to stainless steel, will show better wear resistance than stainless steel at 77 K, that that the contacting surfaces of the two alloys will be resistant to phase transformations during dry sliding wear at either room temperature or 77 K, and that the worn surfaces will not exhibit ferromagnetism, whereas austenitic stainless steel AISI 316 will exhibit both of these problems. Dry sliding pin-on-disk wear tests will be performed at both 77 K and 293 K at different sliding velocities and in different environments, i.e. dry air, argon, on these two HEAs and compared to the behavior of 316 stainless steel. We will determine the relationship between the microstructure, deformation processes (including material transfer), phase transformations, friction and wear behavior, including the role played by third bodies (wear debris) on the wear process. A key issue is the role of sliding velocity. Dry sliding friction at higher sliding velocities results in higher temperatures that can soften the material being worn, enabling compaction of wear debris onto the worn surface to form a protective tribolayer, thus reducing wear rates. Higher sliding velocities also produce plastic deformation at higher shear rates that can work harden the material or induce a phase transformation. We will determine which of these effects will dominate. Microstructural characterization of the pre- and post-wear specimens will include transmission electron microscopy, including X-ray dispersive spectroscopy; computed-assisted profilometry; X-ray diffraction; nanoindentation; cross-sectional scanning electron microscopy, atom probe tomography; and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.

    Funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

  • Quantifying the role of APB tubes on the work-hardening of ordered phases

    Quantifying the role of APB tubes on the work-hardening of ordered phases

    Anti-phase boundary (APB) tubes are linear defects that are 2-5 nm in height and width and up to several microns long that can be generated in some ordered alloys when they are deformed. The APB tubes have a strain field associated with them that can interact with gliding dislocations during deformation. The aim of this project is to quantify the contribution of APB tubes to the strength both of ordered alloys and of ordered phases in high entropy alloys (HEAs).

    In this project we will: (1) determine the APB tube formation mechanisms via transmission electron microscope (TEM) in situstraining experiments; (2) perform tensile tests to various strains and measure both the APB tube and dislocation density using a combination of TEM, calorimetry, and possibly electron channeling contrast imaging in a scanning electron microscope at each strain, and use these data to model the work-hardening rate; (3) anneal out the APB tubes (but not the mobile dislocations) from strained specimens and determine the effect on the subsequent flow stress and work-hardening rate in order to provide insight into the mechanisms of APB tube strengthening; (4) relate synchrotron X-ray diffraction measurements of APB tube density to the flow stress continuously usingin situdeformation experiments; and (5) examine the chemistry of the APB tubes in a HEA using atom probe tomography.

    The outcome will be to have directly observed APB tube formation mechanisms; determined the strengthening mechanism associated with these APB tubes using TEM in situstraining experiments coupled with annealing studies; and to have used the experimental information obtained to quantitatively model the effects of APB tubes on the work hardening in a “traditional” B2-structured intermetallic compound; a new L12-structured HEA; and a novel strong, ductile, two-phase HEA consisting of both B2 and L12phases.

    This project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

  • High performance NiFe permanent magnets for electric motors and turbines

    High performance NiFe permanent magnets for electric motors and turbines

    In this project we aim to establish a low-cost method to produce L1o-structured NiFe, which has magnetic properties comparable to the best rare earth magnets. Replacing the latter in electric motors in electric/hybrid cars and wind turbines will lead to not only large cost reductions, and hence greater adoption of these technologies with associated energy reductions, but also a reduction in RE metal production with substantial environmental benefits including a reduction in energy usage in their production.

    The novel approaches used to produce L1o NiFe include:

    • the incorporation of a supersaturation of vacancies;
    • electropulse annealing;
    • high magnetic field processing; and
    • recrystallization annealing after high pressure torsion processing.

    In addition, we will develop a cost-performance model for the material and perform a market analysis.

    Funded by Dartmouth’s Irving Institute for Energy and Society.

  • ECAE processing of Tau-MnAl magnets

    ECAE processing of Tau-MnAl magnets

    Demand for high-performance permanent magnets is increasing rapidly for applications such as wind turbine generators and motors in both electric and hybrid cars. This market is served by rare earth (RE) magnets based on Nd2Fe14B and Sm2Co17. RE magnets are not without issues; they can chip, suffer thermal shock, and can suffer grain boundary corrosion. However, their biggest problems are: price volatility; that China largely controls the RE metals market; and that the extraction of RE metals creates severe environmental degradation. L10-structured Tau-MnAl has been of interest as a permanent magnet since the early 1960s. It has a theoretical energy product, (BH)max, between that of AlNiCo magnets and RE magnets with a value (12 MGOe) comparable to that of bonded Nd2Fe14B magnets. Further, it does not suffer from the issues associated with RE magnets, and potentially has the lowest cost per MGOe of any permanent magnet. The enigma is that the theoretical (BH)max has never been achieved: mechanically-milled particulates can show high coercivity (HC) but low saturation magnetization (MS) while warm-extruded material can show high MS but low HC. Tau-MnAlis a metastable phase that transforms from the high temperature ε phase, during which anti-phase boundaries (APBs), twins, stacking faults and dislocations are created. Depending on the processing conditions, the equilibrium β and γ2phases can also form. The fundamental difficulty with improving the magnetic properties of Tau-MnAl is that there is no clear understanding on how they depend on the defect structure. The grain size can also influence the magnetic properties either directly or by affecting the β and γ2 arrangement and defect formation.

    We are using equal channel angular extrusion (ECAE) to process Tau-MnAl billets over a range of temperatures. Multiple passes will be performed utilizing Routes A (extruded billet is fed back into the ECAE jig in the same orientation) and BC(extruded billet is rotated 90o clockwise about its axis between passes). We will determine the texture of the extruded billets, and the density and arrangement of APBs, twins, stacking faults, dislocations and second phases after each pass, and relate these to the magnetic properties. The local chemistry will be explored at high resolution using atom probe tomography via collaboration with Dr. Baptiste Gault, Max-Planck-Institut fur Eisenforschung, Germany. To extend the strain range and, hence, defect densities studied we will also explore using severe plastic deformation through a collaboration with Prof. Gheoghe Gurau, University of Galati, Romania. Our working hypothesis is that we need a strong, c-axis alignment and a low density of APBs, twins and stacking faults (which locally disorder the material) for a high MS, while a low density of APBs, twins and stacking faults but a high dislocation density are required for a high HC. It is thought that a fine distribution of β and γ2 phases will also contribute to a high HC through magnetic domain wall pinning.

    Funded by the National Science Foundation.

  • The impact of impurities and stress state on polycrystalline ice deformation

    The impact of impurities and stress state on polycrystalline ice deformation

    Despite the ubiquitous use of the constitutive relation for ice commonly referred to as “Glen’s Flow Law,” significant uncertainty exists particularly with regard to the role of impurities and the development of oriented fabrics. The aim of this project is to improve the constitutive relationship for ice by performing deformation tests and microstructural characterization of pure and sulfuric acid-doped ice. The research proposed here will focus on sulfuric acid’s impact on ice viscosity, fabric evolution, and diffusivity. Sulfuric acid can have both direct—by changing the dislocation velocity and/or density—and indirect—by changing the grain size and fabric—effects on the mechanical properties of polycrystalline ice. The complexity and interaction of these effects means that one cannot understand the effects of sulfuric acid by simply examining ice core specimens.

    In this project, we will deform four types of ice:

    1. lab-grown ice samples doped with similar-to-natural concentrations of sulfuric acid,
    2. lab-grown high-purity ice,
    3. layered doped and pure ice, and
    4. natural ice from Antarctic ice cores.

    Deformation will be performed in both uniaxial compression and simple shear. The addition of simple shear tests is critical for relating the laboratory-observed deformation behavior to the behavior of polar ice sheets where the shear strain dominates ice motion in basal ice. After deformation to strains from 5% up to 25%, the microstructural development will be assessed with state-of-the-art methods including a variety of scanning electron microscope techniques, Raman microscopy, synchrotron-based Nano-X-ray fluorescence and ion chromatography.

    These analysis techniques will allow the determination of:

    1. the segregation and movement of impurities;
    2. the rate of grain boundary migration;
    3. the number of recrystallized grains; and
    4. the full orientation of the ice crystals.

    The results will enable both microstructural modeling of the effects of H2SO4 and numerical modeling of diffusion in ice cores. The net result will be a better understanding of ice deformation that improves ice-core interpretation and ice-sheet modeling. The work will lead to the education of a PhD student at Dartmouth, introduce undergraduate students to research at both the University of Washington and Dartmouth, and bring together the microstructural expertise of Dartmouth with the ice-core measurement and modeling emphasis at the University of Washington.

    Funded by the US National Science Foundation

  • Porous thermoelectric cells (TECs) for waste heat recovery

    Porous thermoelectric cells (TECs) for waste heat recovery

    Porous thermoelectric cells (TECs) are being developed for waste heat recovery. This project seeks to convert waste thermal energy directly into electricity potentially increasing overall energy efficiency by 15-20% and providing new portable electric power sources, particularly for cold regions. The project is focusing on low cost, nanostructure-engineered TEC (NETECs) materials based on earth-abundant, highly machinable metallic alloys and intermetallic compounds by engineering the grain sizes, second phase precipitation, and nanopores in transition metal intermetallic compounds. The project is currently focusing on the compound Fe2AlV. The location of quaternary atoms in the lattice is being determined by the TEM-based technique ALCHEMI.

    Funded by USA-CRREL


Graduate Student Engineering Research: Eutectic Alloys

Seminar: Materials Characterization

Lecture: Nanotechnology and its Future Role in Medicine