Donald Brenner

Interim Department Head and Kobe Steel Distinguished Professor

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  • Engineering Building I (EB1) 3028D
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Donald Brenner was a staff scientist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory before joining the NCSU faculty in 1994.

Brenner’s interests include atomistic simulations of the structure, growth and properties of thin films; simulated engineering of nanometer-scale structures and devices; solid-state chemical dynamics.

Dr. Brenner’s group’s research uses atomic-scale computer simulations to develop a fundamental understanding of many-body chemical dynamics in condensed phases, with an emphasis on technologically-important materials and processes. Specific areas of interest currently include molecule-surface collisions and thin film vapor deposition; energy transfer, friction, tribochemistry and their influence on the wear of sliding solid interfaces; shock-induced chemistry in solids; nanometer-scale structure and mechanical properties of grain boundaries in covalent materials; mechanisms of cross-linking and hardening of polymers via ion bombardment; and the development of new strategies for engineering nanometer-scale structures and devices. Much of the engineering of advanced materials and electronic devices in the next century will likely require building structures on a microscopic if not an atom-by-atom level. By exploring this realm, their simulations are helping to lay the foundation for the next generation of materials engineering.


Ph.D. 1987


Pennsylvania State University

B.S. 1982


State University of New York


How predictable is plastic damage at the atomic scale?
Li, D., Bucholz, E. W., Peterson, G., Reich, B. J., Russ, J. C., & Brenner, D. W. (2017), Applied Physics Letters, 110(9).
Understanding the atomic-level chemistry and structure of oxide deposits on fuel rods in light water nuclear reactors using first principles methods
Rak, Z., O'Brien, C. J., Brenner, D. W., Andersson, D. A., & Stanek, C. R. (2016), JOM: the Journal of the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, 68(11), 2912-2921.
Charge compensation and electrostatic transferability in three entropy-stabilized oxides: Results from density functional theory calculations
Rak, Z., Rost, C. M., Lim, M., Sarker, P., Toher, C., Curtarolo, S., Maria, J. P., & Brenner, D. W. (2016), Journal of Applied Physics, 120(9).
Theoretical assessment of bonaccordite formation in pressurized water reactors
Rak, Z., O'Brien, C. J., Shin, D., Andersson, A. D., Stanek, C. R., & Brenner, D. W. (2016), Journal of Nuclear Materials, 474, 62-64.
Tribological properties of nanodiamonds in aqueous suspensions: effect of the surface charge
Liu, Z. J., Leininger, D., Koolivand, A., Smirnov, A. I., Shenderova, O., Brenner, D. W., & Krim, J. (2015), RSC Advances, 5(96), 78933-78940.
Tribological properties of polyalphaolefin oil modified with nanocarbon additives
Nunn, N., Mahbooba, Z., Ivanov, M. G., Ivanov, D. M., Brenner, D. W., & Shenderova, O. (2015), Diamond and Related Materials, 54, 97-102.
New method for extracting diffusion-controlled kinetics from differential scanning calorimetry: Application to energetic nanostructures
Lu, S. J., Mily, E. J., Irving, D. L., Maria, J. P., & Brenner, D. W. (2015), Journal of Physical Chemistry. C, 119(25), 14411-14418.
Interplay of electronic structure and unusual development in crystal structure of YbAuIn and Yb3AuGe2In3
Rak, Z., & Brenner, D. W. (2015), Philosophical Magazine, 95(20), 2167-2174.
Defect formation in aqueous environment: Theoretical assessment of boron incorporation in nickel ferrite under conditions of an operating pressurized-water nuclear reactor (PWR)
Rak, Z., Bucholz, E. W., & Brenner, D. W. (2015), Journal of Nuclear Materials, 461, 350-356.
Theory and modelling of diamond fracture from an atomic perspective
Brenner, D. W., Shenderova, O. A. (2015), Philosophical Transactions. Mathematical, Physical, and Engineering Sciences., 373(2038).

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