Dr. Yuchen Chen: A Physicist Exploring Shape Memory Alloys

Dobrý den! This is Yuchen from Prague, Czechia. I am a physicist working in the field of shape memory alloys. If we take a shape memory alloy, bend it, twist it, shape it, it will be capable of returning to its original shape. The “nature” how it works depends on the collective behavior of many small mineral grains in the alloy, which link microscopic changes to the bulk behavior.

As a physicist, my job is to investigate, understand and interpret what the “nature” wants to communicate with its observer. But how can people make the “nature” talk? We use our special languages :-), e.g. in my work, electron/neutron/(synchrotron) X-ray are used to “communicate with the nature”.

Fun fact: shape memory alloys have their own “tempers”. That is to say, they behave differently if composition, thermo-mechanical processing etc. vary. It is also my job to explore & modify their “tempers” in order to optimize their mechanical behaviors for various engineering uses.