(Heinz, Hendrik - 2010) -- Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program
Award or Honor Receipt
A rarely given Special Creativity Award from the National Science Foundation has been bestowed on Hendrik Heinz, an expert in computer simulation of materials, along with a pair of UCLA professors, to continue their research on metal alloys for fuel cells. Heinz is team leader for the award. The research team successfully synthesized new metal alloys, described their properties and atomic-scale architecture, and modeled how they catalyze chemical reactions important for fuel cells. Fuel cells have shown great promise as a clean-energy technology with numerous applications, including zero-emission vehicles. The fuel cells work by causing hydrogen fuel and oxygen from the air to react to produce electricity, and the exhaust they create is water—rather than the pollutants and greenhouse gases emitted by traditional car engines. The research will have a transformative impact on the way new catalysts are designed, both experimentally and in using more precise computational techniques, according to Heinz. His research interests include computer simulation of inorganic-(bio)organic interfaces and biomineralization; design of catalysts and functional materials; development of force fields for the prediction of multiphase material properties; hierarchical simulation of building materials and multiscale mechanics; and structure-property relationships in polymer nanocomposites.