Mingwei Xu receives CAA Wallace Prize

Mingwei Xu (left) visits Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he will begin his Ph.D. studies in the fall, with CWRU alum Hugh Smith.

Mingwei Xu was awarded the 2022 John F. Wallace Prize, which is awarded annually by the Case Alumni Association to students who best embody the late Professor John Wallace's spirit and dedication toward metallurgical engineering and metal casting.

Xu, who double majored in Materials Science and Engineering and Mechanical Engineering during his undergraduate years at Case Western Reserve University, conducted research with Professor James McGuffin-Cawley during the initial COVID-19 shutdown that led to his senior project, 3D Finite Difference Simulation of Temperature Profiles in a Thermal Fatigue Specimen. During quarantine, Xu and McGuffin-Cawley conducted 3D finite difference simulation research, with Xu reviewing literature, deriving equations and generating plots from simulations before discussing predicted results with McGuffin-Cawley. “This two-year long project made me stand out whenever I was doing tasks related to materials' thermal properties,” said Xu.

In addition to his senior project, Xu has conducted ceramics research with McGuffin-Cawley, who he has been working with since his freshman year. “He is a wise man,” Xu said of his mentor. “I could learn new things from him every time I talked to him. He kindly offered me opportunities to work in his lab. I could continue my research in the Materials Science field throughout my undergraduate studies because Prof. Cawley was always supporting me.”

During his time at CWRU, Xu completed research projects in several different departments throughout the Case School of Engineering. He conducted research in the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering as well, doing a 3D printing project with Professor Rigoberto Advincula. Using polymers to make samples, Xu and Advincula put carbon nanotubes and graphene oxide in the samples, helping them develop an understanding of the effects of nanoparticles on material properties. He also completed a Mechanical Engineering senior project, Assessment of Load/Displacement Compression Tests for Si3N4 to Produce Microfluidic Devices. 

In October, Xu won second place in the student speaking contest at the annual Materials Science & Technology conference. “CWRU undergraduate students did not participate in this event for a long time,” he said. “I was glad to win the honor for my department.”

Xu was drawn to the field of materials because “I am very interested in doing things that most people don't do. I chose materials science because this is an engineering subject that has fewer students and faculties than others.”

After he graduates from CWRU in May with his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering, Xu plans to start his Ph.D. studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He hopes to study shape memory ceramics during his Ph.D. studies.