Kenneth F. Kelton

Professor of Physics
Arthur Holly Compton Professor of Physics in Arts and Sciences
PhD, Harvard University
research interests:
  • Silicate Glasses
  • Amorphous Materials
  • Metallic Liquids
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    contact info:

    mailing address:

    • Washington University
    • MSC 1105-109-03
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    Professor Kelton's Laboratory for Materials Physics Research studies the formation, structures, and physical properties of many materials, particularly novel non-crystalline phases of metals, such as quasicrystals, metallic and silicate glasses, and liquids.​

    Kelton's research interests include the study and production of titanium/zirconium-based quasicrystals and related phases; the fundamental investigations of time-dependent nucleation processes; modeling of crystallization in silicate glasses; the structure of amorphous materials; the relation between structure and nucleation barrier; and structure and dynamics of metallic liquids.

    From 1983 to the present, Kelton has served as a Post Doctoral Fellow in the Division of Applied Sciences at Harvard University, Assistant Professor of Physics at Washington University, Associate Professor of Metallurgy and Materials Science at Washington University, Associate Professor of Physics at Washington University, Adjunct Senior Investigator, Graduate Center for Materials Research at the University of Missouri at Rolla, Professor of Metallurgy and Materials Science at Washington University, Consultant MEMC Corporation and ABB/Alstom, Inc. and Professor of Physics at Washington University. He was installed as the Arthur Holly Compton Professor in Arts & Sciences in October 2006. He served as the Chair of the Physics Department from July 2007 through June 2012. In July 2013, he became the inaugural director of the Institute of Materials Science and Engineering, a PhD granting institute that sits in both the School of Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

    Honors and Awards

    2010 ISMANAM (International Symposium on Amorphous, Nanocrystalline and Metastable Materials) Senior Scientist Award
    2008 Hall of Distinction, Arkansas Tech University
    2006- Advisory Board, Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids
    2005 Elected Fellow of the American Physical Society
    2003 Invited Visiting Professor Université de Cergy-Pointoise, France
    1998-2006 U.S. Regional Editor, Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids
    1993 SERC Visiting Fellow, Cambridge University, Cambridge UK
    1993 Fellow Commoner, Churchill College, Cambridge University, Cambridge UK

    recent courses

    Kinetics of Materials (Physics 537)

    A general discussion of phase formation and phase transformation in solids and liquids. Topics include equilibrium and nonequilibrium thermodynamics, equilibrium and metastable phase diagrams, nucleation and growth, spinodal transformations, diffusion and interface limited processes, shear type transformations and order/disorder transformations.

      Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics (Physics 463)

      The thermodynamics of open and closed systems, kinetics and transport theory, and classical and quantum statistical mechanics.

        Nucleation in Condensed Matter: Applications in Materials and Biology

        Nucleation in Condensed Matter: Applications in Materials and Biology

        In Nucleation in Condensed Matter, key theoretical models for nucleation are developed and experimental data are used to discuss their range of validity. A central aim of this book is to enable the reader, when faced with a phenomenon in which nucleation appears to play a role, to determine whether nucleation is indeed important and to develop a quantitative and predictive description of the nucleation behavior. The third section of the book examines nucleation processes in practical situations, ranging from solid state precipitation to nucleation in biological systems to nucleation in food and drink. Nucleation in Condensed Matter is a key reference for an advanced materials course in phase transformations. It is also an essential reference for researchers in the field. Unified treatment of key theories, experimental evaluations and case studies Complete derivation of key models Detailed discussion of experimental measurements Examples of nucleation in diverse systems.