Faculty Profile

Deborah Duen Ling Chung


Deborah DL Chung.


Deborah D.L. Chung is best known for her invention of smart concrete. Smart concrete is concrete that is itself a sensor of strain and damage. This invention is featured in a film on NBC Learn. In addition, she is the inventor of: "Exfoliated Graphite Fibers," "Carbon Fiber Reinforced Superconductor" and "Carbon Fiber Composites with Improved Fatigue Resistance," all of which were selected by the National Institute of Standards and Technology for funding through the Energy-Related Inventions Program of the Department of Energy. 

She is a dedicated teacher, having produced about 35 PhD graduates and received the "Teacher of the Year" award from Tau Beta Pi (New York Nu) in 1992-93. The books that she has authored include “Functional Materials” (World Scientific, 2010) and “Composite Materials” (Springer, 2nd Ed., 2010).  Due to her interest in inspiring young people for science, she is the editor of the book series “The Road to Scientific Success: Inspiring Life Stories of Prominent Researchers.” 

Because of her experience as an international student and her ongoing interest in helping international students, she has served on the boards of International Students, Inc., and Ambassadors for Christ, Inc., and she speaks frequently to student groups.

Her talents extend beyond science. For example, she holds the L.R.S.M. diploma in piano performance from the Royal Schools of Music, U.K. and she placed second at the Hong Kong Music Festival in the piano solo competition (Brahms' intermezzi).  She has been asked many times to speak on the intersection of science and music. 

She is a co-author of the book “Piloted to Serve,” an autobiography of her mother, Rebecca Chan Chung (1920-2011), a nurse with the Flying Tigers, U.S. Army and China National Aviation Corporation during World War II. Due to the wealth of history in this book, she also speaks on history to broad audiences and on TV. 

Research Interests

Materials science and engineering, particularly smart materials, concrete, thermal management, battery electrode materials, carbon fibers and filaments, composites processing and interfaces, metal-matrix composites, electronic packaging materials, and activated carbon

Other Interests

Integrating science and music, multidisciplinary research, practical applications, engineering material development, and scientific outreach to the public


  • PhD, Materials Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1977
  • SM, Materials Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1975
  • MS, Engineering Science, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), 1973
  • BS, Engineering and Applied Science (honors), California Institute of Technology (Caltech), 1973

Recent Honors, Awards and Special Recognitions

  • Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2023
  • Honorary Doctorate Degree, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain, 2011
  • Hsun Lee Award, jointly awarded by Institute of Metal Research (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and Shenyang National Laboratory for Materials Science, to recognize research accomplishment in materials science and technology, 2005
  • Charles E. Pettinos Award, The American Carbon Society, 2004
  • Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, Academic Year 2002-2003, State University of New York
  • Outstanding Inventor, State University of New York, 2002