Valery I Levitas


Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering, Murray Harpole Chair in Engineering
Mechanical Engineering (Second appointment)


2351 Howe
537 Bissell Rd.
Ames, IA 50011-1096



Dr. – Engineer habilitation, Continuum Mechanics, University of Hannover, 1995

Dr. of Sciences, Continuum Mechanics, Institute for Electronic Machinebuilding, Moscow, USSR, 1988

Ph.D. Materials Science and Engineering, Institute for Superhard Materials, Kiev, USSR, 1981

M.S. Mechanical Engineering, Kiev Polytechnic Institute, Kiev, USSR, 1978

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Elected to the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, 2023.
  • Fellow of the International Association of Advanced Materials (IAAM), Sweden, 2023.
  • Elected to the EU Academy of Sciences, 2022.
  • Phase transformations and other structural changes in materials: special issue of the International Journal of Plasticity in Honor of Professor Valery I. Levitas; International Journal of Plasticity, 2021, Vol. 139, 102948.
  • Khan International Medal Award for outstanding contributions to the field of plasticity, 2017.
  • ISU Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research, 2016.
  • Fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), 2007.
  • Richard von Mises Award of GAMM (Society of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics), 1998.
  • International Journal of Engineering Sciences Best Paper Award, 1995.
  • von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship, Germany, 1993-95, 2012.

Teaching Undergrad

  • EM 274 Statics
  • EM 324 Mechanics of Materials
  • ME332 Engineering Thermodynamics II


  • EM566 Phase Transformation in Elastic Materials
  • EM 567 Nanomechanics of Materials
  • EM 586 Micromechanics of Structural Changes in Materials
  • EM 590 Phase Field Approach
  • EM 585 Continuum Mechanochemistry
  • EM 572 Mechanics of Interface and Surface-Induced Phenomena
  • EM 580 Phase Transformations and Plasticity
  • EM 584 High Pressure Mechanics and Phase Transformations

Research Interest Areas:

  • Materials under high pressure and large plastic deformations/in situ synchrotron radiation experiments with rotational diamond anvils/phase transformations and microstructure evolution/four-scale theory and simulations (atomistic, nano- and microscale phase field, and macroscale).
  • Phase transformation-based mechanisms of the deep-focus earthquakes.
  • Phase field approach/phase transformations in solids, melting-solidification, twinning, dislocations, fracture, shear bands, surface- and interface-induced phenomena.
  • Interaction between phase transformation and plasticity.
  • Material instabilities under stress tensor/atomistic simulations/phase field approach/nonlinear elasticity.
  • Energetic and superhard materials.
  • Shape memory alloys.

Selected Sponsored Projects at ISU

$14.9M ($7.7M personal) total from 24 grants including 22 federal (NSF (9), ARO (6), ONR (4), DARPA (1), DTRA (1), DOE (1), AFOSR (1)) and 1 foreign5 NSF XSEDE grants for computational resources and 21 Advance Proton Sources grants for using beamline at the synchrotron radiation facilities.

  1. Deformational, Transformational, and Microstructural Material Behavior of Selected Materials under High Pressure, Severe Plastic Deformations, and High Strain Rates.  7/08/2024-7/07/2027. ARO, $600,000.
  2. New Rules for Coupled Severe Plastic Deformations, Phase Transformations, and Structural Changes in Metals under High Pressure. 6/01/2023-5/31/2026, NSF, DMR, $600,000.
  3. Plasticity, Phase Transformations, and their Interaction under High Pressure in Silicon. 05/2020-04/2024, NSF, CMMI, $626,000.
  4. Deformation of Metals under High Pressure: Multiscale Stress Fields, Plasticity, and Phase Transformations.  08/2019-07/2022. NSF, DMR, $450,001.
  5. Prestressing Metal Fuel Particles for Enhanced Reactivity. With Pantoya M.L. (Texas Tech) 01/2019-12/2021. ONR $450,000 (Levitas V.I. $188,875)
  6. Phase transformation-related phenomena under compression and shear of ceramics.  05/2017-04/2020. ARO, $450,000
  7. High Pressure and Large Shear Deformation System for Materials Research. 08/2017-02/2019. ARO, DURIP, $144,295; Materials Study under High Pressure, Strain Rates, and Large Deformations.  06/2021-05/2022. ARO, DURIP, $134,010
  8. Optimization of Micron-Scale Aluminum Reactivity for Dynamic Loading. With Pantoya M.L. (Texas Tech).  09/2016-08/2018, ONR, $450,000 (Levitas V.I. $212.500)
  9. Interactions of Multiple Phase Transformations and Dislocations: Modeling and Simulation from Atomistic to Microscale. With Xiong L. 08/2015-12/2019 NSF CMMI $421,001 (Levitas V.I. $218,500)
  10. DMREF/Collaborative Research: Search for and Synthesis of Nanostructured Superhard Phases in BCN System under High Pressure and Shear: Multiscale Theory, Simulation, and Experiment. With Goddard W.A. (Caltech) and Ma Y. (Texas Tech) 08/2014-07/2018 NSF DMR, $1,000,000 (Levitas V.I. $333,333)
  11. New Pathways toward Metastable Solids through Moderate Pressure and Large Plastic Shear: Multiscale Simulations and Experiments. With Goddard W.A. (Caltech) and  Ma Y. (Texas Tech) 08/2013-02/2017 DARPA $1,000,082 (Levitas V.I. $350,000)
  12. Virtual Melting and Amorphization as Mechanisms of Plastic Flow, Fracture, and Phase Transformations. 08/2010-08/2014 NSF CMMI $312,000.


Selected Publications: (of 478 pubs. including 298  journal papers, 11 book chapters, 3 books, 11 patents; h-index (Google): 67) Link to full texts

  1. Yesudhas S., Levitas V.I., Lin F., Pandey K. K., Smith J. Unusual plastic strain-induced phase transformation phenomena in silicon. Nature Communications, 2024, accepted.
  2. Levitas V.I.,  Dhar A., and Pandey K.K. Tensorial stress-plastic strain fields in alpha-omega Zr mixture, transformation kinetics, and friction in diamond anvil cell. Nature Communication, 2023, Vol. 14, 5955.
  3. Lin F., Levitas V.I., Pandey K.K., Yesudhas S., and Park C. In-situ study of rules of nanostructure evolution, severe plastic deformations, and friction under high pressure. Materials Research Letters, 2023, Vol. 11, No. 9, 757-763.
  4. Levitas V.I. Recent in situ Experimental and Theoretical Advances in Severe Plastic Deformations, Strain-Induced Phase Transformations, and Microstructure Evolution under High Pressure. Material Transactions, 2023, Vol. 64 (8), 1866-1878. Invited review.
  5. Levitas V.I. Resolving puzzles of the phase-transformation-based mechanism of the deep-focus earthquake. Nature Communications, 2022, Vol. 13, 6291, 10 p.
  6. Chen H.,  Levitas V.I., Popov D., and Velisavljevic N.  Nontrivial nanostructure, stress relaxation mechanisms, and crystallography for pressure-induced Si-I -> Si-II phase transformation. Nature Communication, 2022, Vol. 13, 982 (Editor’s highlight).
  7. Levitas V.I. Phase transformations, fracture, and other structural changes in inelastic materials. International Journal of Plasticity, 2021, Vol. 140, 102914, 51 pp., invited review.
  8. Pandey K. K. and Levitas V. I. In situ quantitative study of plastic strain-induced phase transformations under high pressure: Example for ultra-pure Zr. Acta Materialia, 2020, 196, 338-346.
  9. Babaei H. and Levitas V.I. Stress-measure dependence of phase transformation criterion under finite strains: Hierarchy of crystal lattice instabilities for homogeneous and heterogeneous transformations. Physical Review Letters, 2020, 124, 075701.
  10. Hsieh S., Bhattacharyya P., Zu C., Mittiga T., Smart T. J., Machado F., Kobrin B., Höhn T. O., Rui N. Z., Kamrani M., Chatterjee S., Choi S., Zaletel M., Struzhkin V. V., Moore J. E., Levitas V.I., Jeanloz R., Yao N. Y. Imaging stress and magnetism at high pressures using a nanoscale quantum sensor. Science, 2019, 366, 6471, 1349-1354.
  11.  Hou H., Simsek E., Ma T., Johnson N. S., Qian S., Cissé C., Stasak D., Hasan N. A., Zhou L., Hwang Y., Radermacher R., Levitas V. I., Kramer M. J., Zaeem M. A., Stebner A. P., Ott R. T., Cui J., Takeuchi I. Fatigue-resistant high-performance elastocaloric materials via additive manufacturing. Science, 2019, 366, 6469, 1116-1121.
  12. Levitas V.I., Kamrani M., and Feng B. Tensorial stress-strain fields and large elastoplasticity as well as friction in diamond anvil cell up to 400 GPa. Nature PJ Computational Materials, 2019, 5, 94, 11 pp.
  13. Feng B., Levitas V.I., and Li W. FEM modeling of plastic flow and strain-induced phase transformation in BN under high pressure and large shear in a rotational diamond anvil cell. International Journal of Plasticity, 2019, 113, 236-254.
  14. Gao Y., Ma Y., An Q., Levitas V. I., Zhang Y., Feng B., Chaudhuri J., and Goddard III W. A. Shear driven formation of nano-diamonds at sub-gigapascals and 300 K. Carbon, 2019, Vol. 146, 364-368.
  15. Basak A., Levitas V.I. Finite element procedure and simulations for a multiphase phase field approach to martensitic phase transformations at large strains and with interfacial stresses. Comp. Meth. Applied Mechanics and Engin., 2019, 343, 368-406.
  16. Levitas V.I. High-Pressure Phase Transformations under Severe Plastic Deformation by Torsion in Rotational Anvils. Material Transactions, 2019, Vol. 60, No. 7, 1294-1301, invited review.
  17. Levitas V.I., Jafarzadeh H., Farrahic G. H.,  and  Javanbakht M. Thermodynamically Consistent and Scale-Dependent Phase Field Approach for Crack Propagation Allowing for Surface Stresses. International Journal of Plasticity, 2018, 111, 1-35.
  18. Levitas V.I., Esfahani S.E., and Ghamarian I. Scale-free modeling of coupled evolution of discrete dislocation bands and multivariant martensitic microstructure. Phys. Review Lett., 2018, 121, 205701.
  19. Zarkevich N. A., Chen H., Levitas V.I., and Johnson D. D. Lattice instability during solid-solid structural transformations under general applied stress tensor: example of Si I → Si II with metallization. Phys. Review Letters, 2018, 121, 165701.
  20. Levitas V.I. Phase field approach for stress- and temperature-induced phase transformations that satisfies lattice instability conditions. Part 1. General theory. International Journal of Plasticity, 2018, Vol. 106, 164-185.
  21. Levitas V.I., Chen H., and Xiong L. Triaxial-stress-induced homogeneous hysteresis-free first-order phase transformations with stable intermediate phases. Physical Review Letters, 2017, 118, 025701.
  22. Momeni K., Levitas V.I., and Warren J.A. The strong influence of internal stresses on the nucleation of a nanosized, deeply undercooled melt at a solid-solid interface. Nano Letters, 2015, 15, 2298-2303.
  23. Levitas V.I. and Javanbakht M. Phase transformations in nanograin materials under high pressure and plastic shear: nanoscale mechanisms. Nanoscale, 2014, 6, 162 – 166.
  24. Levitas V.I. Phase field approach to martensitic phase transformations with large strains and interface stresses. Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 2014, Vol. 70, 154-189.
  25. Ji C., Levitas V. I., Zhu H., Chaudhuri J., Marathe A., Ma Y. Shear-Induced Phase Transition of Nanocrystalline Hexagonal Boron Nitride to Wurtzitic Structure at Room Temperature and Low Pressure. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 2012, 109, 19108-19112.
  26. Levitas V.I. Mechanochemical Mechanism for Reaction of Aluminum Nano- and Micron-scale Particles. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 2013, Vol. 371, 20120215, 14 pages.
  27. Levitas V.I. and Ravelo R. Virtual Melting as a New Mechanism of Stress Relaxation under High Strain Rate Loading. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 2012, 109, 13204-13207.
  28. Levitas V.I., Samani K. Size and mechanics effects in surface-induced melting of nanoparticles. Nature Comm. 2011, 2, 284.