Jim Belak

Senior Scientist
Materials Science Division
Email: belak@llnl.gov
Phone: +19254226061


  • Ph.D., Colorado State University
  • B.S., Rutgers University

Research Interests

Jim Belak is an applied scientist in the Materials Science Division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His career has centered around the application of High Performance Computing to equilibrium and non-equilibrium problems in condensed-matter physics, including 

  • Order-disorder phase transition in solids.
  • Indentation, metal cutting, and tribology of interfaces.
  • Shock propagation and spallation fracture.
  • Structure and dynamics of grain boundaries and defects in solids.
  • Kinetics of phase evolution in extreme environments.

These applications have required the development of new algorithms and application codes for emerging high performance parallel computers and the use of novel x-ray synchrotron techniques (3D x-ray tomography and small-angle x-ray scattering) to guide and validate the simulations. Currently, Jim co-leads the Exascale Co-design Center for Materials in Extreme Environments (http://science.energy.gov/ascr/research/scidac/co-design/).

Personal Background

  • Co-principle investigator and deputy director for the DOE/ASCR Exascale Co-design Center for Materials in Extreme Environments
  • Principle investigator for the LLNL Multi-Directorate LDRD project Kinetics of Phase Evolution – Coupling Microstructure with Deformation (07-ERD-007)
  • Principle investigator for the LLNL Multi-Directorate LDRD project Microstructural Origins of Dynamic Fracture (01-ERD-022)
  • Principle investigator for the LLNL/ASC project Dynamic Fracture in Ductile Metals
  • Co-principle investigator for the LAMMPS CRADA and co-creator of LAMMPS
  • Co-investigator for the LLNL Strategic Initiative Massively Parallel Computing Initiative
  • Co-investigator for the LLNL Precision Engineering project Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Indentation and Metal Cutting

Selected Publications

  1. A. Loveridge-Smith, A. Allen, J. Belak, T. Boehly, A. Hauer, B. Holian, D. Kalantar, G. Kyrala, R.W. Lee, P. Lomdahl, M.A. Meyers, D. Paisley, S. Pollaine, B. Remington, D.C. Swift, S. Weber, J.S. Wark, "Anomalous elastic response of silicon to uniaxial shock compression on nanosecond time scales," Phys. Rev. Lett. 86, 2349 (2001).
  2. G.H. Campbell, J. Belak, and J.A. Moriarty, "Atomic Structure of the Sigma5 (310)/[001] Symmetric Tilt Grain Boundary in Tantalum," Scripta Mater. 43, 659 (2000).
  3. T. Ochs, C. Elsasser, M. Mrovec, V. Vitek, J. Belak, and J.A. Moriarty, "Symmetrical tilt grain boundaries in body-centered cubic transition metals - Comparison of semi-empirical with ab initio total-energy calculations," Phil. Mag. A 80, 2405 (2000).
  4. J. Belak, "On the Nucleation and Growth of Voids at High Strain-Rates," J. Computer Aided Mater. Design. 5, 193 (1998).
  5. J. Belak, Guest Editor, "Nanotribology," Materials Research Society Bulletin, Vol. 18, 1993.
  6. M.J. Stevens, M.O. Robbins, and J. Belak, "Shear Melting of Colloids: A Nonequilibrium Phase Diagram," Phys. Rev. Lett. 66, 3004 (1991).