Prof. Richard Chromik


Richard is an Professor in Materials Engineering and leads McGill Surface Engineering and Coating Tribology Laboratory. He is also currently Associate Dean (Faculty Affairs) in the Faculty of Engineering, Chair of the Faculty Equity Committee, and recently completed a 1-year term at Interim Director of the McGill Institute for Advanced Materials. Recently, Richard was lead principal investigator on the CFI-8 project “Surface Engineering Solutions for Aerospace: Terrestrial and Space Applications,” and is currently a co-principal investigator on the NSERC Strategic Network, Green Surface Engineering for Advanced Manufacturing (Green-SEAM). He is on the editorial boards for Surface and Coating Technologyand Surface Topography, Metrology and Properties, and on the board of directors for Wear of Materials

Richard received his PhD in Chemical Physics (2001) and M.Sc. in Physics (1997) from Binghamton University and his B.Sc. in Physics (1994) from Penn State University (Behrend College). From 1994, his first year in graduate school, to present day, Richard has worked on surface engineering and coatings for a wide variety of materials science applications. His PhD thesis was entitled “Thermal Processes in Thin Films over Nanometer Length Scales” and focused on the thermodynamics and kinetics of metal-silicide and metal-metal reactions for microelectronics, Pb-free solder and giant magnetoresistance (GMR) device applications. In 2001, he joined the research groups of Drs. Mike Notis and Rick Vinci at Lehigh University. As a post-doctoral researcher, he worked on Pb-free solder and noble metal solid-solution alloy films. However, the focus for this three-year post-doc experience was on mechanical properties and Richard became well-versed in the technique of nanoindentation. In 2004, Richard joined the Tribology Section (Code 6176) at the Naval Research Laboratory, working with Dr. Kathryn Wahl on an AFOSR Funded MURI program on “Extreme Friction” (PI: Dr. Jackie Krim). For two years, he worked on tribology of ‘chameleon’ coatings and ultra-nanocrystalline diamond coatings and also became well-versed in the technique of in situ Raman tribometry. In 2006, Richard joined McGill University and started a research group with the primary focus of surface engineering and coatings tribology. He strives to provide a high-quality, inclusive training environment on this important research area for engineering sustainability. Alumni from his research group have gone on to be tribology engineers in automotive, aerospace and metal-forming industries.


Richard also is a highly engaged instructor of Materials Engineering, and currently teaches MIME565 – Aerospace Materialsand MIME571 – Surface Engineering. He is an alumni of the “Inquiry Network” and regularly develops forward thinking projects that challenge his students to address applied engineering problems through research, usually in groups. He recently had an ECQ project on Equity and Teamwork in Project-Based Learning in Engineering. This project will run in the 2019-20 academic year in at least 3 engineering courses, with the goal of increasing student training on topics of equity and inclusivity while working in diverse groups on technical engineering projects.

Education Chemical Physics (2001), Binghamton University (SUNY), Binghamton, NY

Dissertation Title: Thermal processes in thin films over nanometer length scales. Physics (1997), Binghamton University (SUNY), Binghamton, NY                     

Thesis Title: The thermodynamics and kinetics of solid state reactions in the Pd-Sn system. Physics (1994), Penn State University, The Behrend College, Erie, PA


Professional and Academic Experience


October 2020 – Present 

Professor, Department of Mining and Materials Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada

June 2018 – Present 

Associate Dean (Faculty Affairs), Faculty of Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada

June 2012 – September 2020

Associate Professor, Department of Mining and Materials Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada

September 2018 – August 2019

Interim Director, McGill Institute for Advanced Materials (MIAM), McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada

September 2014 – August 2018

Associate Chairman, Department of Mining and Materials Engineering, McGill University

September 2013 – August 2014

Visiting Scientist, Surface Engineering Group, National Research Council Canada, Boucherville, QC, Canada

October 2013 – December 2013

Visiting Professor, Laboratory of Structure and Contact Mechanics, INSA de Lyon, Lyon, France

September 2006 – May 2012

Assistant Professor, Department of Mining and Materials Engineering, McGill University

August 2004 – August 2006

Post-Doctoral Scientist, Chemistry Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC, USA

September 2001 – July 2004

Post-Doctoral Scientist, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, USA

January 1998 – July 2001

Research Assistant (Ph.D. Candidate), Department of Physics, Applied Physics and Astronomy, SUNY-Binghamton, Binghamton, NY, USA

September 1994 – December 1997

Research Assistant (Master’s Student), Department of Physics, Applied Physics and Astronomy, SUNY-Binghamton

Professional Affiliations


Professional Societies

  • Materials Research Society (MRS)

  • American Physical Society (APS)

  • Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS)

  • American Vacuum Society (AVS)

Research Centers, Institutes, Regroupements

  • McGill Institute for Advanced Materials (MIAM)

  • McGill Institute for Aerospace Engineering (MIAE)

  • Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED)

  • Regroupement Québécois sur les Matériaux de Pointe (RQMP)

  • Regroupement Aluminum (REGAL)

Courses Taught

  • MIME571 – Surface Engineering – Technical elective attended by both upper level undergraduates and graduate students. Course covers all aspects of surface engineering including surface science, surface modifications, and applied examples (tribology, Si device technology, MEMS, nanotechnology).

  • MIME565 – Aerospace Materials – Technical elective attended by both upper level undergraduates and graduate students. Course covers the materials science and engineering for all of the materials used in a modern jet aircraft. 

  • MIME362 – Mechanical Properties – Core undergraduate course attended by third year students. Course covers fundamentals of mechanical properties including elasticity, plasticity, time-dependent deformation and fracture.

  • MIME360 – Phase Transformations – Core undergraduate course attended by second year students. Course covers the foundations for phase transformations from a materials science and metallurgy perspective. Topics include phase diagrams, diffusion, nucleation & growth, solidification, solid state transformations, TTT & CT diagrams. 

  • MIME262 – Properties of Materials in Electrical Engineering – Core undergraduate course attended by electrical engineering students from various years. Course is an introductory materials science and engineering course tailored for the specific needs of electrical engineers.

© 2019 by Surface Engineering and Coating Technology Laboratory / Bénédict Gauvin-Morin