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CHTE Spring Meeting will be held on June 5-6, 2024.  Please contact about membership and attending the meeting.

“If there is a problem in industry, how do we solve it”

We solve problems related to materials performance through heat treatment.  Our focus is on what we can achieve with materials by means of heat treatment and thermochemical surface engineering. At the Center for Heat Treating Excellence (CHTE), we work together with industry members to improve heat treating processes. We can do the same for your organization.

Recent heat treat research includes:

  • Distortion and residual stress
  • Austempering to form bainite
  • Heat treatment of additively manufactured parts
  • Carburization process optimization
  • Understanding, controlling and optimizing quenching
  • Carbonitriding process optimization

Thomas Christiansen – New Director of CHTE

Thomas joined WPI in July 2023 as Director of the Center for Heat Treating Excellence (CHTE), Robert Essebe Balmat Jr. Dean’s Professor, and Professor in Mechanical and Materials Engineering. He has more than 20 years of experience within thermochemical surface engineering and heat treatment of metallic materials. His research interests are gas-metal interactions, high-interstitial alloys, (thermochemical) surface engineering and microstructure optimization for improving materials performance.

Thomas has a keen focus on the synergistic interplay between science and technology and how this best can be exploited to provide solutions to challenges in industry.

Join us at our next meeting.

Contact Maureen Plunkett at (508) 831-5992 or



CHTE researchers work to identify heat treatment process parameters to control distortion and residual stress in steel parts that rely on heat treatment, especially the rapid cooling process of quenching, to acquire the desired mechanical properties. Rapid phase transformation and high thermal gradients occurring during quenching can cause distortion, which leads to costly hard machining and rejection