Professor Kai Gong


Dr. Gong earned his Ph.D. joint between civil and environmental engineering and materials science from Princeton University. Prior to joining Rice, Dr. Gong did his postdoc at the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT.

His research lies at the intersection of civil engineering, materials science, environmental sustainability and energy. A major goal of his research is to help decarbonize our cities and infrastructure (and the associated industries) by focusing on the most pressing and challenging materials science problems. To achieve this goal, he combines (i) advanced materials characterization, (ii) atomistic simulations and (iii) data-driven modeling.

Research Areas

1) Durable and sustainable infrastructure materials; 2) Waste encapsulation and conversion to value-added products; 3) Carbon mineralization and utilization; 4) Applications of advanced characterization (e.g., synchrotron and neutron-based scattering) and computation (e.g., molecular dynamics simulations, machine learning, and quantum chemistry calculations) on amorphous materials and minerals.


M.A. (2016), Ph.D. (2020), Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Materials Science, Princeton University

MEngSci (2013) in Civil Engineering, Monash University, Australia

B.S. (2010, 2011) in Civil Engineering from Monash University (1st honour) and Central South University in China

Honors & Awards

Walbridge Fund Graduate Award, Princeton Environmental Institute, 2019

Peter B. Lewis Fund for Student Innovation in Energy and the Environment, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, 2019

Charlotte Elizabeth Proctor Fellowship, Princeton University, 2018

Graduate Excellence in Materials Science Awards (Diamond), MS&T Technical Meeting and Exhibition, 2018

Vice-Chancellor's Commendation for Masters Thesis Excellence Award, Monash University, 2014


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