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The predecessor of the State-Key Laboratory for Mechanical Behavior of Materials (SKL-MBM) was established by Professor Hui-Jiu Zhou (CAS Academician) and colleagues at Xi'an Jiaotong University. It was developed based on the Research Institute for Strength of Metals, which was founded in 1963 with the approval of the Ministry of Higher Education and the State Scientific and Technological Commission, and the Open Laboratory for Mechanical Behavior of Materials, which was founded in 1985 with the approval of the State Education Commission. SKL-MBM obtained financial support from the World Bank in 1990, and was officially established and open to the public in 1995. SKL-MBM is engaged in the research on fundamentals of metal and related materials and aims at promoting the transformation and upgrading of metal-based industries for national key demands. In particular, SKL-MBM focuses on five specific research directions, namely, (1) the design, synthesis and characterization of high-performance metal materials, (2) new functional materials and structure-function-integrated materials, (3) unconventional synthesis techniques and materials behaviors in service, (4) materials for key marine equipment and their applications, and (5) synthesis and applications of rare and refractory metals. The performance level of SKL-MBM was evaluated as 'good' with a gradually increased score in 1997, 2003, 2008 and 2013, and was evaluated as 'excellent' in 2018, by the Ministry of Science and Technology. Prof. Jun Sun (CAS Academician) is the head of the SKL-MBM.

SKL-MBM has obtained tremendous research achievements in recent years, contributing to the economic growth and the defense construction significantly. Members of SKL-MBM have been in charge of a series of national key research programs, including the NSFC-funded Innovative Research Groups Program, National key research and development program, key programs for national defense and military technology and others, and have published many high-profile academic articles, including 4 papers in Nature and 10 papers in Science. SKL-MBM has been awarded with the 2 first-class prizes of State Natural Science Awards, the Award for annual Top 10 Research Progress and other national-level awards as the first affiliation. Regarding the transformation of scientific and technological achievements, members of SKL-MBM have made multiple breakthroughs in materials development for key technologies. These research efforts have contributed significantly to the development of science and technology, society and economy, as well as national defense and security.