About Us

Experience You Can Count On

Dr. Fan is a PhD chemist, with a successful track record of developing and deploying materials for extreme environments.  She has over 20 years experience in R&D and product development at Stanford, NASA Ames and SpaceX.  She specializes in the creative use of chemistry, polymer, composites and nanotech as tools to design, develop, and scale up advanced high performance materials.


While at NASA Ames (2001-2012), Dr. Fan functioned as a PI on a variety of interdisciplinary research projects ranging from organic synthesis, polymer nanocomposites to thermal protection materials.  With both her own research and insights from the pioneers and experts at Ames, she became a world leading expert on ablative materials for thermal protection.


Drawn by the vision, challenges and the dynamic environment, she joined SpaceX in 2012 focusing on materials development.  Over the course of a few years with a limited budget, she helped to develop some of the company’s most important materials innovations, which resulted in flight products successfully used in critical areas of spacecrafts.  These include a family of novel insulation materials that protected Falcon 9 during re-entry and enabled its reusability, the state-of-the-art primary heatshield material for Crew Dragon capsule, and a new resin system that drastically improved the performance and reliability of the composite overwrap pressure vessels for cryogenic liquids.

She left SpaceX in February 2019 to start Metis Materials Inc. so she can offer her expertise to help the aerospace and materials community at large.

We named our company after Metis, the Greek goddess of wisdom and the mother of Athena.  According to Wikipedia, "The Stoic commentators allegorized Metis as the embodiment of prudence, wisdom or wise counsel."

Selected Publications and Conference Talks

  1. Fan, W., "Chemistry and Material Properties of Several New Classes of Ablators" Gordon conference/atmospheric entry, Ventura, CA, March, 2013.
  2. Fan, W., Thornton, J., Chavez-Garcia, J., Beck, R. “Charring Behavior of Low Density Silicone Ablators”, 43rd AIAA Thermophysics Conference, June 2012, New Orleans, AIAA-2012-2746.
  3. Fan, W., Stackpoole, M., Thornton, J., Gasch, M., Olson, M. “Hyp - Conformal 1 Milestone Report” NASA Technical Memorandum, 2011.
  4. Fan, W., “Using FT-IR Spectroscopy to Understand the Structures of Ablative Polymers”, 4th Ablator Workshop, Albuquerque, NM, March, 2011.
  5. Fan, W., “Chemistry and Properties of a New Class of Lightweight Ablators”, 36th Annual Conference on Materials, Structures and Composites, Cocoa Beach, FL, Jan., 2011.
  6. Fan, W., Thornton, J., Stackpoole, M., Nikolaev, P. “Strengthening PICA with functionalized carbon nanotubes” NASA Technical Memorandum, 2010-216388.
  7. Fan, W., ‘Strengthening PICA with Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes”, 2009 National Space and Missiles Materials Symposium, Las Vegas, NV, June, 2009. 
  8. Li, C., Lei, B., Fan W., Zhang, D., Meyyappan, M. and Zhou C. “Molecular Memory Based on Nanowire-Molecular Wire Heterostructures”, J. Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Vol. 7, 138-150, 2007.
  9. Li C., Fan, W., Straus, D.A., Lei, B., Asano, S., Zhang, D., Han, J., Meyyappan, M., Zhou, C. “Charge Storage Behavior of a Nanowire Transistor Functionalized with Bis (terpyridine) Fe (II) Molecules: Dependence on Molecular Structure” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2004, 126 (25), 7750.
  10. Li, C.; Ly, J.; Lei, B.; Fan, W.; Zhang, D.; Han, J.; Meyyappan, M.; Thompson, M.; Zhou, C.; “Data Storage Studies on Nanowire Transistors with Self-Assembled Porphyrin Molecules,” J. Phys. Chem. B., 2004; 108(28); 9646-9649.  
  11. Dholakia, G., Fan, W., Koehne, J., Han, J., Meyyappan, M. “Transport in Self-Assembled Molecular Wires: Effect of Packing and Order” Phys. Rev. 2004, 69, 153402.
  12. Li, J.; Ng, H.T.; Cassell, A.; Fan, W.; Chen, H.; Ye, Q.; Koehne, J.; Han, J.; Meyyappan, M.;Meyyappan, M.; “Carbon Nanotube Nanoelectrode Array for Ultrasensitive DNA Detection " Nano Lett. 2003, 3 (5), 597.
  13. Fan, W. and Waymouth, R. M. “Sequence and Stereoselectivity of the C1-Symmetric Metallocene Me2Si (1-(4, 7-Me2Ind)) (9-Flu) ZrCl2” Macromolecules 2003, 36 (9), 3010.
  14. Fan, W., Leclerc M. K. and Waymouth, R. M. “Alternating Stereospecific Ethylene/propylene Copolymerization using Metallocenes,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2001, 123 (39), 9555-9563.