Wayne L. Worrell, 74, of Penn Valley, professor emeritus of materials science and engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, died Saturday, Feb. 18, of complications of Alzheimer's disease at home.

For 40 years, until his retirement in 2005, Dr. Worrell was on the faculty of Penn's materials science and engineering department. Materials scientists study the basic substances that make up all matter, including metals, ceramics, semiconductors, and polymers.

Dr. Worrell's research focused on high-temperature, solid-state electrochemistry with applications in sensors, fuel cells, batteries, and protective coatings.

His work led to more than 110 papers, 10 patents, and 26 doctoral theses, said Peter K. Davies, the department's chairman.

As a professor, Dr. Worrell mentored more than 40 graduate students and 30 postdoctoral fellows and visiting professors. He was also "a dedicated teacher to hundreds of undergraduate students," Davies said.

From 1986 to 1992, as dean of graduate education and research, Dr. Worrell doubled the number of full-time graduate students in the engineering school and initiated the executive master's in technology management program.

He had been a visiting scholar at the University of London and the University of California, Berkeley, and a fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany. He lectured in Japan and China.

Dr. Worrell was former chairman of the National Research Council on High Temperature Science and Technology. He was a member of the National Research Council on Chemical Sciences and a consultant and adviser for more than 30 government and industrial laboratories.

The recipient of numerous awards, he was a member several professional organizations and past president of the Electrochemical Society.

Dr. Worrell grew up in Illinois and Tennessee. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1959 and a doctorate in materials science in 1962 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He and his wife, Judith Deignan Worrell, met at a party and married in 1968.

"He was devoted to his family, his faith, science, and the idea that great experiences and great friendships are the foundation of a life well lived," their son, Fred, wrote in a tribute.

Dr. Worrell enjoyed summers hiking and sailing in Maine, Philadelphia Orchestra concerts, and travel abroad. When his children were growing up, he helped organize a faith-based program for teenagers at St. John Vianney Roman Catholic Church in Gladwyne.

Besides his wife and son, Dr. Worrell is survived by a daughter, Caroline; and six grandchildren.

A Funeral Mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, March 3, at St. John Vianney Roman Catholic Church, 350 Conshohocken State Rd., Gladwyne.

Donations may be made to the Electrochemical Society, 65 S. Main St., Bldg. D, Pennington, N.J. 08534.

Contact Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.