Current Projects

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“What’s truly innovative is the interplay of material crystal symmetry with chemical and physical properties of material systems under extreme conditions”


Oxide-Melt Calorimetry for Non-Oxides

Student: Stuart Ness | Initiative: Materials Discovery | Theme: Calorimetry and Computation

Oxide-Melt calorimetry is a robust technique for determining the formation enthalpies for many oxide systems. This project aims to expand this technique to measure the formation enthalpies of non-oxide systems, especially multi-component carbides, nitrides, and borides. This will simplify the process of gathering formation enthalpies for these systems, many of which have sparse or conflicting thermodynamic data available. Enthalpy of formation is essential in determining material stability, and thus material longevity when in engineering applications.

High temp calves calorimeter
Twin-Calvet calorimeter used for oxide-melt calorimetry  (Figure courtesy of NASA Glen)

Thermodynamics and Crystallography of Materials up to 4500 ˚C

Student: Fox Thorpe | Initiative: Materials Design | Theme: Crystallography and Calorimetry

Thermodynamics and crystal structure characterization of materials is required for engineering design. Historically, obtain these for materials above 1500 ˚C has proven difficult. With the development of new advanced experimental equipment which can be coupled with calorimetry and X-ray/Neutron diffraction, such as levitation with laser heating (see figure), thermodynamic properties of carbides, nitrides, and borides will be characterized from room temperature up to their melting point. This data will be essential for the development of nuclear materials, hypersonics, and space vehicle applications.

Dual laser Conical Nozzle Levitator
Environmentally contained conical nozzle levitator equipped with dual lasers

U-Fe-Ga Phase Equilibria

Student: Kyle Kondrat | Initiative: Materials Discovery | Theme: Synthesis, Calorimetry, Computation

The U-Fe-Ga system has been minimally studied. This project will further investigate the ternary system and achieve a better understanding of the U-Fe-Ga phase equilibria. Various compositions of U, Fe, and Ga will be used to synthesize different alloys. Calorimetry on these alloys will be used to determine the enthalpy of formation and heat capacities of the synthesized alloys. This experimental data will be used to update the phase diagram of the U-Fe-Ga system with CALPHAD computational methods.

Fe-Ga-U
U-Ga-Fe Phase Diagram (Moore et al.)