Manufacturing & Materials Microstructure
Everything that is made for a specific, engineered purpose is manufactured from one or more materials. The performance of the part or device depends strongly on the choice of material and its properties. The properties themselves depend on both the composition and on the microstructure of the material, which in turn depends on the processing that was applied. Many of the faculty in MSE are contributing to advances in microstructure control, characterization methods, materials processing, and advanced manufacturing. These efforts find application in essentially all types of materials. In the structural materials area, MSE is partnered with Mechanical Engineering in the NextManufacturing Center, and is a national leader in metals 3D printing. In materials processing, the Center for Iron & Steel Research is uniquely devoted to steel manufacture. For materials microstructure, MSE has long been a leader in 3D characterization via serial sectioning, high energy diffraction microscopy (partnered with Physics) and analysis.
Active projects in MSE in these and related areas include: optimization of microstructure in 3D printed parts in metals, biomaterials and ceramics; understanding fuel cell performance in relation to microstructural heterogeneity; making clean steels with minimal impact on the environment; development of high strength, high toughness materials; optimizing materials composition and form for use in additive manufacturing; using high throughput methods to develop new alloys for 3D printing; developing new sensor materials; setting up new high throughput, synchrotron-based 3D characterization; developing new SEM-based microscopies for defect characterization; development of polymer-based nanocomposites. Partnerships are active with other departments in engineering, science and computer science and also with many of the national laboratories where students have the opportunity to intern, find postdoctoral positions etc.