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were enabled by materials technologies. The NRC wisely commissioned the 1986 study under the co-leadership of Praveen Chaudhari (IBM) and Merton Flemings (MIT) to set the stage for further coordination in the materials discipline. One of the main recommendations of the report, entitled Materials Science and Engineering for the 1990s—Maintaining Competitiveness in the Age of Materials, 1989, was that materials engineers need to understand the relationship between chemistry (composition), processing and structure, and performance of the system. That is, the composition of a material, the manner in which it is processed, and the resulting structure (microstructure) are inter-related factors that dictate how well a material performs. The original materials “tetrahedron” illustrates this interdependence. Simple as it appears today, this concept reinforced to the materials engineer the need to specify more than the chemistry of a material for it to optimally serve an intended application. And, it reinforced to the materials scientist that the basis of the interdependencies were worthy of continued study. The report’s recommendations Performance were particularly relevant to the invention and synthesis of new materials for new applications, e.g., solar conversion, energy storage, drug delivery, light weight automobile engines, etc. My own research during the 1980s and 1990s, which I am now able to resume at Saint Vincent College, benefited from the Chemistry recommendations from this NRC study. I was brought to Los Alamos National Properties Laboratory (LANL) in 1981 to develop a research program in the area of deformation Structure dynamics, which is the study of the strength and fracture resistance of materials when exposed to very fast impact events. The availability of very sophisticated test equipment at LANL allowed me to make fundamental measurements of how the strength of a metal varies with the rate at which the metal is stressed. Engineers commonly probe the variation of strength with temperature; my measurements complemented this data and allowed a more fundamental analysis of the origin of kinetic laws and the development of mathematical equations that engineers could use to predict a metal’s strength in, for instance, a complicated impact scenario. My work probed the relationship between strength (as the performance metric) and a metal’s structure and processing history. The research by my team during the 1980s and 1990s was one of many research efforts to increase understanding of the connections between a material’s composition, processing, structure, and performance. Computational modeling and simulation grew in importance in design as engineers sought to take advantage of these interrelations in design of new components and systems.

Processing

fall 2009

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Fall 2009  

Embracing Diversity

Fall 2009  

Embracing Diversity

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