Department of Materials Science & Engineering

Metals

The research work of Metals concentrates on new metallic materials, fabrication methods for metal products and on joining methods for metals. Metal foams, adhesive joining of metals and the production of metal matrix composites and hybrid materials via combined reactive synthesis and casting technology are examples of the current research fields. The long-term durability of adhesive joints has been one of the central research areas for several years. In more conventional areas expertise has been developed, e.g., in metal alloy development and in welding and foundry technologies.

Metals utilizes in its research work all research facilities of the department. In its own research areas Metals Technology has in use different kinds of ball mills and an inert gas glove-box. For long-term durability studies of adhesive joints a programmable weather cabinet with a volume of 900 liters is in use. It enables the aging of adhesive joints either under constant conditions or under varying temperature and humidity conditions with or without static load.

Metals are critically important materials for use in transportation and infrastructure. The goal of the research is to learn how to develop new high strength, high toughness metals based on novel alloy systems. For example, we are currently working on intermetallic compound-based systems, such as TiAl and Molybdenum silicides. These materials are particularly challenging because, while they commonly offer high strength and low densities, properties highly sought after for aerospace applications, they also tend to have limited ductility and toughness.

Much of our research focuses on the reasons for this low ductility in these promising materials and involves a combination of theory, experiment and computer modelling. The experimental work is focused on single crystalline materials, while the theoretical and modelling efforts are focused on the structure and properties of dislocations, grain boundaries and other defects. The structure and properties of interfaces are an especially important part of this work because the mechanical properties of some of these materials are largely controlled by closely spaced periodic interfaces.
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