Research Experiences for Undergraduates

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 Project Title: Developing 3D-printable Ultra High Temperature Ceramic Composite
 Participant: Ms. Cameron Drewery
 Cameron Drewery was part of 10-weeks summer research experience program here at FIU, Plasma Forming Lab. They were involved in   developing or understanding the feasibility of whether a space grade material like tantalum carbide (TaC), which is an ultra-high   temperature ceramic (UHTC) can be 3D printed. TaC is a refractive material with a melting point of 3880oC. TaC can withstand   extremely harsh operating conditions. And hence TaC could be used in thermal protection systems in supersonic vehicles or as some   functional   parts in super-heated nuclear reactors. As we all know, due to lack of plasticity, ceramic cannot be machined. Hence near   net shape manufacture of ceramic parts have been currently focused via 3D printing techniques. 

 Using Digital Light Processing (DLP) 3D printing technique, Cameron and Mabel did an extensive study on the formulation of 3D   printable TaC resin. The research involved understanding the UV absorption behavior of the TaC resin, optimizing the printing   parameters   such as UV light intensity, exposure time and printing a prototype to attest the success. Several formulations of the TaC r   resin were   studied and eventually it was found that the resin with 20 vol%. TaC yielded the best result. The maximum layer thickness   achieved with   this resin was ~ 25 um at 50% of the equipment’s’ UV intensity. Higher intensity over-cured the TaC resin, manifesting   into cracks and   delamination.  Figure below shows a scaled down TaC rocket nozzle that was printed from the novel TaC resin   developed. Further   studies involve designing the heat treatment to obtain pure ceramic parts with minimum to no porosities.

 Project Title: Effect of Carbon fiber reinforcement on the processing and mechanical properties of High-Entropy Ultra-High
 Participant: Mr. Nathan Gillespie

 During the REU summer program 2021, Nathan Gillespie, an undergraduate at Missouri University of Science and Technology was     mentored. He worked on improving the hardness and fracture toughness of multi-component ultra-High temperature ceramics (MC-   UHTCs). The formation of single-phase solid solutioning in Mc-UHTCs has been attributed to the enhanced hardness when compared to   traditional UHTCs. (Ta,Nb,Hf,Ti)C was batched and reached a relative density of over 99% via spark-plasma sintering. Vickers   microindentation yielded a hardness value of 24 ± 2 GPa and a fracture toughness value of 3.8 ± 0.7 MPa∙m1/2.  

Summer 2020
PRE-CCAP Remote Research Experiences for Undergraduates

1. Ms. Bhairavi Chandersekhar – Electronic & Oxidation Properties of Ultra High Temperature Ceramics (UHTC)
2. Mr. Pedro Mireles – Additive Manufacturing of Novel Engineering Ceramics by Photolithography Technique