Newsletter, November 2014

     
    MIT Materials News that Matters

    November 2014
     
     
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    Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at the MPC!

    A Renaissance in Metals 

    Materials Day Symposium highlights breakthroughs in simulation methods, manufacturing techniques and improved alloys.

      

    A renaissance is underway in materials science, and especially in metals design, fabrication and characterization, MIT Materials Processing Center Director Carl V. Thompson says.

    Materials Processing Center Director Carl V. Thompson
    MIT Materials Processing Center Director Carl V. Thompson opens the day-long Materials Day symposium.

    "No longer are simulations serving the purpose of explaining what's already known. Things are now at the point where you can predict what a material will do and then see if that's true in the laboratory and often find that it is," Thompson said in remarks opening the Materials Day Symposium,  hosted by the Materials Processing Center at MIT, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. Sixty-seven industry representatives joined 51 MIT participants for the day-long symposium, which was followed by a poster session. Sixty-six posters were presented.

    New techniques such as data mining of scientific literature allow researchers to make best guesses about the crystal structures that a given set of elements will form and the properties of those crystals before they're ever synthesized, driving a renaissance across materials science, but especially in metals research, says Thompson, Stavros Salapatas Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT.
     

    This month's newsletter recaps the 2014 Materials Day Symposium,  "New Frontiers in Metals Processing."  

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    Additive Manufacturing Takes Flight
    Lockheed Martin Fellow Slade Gardner describes improvements in production, design and cost in making parts for air and spacecraft. 
     
    Lockheed Martin Fellow Slade Gardner describes improvements in production, design and cost in making parts for air and spacecraft during Materials Day Symposium, Oct. 21, 2014 at MIT.
     Lockheed Martin Fellow Slade Gardner  describes improvements in production,  design and cost in making parts for air  and spacecraft.

    Additive manufacturing dramatically cut production time and costs for brackets used in the Juno spacecraft, which is headed to Jupiter, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. Fellow Slade Gardner says.

    "By using additive manufacturing, we were allowed to take half the cost out and half the schedule out for these parts that did go on the Juno spacecraft," Gardner says. Gardner spoke Oct. 21 at the Materials Day Symposium, "New Frontiers in Metals Processing," hosted by the Materials Processing Center at MIT.

    In general, additive manufacturing processes save 50 percent of cost and 80 percent of the time compared to traditional parts manufacturing, Lockheed Martin case studies show. "Both of those are key metrics when you're facing the deadlines of a program," Gardner says. Read more.

      
    Customizing Metals for Energy Extraction
    Schlumberger designs and manufactures alloys, tools and sensors for extracting oil and natural gas in deep-water and unconventional environments.

    The boom in unconventional oil and natural gas resources in North America brought Schlumberger an opportunity to develop a new high-strength metal that could dissolve quickly in the presence water, Dr. Manuel Marya, Materials Engineering Manager, Schlumberger Enabling Technologies Group, says.
    Dr. Manuel Marya, Materials Engineering Manager, Schlumberger Enabling Technologies Group explaining the opportunity Schlumberger had to develop a new high-strength metal.
    Extracting oil and gas from deep, high-pressure, and high temperature wells characterized by having more corrosive species such as CO2, H2S, chlorides and free elements such as sulfur or mercury raises the technical requirements for materials compared to conventional reservoirs. 
     
    Deepwater, metals used in downhole equipment, either to measure the formation, intervene, or to produce from the well, now tend to demand more strength. Yet some proper toughness and corrosion resistance, as well as novel surface engineering solutions to delay environmental damages, are required in order to improve overall reliability, experts from Schlumberger say.

      

    With respect to metallic materials, "overall, we need high-performance materials, wherein performance is generally strength and/or wear resistance; with downhole rotating equipment such as electric submersible pumps for instance, we need high-strength motor and pump shafts, wear and corrosion resistant castings, excellent bearings, bushings, face seals, durable electrical insulations, high-temperature oils, and of course, extremely good and well-validated designs as well," Dr. Manuel Marya, Materials Engineering Manager, Schlumberger Enabling Technologies Group, says.  Read more.

    Advancing High Strength Steel
    GM Technical Fellow Louis G. Hector Jr. lays out computational and experimental challenges for next generation steels being explored through a four-year DOE-funded corporate-university-government partnership.

    GM Technical Fellow Louis G. Hector Jr. speaks about the Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) of Generation Three Advanced High Strength Steels project during Materials Day, Oct. 21, 2014. Hector is a principal investigator on the project.
    GM Technical Fellow Louis G. Hector Jr. speaks about the  Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) of  Generation Three Advanced High Strength Steels project  during Materials Day, Oct. 21, 2014. Hector is a principal  investigator on the project.
    Every 100 pounds removed from an average 3,500-pound vehicle yields a 0.4 mile per gallon improvement in gas mileage, GM Technical Fellow Louis G. Hector Jr. says. Since steel makes up 52% of the weight of most vehicles, reducing its weight is a significant motivation for researchers.

    "That's quite a significant improvement; that's quite significant motivation to take the mass out of the vehicles," says Hector, who is a Principal Investigator in the DOE-funded Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) of Generation Three Advanced High Strength Steels project. 

    ICME is pooling the resources and technical expertise of researchers at General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, four steel manufacturers, one DOE government lab and five universities under the umbrella of the U.S. Automotive Materials Partnership and the Auto/Steel Partnership.  Read more.

    A Template for Corrosion-Resistant Metal
    MIT Associate Professor Bilge Yildiz identifies factors that can cut hydrogen absorption and promote hydrogen gas evolution off zirconium oxide surfaces.

    MIT Associate Professor Bilge Yildiz, Nuclear Science and Engineering, explains how to design corrosion-resistant metal alloys by minimizing hydrogen solubility in the metal or accelerating hydrogen gas evolution for oxides.
    MIT Associate Professor Bilge Yildiz,  Nuclear Science and Engineering, explains  how to design  corrosion-resistant metal  alloys by minimizing  hydrogen solubility in  the metal or accelerating  hydrogen gas  evolution for oxides.

    Rust on a steel lamppost or discoloration on a copper coin show the ease with which nature corrodes materials. On an industrial scale, corrosion represents a $12 billion per year problem for U.S. electric and gas utilities, MIT Associate Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering Bilge Yildiz says. Although the corrosion problem is ages old, she believes it is ripe for new scientific discoveries.

    Yildiz is working to engineer better alloys to prevent problems like cracking caused by hydrogen getting into metals such as zirconium alloys used in nuclear applications or iron-based alloys used in other applications. 

      

    "In many environments, we are able to use the metals thanks to what forms as native films on them. Whether these are oxides or sulfides, we call these native, or passive films, because they allow for simply slowing down the corrosion rate," Yildiz explains. 

     
    Making Oxygen on the Moon
    MIT Professor Donald R. Sadoway shows molten oxide electrolysis can produce life-supporting oxygen.
     Molten oxide electrolysis is a platform for using electricity to make carbon-free metals, including iron and titanium, in a single-step, says Donald R. Sadoway,  the John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT.
    Donald R. Sadoway, the John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry at MIT discusses why molten oxide electrolysis is a platform for  using electricity to make carbon-free metals.


    Techniques of molten oxide electrolysis (MOE) can stretch from refining structural metals on earth to producing oxygen to support life on the moon, MIT Professor Donald R. Sadoway says. That's because the same process that extracts iron and other metals from their metal oxides releases oxygen as a byproduct.

    There is sufficient metallic oxide content in the lunar surface to use molten oxide electrolysis to make oxygen from iron and sodium oxides, as well as from more plentiful aluminosilicates, oxygen-rich solid compounds of aluminum and silicon. "It doesn't matter where you go on the moon, you'll be able to use MOE and make oxygen," says Sadoway, who is John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT. 

    Sadoway and MIT colleagues have been studying molten oxide electrolysis techniques for separating a variety of metals, from iron to titanium for carbon-free production in a single step. Read more. 
    Controlling Nanostructure at Grain Boundaries
    MIT Materials Science Head Christopher A. Schuh and spinoff Xtalic discover secret sauce for mixing alloying elements with important metals to form fine grain structures.
    Adding an alloying element that segregates to the grain boundaries of a base metal is the key to controlling nanoscale grain size in commercially important metals such as nickel, silver, and aluminum, Christopher A. Schuh, Department Head of Materials Science & Engineering at MIT, says.
    Christopher A. Schuh, Department Head of  Materials Science & Engineering at MIT and speaker at the Materials Day Symposium.


    Adding an alloying element that segregates to the grain boundaries of a base metal is the key to controlling nanoscale grain size in commercially important metals such as nickel, silver, and aluminum, Christopher A. Schuh, 
    Department Head of Materials Science & Engineering at MIT, says.

    "We're at the point where for a given base metal and a given target temperature, we can make a map of all the different alloys that we might think about trying, and we can identify those that will not work thermodynamically versus those that maybe will work thermodynamically," Schuh explains.

    Research initiated at Schuh's lab at MIT and continuing both on campus and through a spinoff, Xtalic, produced breakthroughs in nanostructured materials with grain sizes down to 10 or 20 nanometers. Schuh, the Danae and Vasillis Salapatas Professor of Metallurgy at MIT, also is Xtalic's chief scientist.  Read more.
    Massachusetts-Produced Rare Earth Metals  
    Infinium's new separation process promises cleaner, cheaper source for critical ingredient in hybrid/electric vehicles and less dependence on Chinese imports.
    Adam C. Powell, IV, Ph.D., chief technology officer  and co-founder of Infinium Inc., in Natick, Mass.,  speaks about the company's plans for environmentally friendly production of magnesium and rare earth metals.

      

    Chinese and Vietnamese producers, who account for about 98 percent of the world's supply of rare earth metals, are about to get some competition from Massachusetts-based Infinium. Rare earth metals are a key ingredient for electric motors in hybrid and electric vehicles, says Adam C. Powell, IV, Ph.D., chief technology officer and co-founder of Infinium Inc., in Natick.

    With the exception of Tesla, which uses induction motors, the majority of currently available electric and hybrid vehicles use rare-earth permanent magnet motors, indicating a consensus among automakers that rare earth permanent magnet motors are lighter and more efficient than induction motors. 

    Infinium Metals is moving into commercial production of rare earth metals, with an initial offering of dysprosium-iron later this year, followed by a planned rollout next year of neodymium, and later didymium. 

    Materials Day 2014 Poster Winners
    Congratulations to this year's Materials Day poster session winners:
       
    Poster winners, from left, Azzarelli, Cordero, and Gibson.

    Zachary C. Cordero
    Poster Title: Powder Processing of Ultrafine Grain, Tungsten-bearing Alloys
    Faculty Advisor: Professor Chris Schuh
    Materials Science and Engineering


    Michael Gibson

    Poster Title: Trends in Segregation Energies and Their connection to Embrittlement
    Faculty Advisor: Professor Chris Schuh
    Materials Science and Engineering

    Joseph Azzarelli

    Poster Title: Wireless Detection of Gases and Vapors with a Smartphone via Near Field Communication
    Faculty Advisor: Professor Timothy M. Swager
    Chemistry Dept.


    2014 Summer Scholar Wins AICHE Poster Award
    AICHE Poster Winners

    CMSE-MPC 2014 Summer Scholar Rahul Kini, second from right, was recognized with a 1st place trophy in the Materials Science and Engineering Division at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Nov. 16-21. Kini, a Yale University senior, presented his poster "Investigation of Materials in Solid State Lithium Ion Batteries," based on his summer research experience undergraduate (REU) internship in the lab of Professor Carl V. Thompson, MPC director and Stavros Salapatas Professor of Materials Science & Engineering at MIT. The others pictured are, from left, fellow Yale students Ferra Pinnock, Lea Winter, Siddharth Senthilnathan and Benjamin Bartolome.

    IN OTHER NEWS
    New 2-D quantum materials 
    MIT team provides theoretical roadmap to making 2-D nanoelectronics with novel properties.
     
    This diagram illustrates the concept behind the MIT team's vision of a new kind of electronic device based on 2-D materials.. Illustration, Yan Liang
     This diagram illustrates the concept  behind the MIT team's vision of a  new kind of electronic device based  on 2-D materials. Illustration, Yan  Liang

    Researchers at MIT say they have carried out a theoretical analysis showing that a family of two-dimensional materials exhibits exotic quantum properties that may enable a new type of nanoscale electronics.

    These materials are predicted to show a phenomenon called the quantum spin Hall (QSH) effect, and belong to a class of materials known as transition metal dichalcogenides, with layers a few atoms thick.

    "What is discovered here is a true 2-D material that has this [QSH] characteristic," Ju Li, a professor of nuclear science and engineering and materials science and engineering, says. "The edges are like perfect quantum wires."  

    Read more.

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