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MRI: Development of a Dynamic Material Processing and Testing Instrument



Principal Investigators: Glenn Daehn, Stephen Niezgoda, John Lippold, Anupam Vivek

This 3-year (9/2015-8/2018) Major Research Instrumentation Award supports the development of a dynamic materials processing and test instrument that will allow the safe and detailed examination of highly dynamic materials processing in a conventional laboratory environment.  This is intended to dramatically increase access to cutting-edge materials testing and allow innovation in these processes.  Highly dynamic processes that rely on intense pressures over short time are uncommon in research laboratories and almost unknown in manufacturing processes.  It is important to understand dynamic material behavior both for fundamental reasons and because it is common in understanding ballistics, shock, and manufacturing processes.  Also, dynamic processes can allow the development of materials structures and properties that are difficult or impossible to access with conventional processes.  This can lead to energy efficient processes and lighter weight transportation components; both outcomes can reduce atmospheric carbon emission. This program will also have positive impact on the STEM workforce by demonstrating to K-12 students that very creative and disruptive opportunities exist in engineering and providing the broad technical community a platform for innovation and training.


The new instrument is based on the Vaporizing Foil Actuator (VFA) method of developing high pressures (>1 GPa) and high sample speeds (>1 km/s).  The velocity field during launch, impact, or forming can be measured at up to 16 points using a multiplexed photonic Doppler velocimetry system (PDV) that is integral to the instrument.  This system will find application in a wide variety of experimental studies on topics including: high pressure phase transformations, impact welding, dynamic powder consolidation, residual stress and springback reduction, dynamic formability, dynamic embossing and shock hardening.  Impact welding, for example, can weld metals that cannot be joined by fusion methods and this instrument can encourage the commercial deployment of this technique.  The instrument will also dramatically reduce the difficulty and expense in fundamental studies of material behavior (plasticity, spall, fracture, etc.) at high strain rates and short times.


Major activities:

Year 1
Year 2
Year 3 (upcoming)