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Universities collaborate to develop new alloys

molecular model

Dr. Don Brenner, Kobe Steel Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, is helping NC State take the lead in a new initiative aimed at addressing fundamental scientific questions that could lead to the development of so-called “entropy-stabilized alloys” that can withstand extremely high temperatures.

“The Defense Department has a need for materials that are mechanically and chemically stable at ultra-high temperatures – meaning temperatures of 2,000 degrees Celsius or more,” said Brenner. “These materials can have significant aerospace applications, but the number of usable materials is currently small, and those materials rely on strong chemical bonding to remain stable. At high temperatures, most materials are simply no longer stable.”

The University will be working alongside Duke University, the University of Virginia, and the University of California, San Diego to complete this research with funding from a five-year, $8.4 million grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

To address the shortage of ultra-high temperature materials, ONR has tasked Brenner and the rest of the research team with investigating the viability of creating entropy-stabilized alloys that withstand these temperatures. Entropy-stabilized alloys are materials that consist of four or more elements in approximately equal amounts.

They have garnered significant attention in recent years because they can have remarkable properties. These alloys are of interest for use in ultra-high temperature applications because of their unique ability to “absorb” disorder in a material’s crystalline structure that otherwise would lead to the breakdown of a material.

The ONR grant is tasking the research team to develop the scientific concepts needed to determine whether it’s possible to create ultra-high temperature high-entropy alloys — and, if it is possible, how.

Return to contents or download the Spring/Summer 2016 NC State Engineering magazine (PDF, 3MB).

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