FAVORITE SUPERHERO: Rocket Racoon
DEGREE TYPE: PhD
PROGRAM: Mechanical Engineering
DEGREE STATUS: PhD Candidate
Concurrent strength and ductility in magnesium
DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH:
Magnesium alloys are of great interest due to the low density of magnesium which can lead to significant weight savings in transportation vehicles which will contribute to reduced emissions. Magnesium and magnesium alloys exhibit lower bulk strengths than aluminum alloys, and typical methods toward strengthening result in reduction in ductility leading magnesium alloys to be unsuitable for load-bearing applications.
Heather’s research focuses on circumventing the paradox of simultaneous increases in strength and ductility in hexagonal close-packed materials, and in particular magnesium alloys.
*Introduction of nano-spaced stacking faults: by introducing nano-spaced stacking faults through traditional severe plastic deformation mechanisms, it is possible to inrease the strength while maintaining or increasing the ductility of magnesium alloys. These defects provide boundaries for dislocation motion along easy slip planes contributing to strengthening, while providing alternate dislocation slip pathways along less-accessible planes allowing for maintained or increased ductility with the increase of strength.
*Nanograined Dual-Phase Magnesium-Lithium Alloy: One of the major issues with decreased ductility with increasing strength in magnesium alloys is due to the limited slip systems accessible to hexagonal close-packed structured materials. However, in alloying magnesium with lithium at high enough quantities, it is possible to induce both hexagonal close-packed and body-centered cubic structures within the alloy. In this configuration, it is possible to increase the strength of the alloy via reducing grain size while maintaining or increasing ductility by taking advantage of the increased dislocation motion pathways available to body-centered cubic structures.
Society of Women Engineers, Materials Advantage
- 3rd place in ASM Los Angeles Chapter Grad Student Poster Competition
(T for talk, P for Poster)
“Textural Contributions to Strengthening in a Mg-RE Alloy with Nano-spaced Stacking Faults” (P) at TMS 2017
“Effect of Local Stress on Fault Formation and Propagation within HCP Materials” (T) at TMS 2018
“Grain Boundary Pinning by YH2 Particles in Magnesium Processed by Cryomilling and Spark Plasma Sintering” (T, P) at Powdermet 2019, (P) at GRC for Powder Metallurgy 2019.
(P for published, I for in review, D for draft)
“Textural Contributions to Strengthening in a Mg-RE Alloy with Nano-spaced Stacking Faults” (D)
“Grain Boundary Pinning by YH2 Particles in Magnesium Processed by Cryomilling and Spark Plasma Sintering” (D)
REASONS FOR GRAD SCHOOL:
Wanted to open more opportunities including working in R&D fields, and in fields that are more in line with pushing new knolwedge
Mechanical Engineering (BS, MS)
Micropump-computer interface for high throughput cell injection with Professor Rao (July 2009 – July 2010)
Quality Engineer with GKN Aerospace (June-Dec 2011)
- Project Engineer, Manned Space Flight at VACCO Industries (June 2012 – July 2014
- Manufacturing Supervisor, Manned Space Flight at VACCO Industries (July 2014 – June 2016)
Rao Research Group
Society of Women Engineers
Society of Automotive Engineers
REASONS FOR ENGINEERING:
Loved understanding how things worked and putting things together with that knowledge. Engineering seemed like a good avenue to continue that interest
Research and development into solutions for environmental conservation and global warming.
Efforts into furthering science communications to effectively convey science to a wide variety of audiences and further general scientific knolwedge of the public and politicians.