Estimated Graduation: Summer 2021
FAVORITE SUPERHERO: Rocket Racoon
DEGREE IN PROGRESS: PhD Candidate in Mechanical Engineering
PRONOUNS: She / her
OTHER INTERESTS & HOBBIES: Photography, costume construction and crafting, podcasting, and my dog (Shelby)
Hi, my name is Heather Salvador. I’m working on my PhD in mechanical engineering under the advisement of Dr. Suveen Mathaudhu. I hold a B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering from UC Riverside. I worked at VACCO Industries for four years before deciding to return for my doctorate after meeting Professor Mathaudhu at a Society of Women Engineers networking event. In this program, I have been able to participate in multiple outreach events focused on encouraging kids to pursue STEM fields by connecting science and superheroes. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to present my research at various conferences, network with top researchers in the field of physical metallurgy, and even expand my interests to obtain a certificate in the UCR Science to Policy program. My work experience at VACCO combined with my research and development experience at UCR has greatly expanded my skillset in management, critical thinking and problem solving, technical writing, and innovation which will be an asset to any future employer.
Magnesium-based metal matrix composite developed by cryomilling and spark plasma sintering
Magnesium alloys are of great interest in industries that benefit from weight reductions due to the low density of magnesium. To put this in a more real-world light, if you could replace aluminum or steel parts in cars, trains, or airplanes with lighter magnesium parts, the weight savings translate into a reduction in fuel emissions. This sounds great, but 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. This research looks at the application of ball milling magnesium and ceramic powder followed by consolidation to produce a magnesium metal-matrix composite. Using this system, we can look as some of the fundamental strengthening effects in magnesium-based metal matrix composites when the microstructure is smaller than what is currently used and understood.
Collaborators: Christian Roach
Radiation tolerance of heterogeneous-structured copper processed by surface mechanical attrition treatment
Metals used in nuclear reactors and for containment of radioactive waste must be able to withstand hard environments including large temperature fluxuations and bombardment by energetic particles. As you can imagine, in order to ensure we keep people safe with these, understanding exactly how radioactivity affects metals on an atomic level is necessary. This study uses surface mechanical attrition treatment of commercially pure copper to produce a heterogeneous structured microstructure with a nano-grained layer along the treated surface and gradiating toward large, undeformed grains as you move further from the treated surface. Using this microstructure, the effects of radiation damage across a variety of grain sizes can be studied to better understand the effect of grain size.
Collaborators: Trevor Clark, Sina Shahrezaei, Khalid Hattar
Fine-grained dual-phase magnesium lithium alloys processed by high pressure torsion (HPT)
As mentioned above, there is an interest in the ability to strengthen magnesium alloys while mitigating the loss of ductility associated with strengthening methods. In this work, high pressure torsion is used to refine the microstructure of single phase and dual phase magnesium lithium alloys to study the effect of pressure and pre-HPT homogenization treatment on the resulting mechanical properties. The idea behind using a dual-phased Mg-Li alloy is to take advantage of the increased ductility associated with the BCC-structured phase that appears with enough lithium additions.