The University of Texas at El Paso has been awarded $430,084 from the National Science Foundation for pioneering research exploring what mechanisms cause fractures in nanostructured, or microscopic, materials.
Researchers in materials engineering are challenged to develop a material that is both high strength and able to be formed for manufacturing. In recent years, nanostructured materials developed by UTEP Professor and Chair of the Department of Metallurgical, Materials and Biomedical Engineering Devesh Misra, Ph.D., have enabled engineers to manufacture components that not only have longer life and superior performance, but also are lightweight.
The awarded project will investigate the causes of fractures and monitor the effects of fractures on nanostructured materials. The new insights will be a major breakthrough in guiding the development and design of material structures with optimum mechanical properties. This research may benefit the automatic and biomedical industries, both of which have a significant need for efficient, high-strength materials that absorb energy and hold up well under stress.
For example, nanostructured steel will enable the development of lightweight vehicle frames, which will in turn produce more fuel-efficient cars.
Students participating in this research will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in groundbreaking metals-related nanotechnology research.
“The proposed research provides a unique experience to students where physical metallurgy concepts are introduced to nanomaterials, impacting the metals-related nanotechnology research being pursued at UTEP,” Misra said. “Furthermore, the creative nature of research will be integrated with teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels.”