Mitchel Zavala

Participant: PROMISE AGEP Research Symposium

Mitchel Zavala
Department
: Mechanical Engineering
Institution: University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

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ABSTRACT

Characterization of Copper-Carbon Hybrid Covetic Material 

Covetics are a “new” class of materials with high carbon content in excess of their solute solubility. These hybridized materials have been formed from base metals, such as copper (Cu), which are supersaturated with carbon (C) (up to ~10 wt. %). Literature on covetics has revealed increased mechanical properties and higher corrosion and oxidation resistance in comparison to their corresponding base metals.  Most of the physical and mechanical properties of covetics have not been well characterized, and the role of the carbon incorporation on the properties still needs to be explained. Previous reports have been published on some of the properties of covetics, but systematic studies with samples prepared under controlled conditions are lacking. The focus of this research investigates the implications of C incorporation, the structure of covetics, and presents a fundamental understanding of how this structure is linked to the covetics’ mechanical properties.   The mechanical properties of covetics are determined via microtensile specimen (gage section of 250μm X 250μm) and mesotensile specimen (gage section of 3mm X 1.5mm) testing in order to understand the role of C on mechanical response.  This work measures key mechanical properties of Cu covetics, evaluates deformation mechanisms, microstructural observations, and atomic bond analysis to phenomenologically explain unique mechanical behaviors exhibited by Cu covetics

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

I am a first year graduate student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). I received my undergraduate degree from UMBC in May 2014. Originally I am from Darien, CT, where I went to high school. My parents immigrated to this country from Lima, Peru, making me Peruvian in nationality. Throughout my undergraduate career, and now as a graduate student, I have done research in the Micro-Materials Characterization Laboratory at UMBC. I specialize in materials science and characterization. My research is on the characterization and mechanical testing of nano-carbon supercharged metals.
In the summer of 2014 I worked at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division (NSWCCD). I worked on addressing the problem of stress corrosion cracking being experienced by cruiser ships made of magnesium enriched aluminum alloys (5xxx series Al alloys). I was an essential part of analyzing the problem, and choosing a different, optimal Al alloy for in-service cruiser ships to use. I will be returning to the NSWCCD this summer.
I will continue to pursue my goal of receiving my PhD in mechanical engineering, and trying to make a difference in the lack of minority students pursuing STEM degrees.

 

GENERAL SUMMARY OF GRADUATE RESEARCH

Covetics are a “new” class of materials with high carbon content in excess of their solute solubility. These hybridized materials have been formed from base metals, such as copper (Cu), aluminum (Al), and silver (Ag), which are supersaturated with carbon (C) (up to ~10 wt. %). Historically, the maximum solubility of C in FCC lattice solid solution was low; for example, in Cu it is about .04 at. % C. By contrast, a seemingly simple process was developed by Third Millennium Materials, LLC (TMM) which provides a direct method for incorporating carbon on a nano scale into these metal matrices. Early characterization of covetics has revealed increased mechanical properties and higher corrosion and oxidation resistance in comparison to their corresponding base metals.
Since covetics are a “new” class of materials, there are still many questions that need to be answered, in particular: “What is a covetic?” The bonding between the carbon and metal atoms (if there is any) needs to be explored. Most of the physical and mechanical properties of covetics have not been well characterized, and the role of the carbon incorporation on the properties still needs to be phenomenologically explained. The main focus of my approach is to investigate the implications of C incorporation, the structure of covetics, and to gain fundamental understanding of how this structure is linked to the covetics’ mechanical properties. Such testing and analysis is a crucial step towards incorporating these materials into advanced technologies.

SELECTED LIST OF PRESENTATIONS AND PUBLICATIONS

  1. Zavala, Mitchel et al. ‘Aluminum Based Cubesat Linkage System’. 2013. Presentation.
  2. Zavala, Mitchel et al. ‘Hybridized Carbon Nanotube-Nickel Material through Electrodeposition’. 2013. Presentation

Disclaimer: Information on this page has been provided by and is owned by the student presenter.

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