Zephyr Li

Mechanical Engineering

Understanding Characterization Mechanisms of Advanced Magnesium Alloys

Magnesium is an abundant material with great strength-to-weight ratio. However, magnesium isn't commonly used in industry, as it is susceptible to fracture and corrosion in its pure form. Recent research has created magnesium alloys with great structural properties by fusing magnesium with small amounts of different elements such as aluminum, zinc and later alumina nanoparticles (50 nm size) to develop their nanocomposites. Such magnesium alloys are stronger, more ductile, and more corrosion resistant than regular magnesium. Research this summer aimed to learn the necessary characterizing tools for analyzing these advanced magnesium alloys. Experimental testing skills developed include materials characterization, SEM imaging, and tensile test techniques. These methods allow intern to observe material texture and collect stress strain data. It is observed that the addition of aluminum and nanoparticles refines grains and overall combination of strength. Additionally, intern is learning VPSC modeling to correlate the alloying effects of different elements with subsequent change in mechanical properties. Continued research may focus on utilizing mechanical test data to validate and guide the VPSC model. With continued research on advanced magnesium alloys, hopefully one day, people can utilize magnesium to create more efficient machines and structures.

UC Santa Barbara Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships UCSB California NanoSystems Institute UC Santa Barbara’s Parents Fund Campaign for UC Santa Barbara