Date of Award

Fall 2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Mechanical Engineering & Applied Mechanics

First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Lukes

Abstract

Due to the nature of their microstructure, alloyed components have the benefit of meeting specific design goals across a wide range of electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties. In general by selecting the correct alloy system and applying a proper heat treatment it is possible to create a metallic sample whose properties achieve a unique set of design requirements. This dissertation presents an innovative processing technique intended to control both the location of formation and the growth rates of precipitates within metallic alloys in order to create multiple patterned areas of unique microstructure within a single sample. Specific experimental results for the Al-Cu alloy system will be shown. The control over precipitation is achieved by altering the conventional heat treatment process with an external surface load applied to selected locations during the quench and anneal. It is shown that the applied pressures affect both the rate and directionality of the atomic diffusion in regions close to the loaded surfaces. The control over growth rates is achieved by altering the enthalpic energy required for successful diffusion between lattice sites. Changes in the local chemical free energy required to direct the diffusion of atoms are established by introducing a non-uniform elastic strain energy field within the samples created by the patterned surface pressures. Either diffusion rates or atomic mobility can be selected as the dominating control process by varying the quench rate; with slower quenches having greater control over the mobility of the alloying elements. Results have shown control of Al2Cu precipitation over 100 microns on mechanically polished surfaces. Further experimental considerations presented will address consistency across sample ensembles. This includes repeatable pressure loading conditions and the chemical interaction between any furnace environments and both the alloy sample and metallic pressure loading devices.

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