Friction stir processing of nanostructured metal matrix composites

Program: Globalink Research Internship

University: University of Alberta

Discipline: Engineering, chemical and biological

Sector: Mining and metallurgy

Varun Rangu
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Adrian Gerlich

Friction stir processing has been developed as a method for modifying the microstructure and properties of an alloy. However, no efforts have been made to determine how the formation of amorphous phases can be promoted during friction stir processing, or whether a composite involving an amorphous or nanocrystalline matrix and carbon nanotubes can be synthesized.  These nanostructured composites offer desirable properties in terms of strength to weight ratio, wear resistance, and impact toughness.  The goal will be to establish which factors control the formation of nanostructured composites via friction stir processing, and to characterize their microstructures and properties.

 The goal of the proposed work will be to synthesize nanostructured composites by friction stir processing and characterize their microstructure, mechanical performance, and thermal stability.  The processing conditions and base material chemistry promoting formation of amorphous and nanostructured phases will be determined.  The influence of processing parameters on material flow and the dispersion of carbon nanotubes in the metal matrix will also be examined using SEM and optical microscopy.   Ultimately, these findings will help to develop an understanding of structure-property relations in nanostructured composites, as well as the influence of severe plastic deformation on amorphous metals.  A major focus will be to establish the role of microstructure on the deformation mechanisms, and thermal stability of these materials.

A dedicated friction stir processing machine will be used to synthesize nanocrystalline and amorphous metals, as well as composites reinforced by carbon nanotubes.  The student will be trained in the operation of the equipment, and techniques for fabricating the composites.

Accelerate drop-down (Eng)

Canada’s premiere research internship program providing interns with the opportunity to transfer their skills from theory to real-world application, while companies gain a competitive advantage by accessing high-quality research expertise.

Past Research Projects
Apply Now

Elevate drop-down (Eng)

Provides a foundation of cutting-edge research, business, entrepreneurship and scientific management skills to newly-minted PhDs while giving companies access to a highly qualified uniquely trained pool of talent.

Past Research Projects
Apply Now

Globalink drop-down (Eng)

Mitacs Globalink builds a living bridge between Canada and international partners by establishing and reinforcing global links through student mobility.


Past Research Projects

Enterprise drop-down (Eng)

Enterprise is a comprehensive, career-development program that gives graduates of science, technology, engineering and math the opportunity to build their business skills through an intense program of mentorship and work experience with small and medium-sized companies.

Step drop-down (Eng)

Canada’s only comprehensive program providing business-ready skills to up-and-coming researchers. Step trains graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in essential interpersonal, project management and entrepreneurial skills required for them to succeed in their future career.

Outreach drop-down (Eng)

Making science and mathematics compelling for future researchers – our children – through initiatives such as the nationally-recognized theatrical production, Math Out Loud, and online quiz game, MathAmaze.