Fall 2014 brought many changes to the MPAD Center and with it a few graduate students. We would like to welcome Jun Ge and Carlos A. Larrazabal Colina to the Metals Research Group!

Jun Ge

Jun Ge is originally from Zhejiang, China but he received his Masters in Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering from the Missouri University of Science and TechnologyHe is pursuing his Ph.D in Materials Science here at UAB  with a research focus in process modeling and alloy design in casting.



Carlos A. Larrazabal Colina joins the Metals Research Group from Maracaibo, Venezuela. He received his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from the Universidad del Zulia and his Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the Universidad Simon Bolivar. Carlos has spent some time in the field as an engineer working for Gases Industriales del Estex, General Electric MRI Technician, GRAM & Associados, among others. He made the decision to pursue his Ph.D here at UAB in Materials Science because of the variety of opportunities in research and how well his background in mechanical engineering compliments his future research endeavors in materials engineering.

Any student seeking a graduate degree in Materials Engineering must demonstrate competence at the undergraduate level in the areas of physical behavior of materials, thermodynamics, mechanical behavior of materials, instrumentation, and characterization.

Three new graduate students have joined the Metals Research group for spring semester.  Siddhartha Biswas comes to UAB from Missouri S&T, where he finished a MS in materials engineering, researching thermo conductivity and heat losses in the casting process.  Elis Rivera is a recent graduate of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez with an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering.  While there, he worked on a research project related to rolling and recrystallization.  And, after extensive experience as an undergraduate student researcher in the department, Maria Diana David has transitioned to a new roll as a graduate student and research assistant.

AFS_April_Meeting_2013-44Undergraduate MSE students from UAB recently won first place in the AFS-Birmingham student casting competition for their successful development of a centrifical casting apparatus. Led by Kerry Bisset and Christoper Graves, other students who participated in the project were Ranae Wright, Emily Shedlarski, Doug Pecot, Adam Forbes, Raymond Solomon, William Warner, Michael Wei, Leam Scullin, with additional support from graduate students Elis Rivera, Alex Noble, Rhiannon Bragg, and Sid Biswas.

The students initially set out to create a decorative model rocket, using centrifugal forces to form the hollow body tube of the rocket. They consulted experts in centrifugal casting and designed a set-up based on a budget of about $300. Kendell Electronics kindly donated a variable frequency drive to control the RPM of the mold. Casting simulation software MAGMAsoft was used to determine variables like solidification time, pour weight, and superheat needed.  After the computational work was completed, the next step in the project was to build the centrifugal casting machine. As this project grew into the building stage, the safety of the students was the highest priority. People involved in the build were required to wear safety gear. Experts in centrifugal casting were brought in to make sure the setup was safe. Observers to the pour were kept a minimum safe distance and kill switches were used on the electronics to ensure control. 

The apparatus was built and tested over the course of three months.  Initial trials were made with a PVC mold and wax, before moving to higher-melting-temperature zinc cast in a steel mold.  By the fourth try, a pipe 16 inches long with a relatively uniform wall thickness of 1/8 inch was created by spinning the mold at 3300 RPM. The students plan to continue refining the casting machine so that it can be used for classroom demonstrations and research. 

UAB's second student team of Kerry Bisset and Christopher Graves also won second place in the competition for their development of a cast bi-metal coin.
Ed Druschitz recently completed his PhD on the topic of alloy development for high strength cast aluminum alloys.  He is now employed as a metallurgist at the Nucor Steel facility here in Birmingham, Alabama.