The Department of Materials Science and Engineering contains extensive instructional and research facilities focusing on the analysis, characterization, manufacturing, and control of the wide variety of conventional and advanced materials including ceramics; glasses; composites; electrical, optical, and magnetic materials; and nanomaterials required by modern technology. Students who utilize the laboratory equipment and facilities learn to solve problems related to the design, processing, and evaluation of conventional and specialty materials. Special equipment exposes our students to the preparation and evaluation of the newer types of ceramics, metals, polymers, and composites required in aerospace, advanced engine, biotechnology, photonics, and electromagnetic applications.
An attractive feature of the department is the small class sizes, which makes instruction more interactive. The curriculum includes a large number of laboratory courses, which provide hands-on experience and learning to students. Generally, the laboratories are located within the A-wing of the Engineering Building, the Center for Ceramic Research Building, or the Fiber Optic Materials Research Building.
Equipment is housed in an instructional facility and several advanced technology centers, including the Center for Ceramic Research, the Fiber Optic Materials Research Center, and the Center for Advanced Materials via Immiscible Polymer Processing (AMIPP). Major grants from industry and the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology have provided these instructional and research facilities.
Evaluation and Measurement. Microscopy equipment includes petrographic and metallographic microscopes, a transmission electron microscope, and scanning electron microscopes. Several X-ray diffraction units provide the capability of identifying phases, with computer-automated, high-resolution systems available for advanced study of particle size, strains, and quantitative phase analysis. Chemistry can be evaluated with techniques such as energy dispersive spectroscopy, atomic absorption, inductively coupled plasma, Fourier transform IR, and laser Raman. Energy dispersive X-ray analysis systems used with the scanning electron microscopes permit microchemical analysis. Virtually all types of particle-size analysis are represented. A surface analysis system provides scanning Auger microscopy coupled with secondary ion mass, X-ray photoelectron, and ion scattering spectroscopies.
Thermal analysis equipment includes simultaneous differential thermal analysis, thermogravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, thermomechanical analysis, and high-temperature X-ray diffraction.
Dielectric properties of ceramic materials can be measured over a frequency range from 0.01 hertz to 1010 hertz. There is equipment for measuring heat capacity, thermal expansion, thermal conductivity, and thermal diffusivity over a wide temperature range. Mechanical properties that may be measured and that are currently being studied include elasticity, viscosity, and plasticity.
Mechanical testing instrumentation includes microhardness, toughness, and modulus- and strength-testing equipment, including advanced computer-controlled servo-hydraulic, electromechanical, and high-temperature creep systems. Various room- and elevated-temperature viscometers permit rheology to be determined. An advanced torque rheometer permits optimization of such industrial processes as mixing, extrusion, and injection molding. Tribology is studied with a specially designed, automated machine that measures friction and wear.
Preparation and Forming. Common and special-purpose types of pulverizers, mixers, blungers, extruders, presses, and furnaces are available for pilot-plant production of whitewares, refractories, dielectrics, glass, and other types of ceramics. Microprocessor- and computer-controlled kilns with carefully controlled atmospheres and closely regulated temperatures are especially suitable for sintering studies.
Hot pressing and hot extrusion of special ceramics may be done in a wide range of presses and furnaces, including both cold and hot isostatic presses, atmosphere-controlled hot presses, nitriding furnaces, and injection molders. A wide variety of conventional and novel gas-fired, electric, and radio-frequency furnaces is available.
Advanced ceramic production technologies include special equipment for composites; laser synthesis of ultrafine, perfect powders; R.F./D.C. film sputtering; chemical vapor deposition; and evaporation-deposition. The properties of electronic substrates, packages, and magnetic and superconducting ceramics and devices can be studied in the Howatt Laboratory for Electronic Ceramics.
Computer Laboratory. This laboratory is equipped with 15 Silicon Graphics workstations with links to the Rutgers computer center for massively parallel computing and to supercomputers at the national level. Computations are performed in CAD/CAM related to design, manufacture, and properties of materials; in molecular dynamic simulations of materials; and in theory of materials.
Electron Microscopy Laboratory. This laboratory is equipped with a field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM) and a transmission electron microscope, JOEL 100 CX, and various specimen-preparation facilities. The transmission electron microscope operates at up to 125 KV and is capable of ±30º tilting with a top entry specimen holder stage. Materials research by conventional electron microscopy techniques is carried out routinely with the use of this electron microscope. The supporting equipment includes an evaporator, chemical and electropolishing units for thin foils, and darkroom facilities.
Materials Research Laboratory. This laboratory provides the necessary equipment and facilities for the study of structure and structural defects in metals, alloys, and other materials and for the study of techniques, such as the controlled use of precipitate particles or rearrangement of the existing dislocation structures to improve the engineering properties of materials. Among the various facilities of this laboratory are electron microscopes, X-ray facilities, equipment for the preparation and examination of opaque and transparent specimens, electrolytic polishing equipment, Servomet erosion spark cutters for sectioning and planing, various optical microscopes, various induction furnaces and zone-refining equipment for the growth of crystals, and a stress-corrosion test apparatus.
Mechanics and Materials Laboratory. The facilities of this laboratory are used for instruction in determining the mechanical and physical properties of various materials. The available facilities include a hydraulically controlled Instron testing machine with a high- and low-temperature environmental chamber, an Instron universal testing machine, a torsional pendulum apparatus, a sonic modulus tester, a differential scanning calorimeter, an infrared apparatus, a density gradient column, and an apparatus for the study of surface friction.
Nanomaterials and Devices Laboratory. The remarkable structural, mechanical, and electronic properties of nanomaterials have generated considerable interest. The laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art synthesis as well as electrical measurement apparatuses. Specifically, we are equipped with a single wall nanotube furnace; a plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) apparatus for aligned multiwall nanotube growth; and the submerged arc apparatus for synthesis of nanotubes, nanoonions, and nanohorns. The laboratory also has RF sputtering, thermal evaporation, and filtered cathodic arc apparatuses for catalyst and thin film deposition. In addition to nanomaterials synthesis, we have also set up a fully automated probe station with an Agilent 4155A semiconductor analyzer for electrical characterization of our nanoelectronic devices.
Scanning Probe Laboratory. Scanning probe microscopes can be used to study a wide range of properties with a resolution of one namometer or less. The laboratory is equipped with several atomic force microscopes including a Digital Instruments Nanoscope IV and a Park Instruments AFM. These are used to study nanoscale surface morphology, surface forces, frictional forces, structure of physisorbed films, and the conformation of biomolecules. In addition, there is a near-field scanning optical microscope that enables optical characterization to be performed with a resolution of around 25 nm. Nanoscale mechanical characterization is performed using a Hysitron Triboindenter which combines many features of an AFM with the mechanical capabilities of a nanoindentation system.
X-Ray Laboratory. This laboratory provides a variety of equipment used to determine chemistry and crystal structure, map out defect structure, identify unknown crystalline phases, measure lattice parameters, quantify phase mixtures, measure residual stresses, study surface roughness at the atomic level, determine the interfacial roughness in a thin film structure, prepare reciprocal space maps, analyze rocking curves of near-perfect crystals, and measure misfit strains. Three diffractometers are available for these studies. Two Siemens D500 instruments are available for routine powder analysis, while the Panalytical X'Pert MRD is available for high-end research work that requires the highest resolution. The Panalytical system is equipped with a variety of beam conditioners, a Eulerian cradle for x-y-z-omega-phi-psi sample movements, and detector stages to convert the instrument into a double-crystal or triple-crystal diffractometer. Jade software is available for routine phase ID, lattice parameter measurements, residual stress, and quantitative analysis on all the instruments. Additional software is available for the Panalytical instrument to obtain pole figures, and perform a variety of tasks related to single crystals and thin films.