Solid Mechanics, Materials and Manufacturing
Solid Mechanics, Materials and Manufacturing develops novel computational and experimental solutions for problems in the mechanical behavior of advanced materials and processes. Research in the division spans length scales and includes investigations of microstructural effects on mechanical behavior, nanomechanics, granular mechanics and continuum mechanics. Material behavior models span length scales from the nano- and microscale to the meso- and macroscale. Much of the research is computational in nature, using advanced methods such as molecular dynamics and finite element, boundary element and discrete element methods. Strong ties exist between this group and the campus communities of applied mathematics, chemical engineering, materials science, metallurgy and physics.
Mohsen Asle Zaeem
- Development of algorithms and models for nano/micro computational materials and mechanics (electronic structure calculations, atomistic simulations, and phase-field modeling)
- Rapid solidification of materials
- Data-enabled and computational-intensive frameworks to determine processing-structure-property relations in materials (metallic alloys, functional ceramics, and 2D materials)
- Solid state phase transformation (diffusional and martensitic)
- Materials design through ICME
Professor and Dean of Energy and Materials
- Electrochemical stresses in lithium-ion batteries and transport membranes
- Homogenization methods for heterogeneous materials
- Fracture mechanics
- Green’s functions and boundary element methods
- Mechanics of anisotropic materials
- Additive manufacturing (AM) in a range of materials from metals to ceramics to polymers
- Process feedback control of AM systems
- Qualification and certification of AM processes and parts
- Alloy design and property development
- AM education and workforce development
- Director: Advanced Manufacturing interdisciplinary graduate program
- Atomic scale studies of catalysis: structures, defect interactions and surface reactions
- 2D materials and nanostructures
- Piezoelectric materials
- Soft-magnetic materials
- Structure and electronic properties of alloy nanowires
- Growth of alloy nanoparticles with controlled electronic properties
- Development of genetic algorithms for materials design
Professor and Department Head
- Additive manufacturing of custom derived polymeric systems including polymer-derived ceramics
- Energy dissipation of liquid crystalline elastomers
- Fabrication and mechanical testing of polymer matrix composites
- Processing-structure-property relationships of nitinol shape memory alloys
- Nanometer- to centimeter-scale additive manufacturing
- Mass transport, reaction kinetics and interface design in reactive inks for photovoltaics, printed electronics and printed MEMS
- Microstructure evolution, dilution and corrosion of metals fabricated using powder bed fusion and directed energy deposition technologies to simplify post-processing of additively manufactured metals
- Grain boundary structure-property predictions
- Discovery and design of nanostructured materials
- Deformation mechanisms in materials
- Modeling multifunctionality in emerging materials
- Microstructural damage initiation and structural health
Ruichong “Ray” Zhang
- Damage diagnosis and structural integrity evaluation of pipelines and infrastructural systems
- Concrete containment for fluidized-bed thermal energy storage system with economic analysis
- Modeling of time-dependent dislocation source and wave propagation in layered media
- Time-frequency data analysis for structural health monitoring and damage detection
- System identification and vibration control of long-span, large-scale structures
Research Centers and Groups
Labs and Capabilities
Advanced Manufacturing Teaching Lab
The Advanced Manufacturing Teaching Lab hosts high-end additive manufacturing equipment capable of printing in various materials. Students in the Advanced Manufacturing program get hands-on experience with relevant equipment used in industry.
- 3D Systems ProJet 6000: Industrial-grade high resolution stereolithography (SLA) printer that offers a wide variety of resins with cured properties that meet or exceed their standard engineering counterparts. The ProJet 6000 can also print transparent parts. It has a build volume of 250 x 250 x 250 mm and feature reproducibility as low as 0.050 mm.
- ADAPT Modular Powder Bed Fusion Education and Research Environment (AmPERE): Student-built powder bed fusion (PBF) printer designed for studying the effects of process parameters that cannot typically be varied by users of industrial PBF printers. These parameters include scan strategies, laser power, laser spot size, and material spreading. It was designed to print steels, nickel-based super alloys, aluminum alloys, and titanium alloys. The build volume is 100 x 100 x 40 mm, and minimum layer thickness is 0.040 mm.
- Direct Ink Write (DIW): Student-built DIW 3D printer designed for testing viscous additive manufacturing materials and studying the effects of process parameters on the additive manufacturability of these materials. The printer is equipped with several pressurized dispensing heads that allow it to print a variety of materials, including two-part (2K) mixtures, ranging in viscosity from 1cP to greater than 150,000 cP. Customizable print parameters include dispensing and slicing strategies, machine feeds and speeds, dispensing pressure, filament/nozzle diameter, and material curing methods. The machine also incorporates print monitoring equipment, including thermal and high-speed cameras. The build volume is 500 x 300 x 100 mm, with a minimum layer height of 0.040 mm.
- EOS M270: Industrial-grade, research-focused powder bed fusion (PBF) printer that is equipped with in situ imaging capabilities for studying the physics of the PBF process and how they are affected by printing process parameters.
- HP MultiJet Fusion 580: Multi-agent binder jetting system capable of full-color functional parts in nylon (PA 12). It provides voxel-level control of material appearance and properties and can produce parts a up to 10x the speed of other traditional polymer additive manufacturing systems.
- Lithoz CeraFab 7500: Produces high-performance ceramics that possess equal or better material properties as those achieved using conventional manufacturing processes. By eliminating the need for tools and by keeping the level of material consumption throughout the production process to a minimum, it is possible to economically manufacture prototypes and small batches of high-performance ceramic parts.
- MARK-10 ESM 1500 Electromechanical Load Frame: Small benchtop electromechanical load frame with a variety of fixtures for applying tensile, compressive, and bending loads to standard and atypical geometries. It is positioned on an optical breadboard to allow for image acquisition and analysis, such as digital image correlation (DIC) strain measurements. These are particularly important for complex printed geometries where the failure locations can be unintuitive. It has a force capacity of 6,700 N, resolution as low as 0.02 N, and a stroke of 800 mm.
- Markforged Mark Two: High-end desktop material extrusion printer with a variety of easily adjustable parameters, making it well suited for everything from educational to industrial applications.
- Shining 3D EinScan Pro 2X: Handheld 3D scanner that generates full-color digital files, which can be easily imported into commercial CAD software or directly to a printer. The Geomagic software can perform feature recognition and create solid files. The scan is 30 fps with 50,000 points per frame, and accuracy of 0.04 mm.
- Stratasys Objet Eden260VS: High-resolution material jetting printer compatible with a broad range of proprietary UV-curable resins. The spectrum of cured resin properties include thermally stable, high strength, high stiffness, high ductility, rubber-like, variable color, and easily removable support material.
- Stratasys F170: Industrial-grade material extrusion printer that can produce service-ready components as well as low-cost rapid prototypes. It is capable of printing PLA, ABS, ASA, TPU 92A (a durable elastomer), and soluble support material.
Computational Materials and Mechanics Lab
The Computational Materials and Mechanics Lab (CMML) is focused on developing and integrating computational modeling tools and performing large-scale parallel simulations to predict and study nano- and microstructures, properties, and failure of advanced materials, including light-weight, 2D, and energy related materials. A special interest is to create advanced integrated computational models that enable the study and design of materials at different length scales to find structure-property-processing relationships. Examples of these advanced computational modeling techniques include
- Density functional theory calculations and ab initio molecular dynamics simulations
- Large-scale classical molecular dynamics simulations implementing second nearest neighbor (2NN) modified embedded atom method (MEAM) potentials
- Quantitative phase-field models
CMML researchers perform large-scale parallel simulations utilizing supercomputers that allow single simulation with multi-thousand CPUs and GPUs (petascale computing). To calibrate and validate modeling efforts, different experimental techniques are employed, such as optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM-orientation image mapping) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
Computational Materials Science and Design Lab
In the Computational Materials Science and Design (CMSD) lab, researchers integrate high-performance computing and theory to discover the fundamental structure-property relationships of materials that will enable the predictive design of advanced materials with tunable properties. Of particular interest are materials where defects and interfacial-driven properties can be effectively tuned or controlled to enable property enhancement, such as nanostructure alloys and ceramics, multicomponent laminates, shape memory alloys, materials for energy storage, 2D materials, and hierarchical metals.
CMSD uses a number of developed materials modeling tools, including: atomistic modeling methods, density functional theory, phase field modeling, crystal plasticity, and other advanced computational modeling tools in the following areas:
- Multiscale polycrystalline metal alloys
- Interfacial (e.g., grain boundary) structure-property predictions in metals and ceramics
- Discovery and design of nanostructured materials
- Modeling multi-functionality in emerging materials
- Microstructure damage initiation and structural health
- Fundamental deformation mechanisms leading to high strength, stability, and hardness
Continuous Casting Center
The Continuous Casting Center (CCC) is a cooperative effort among industry, university and government to conduct fundamental and applied research on the continuous casting of steel, a process that produces 95% of the world’s steel. Founded in 1989 by its director, Professor Brian G. Thomas, the CCC's objectives are (1) to develop computational models of continuous casting of steel and related processes, and (2) to apply these models to problems of practical interest to the steel industry.
Roughly 10 companies related to the steel industry contribute annually to the CCC, in addition to grants from the National Science Foundation, and collaborations with researchers in several other universities, including the Continuous Casting Consortium at the University of Illinois and the Steel Center at Colorado School of Mines.
The CCC features:
- About 10 researchers and visiting scholars, and high-performance computer (HPC) workstations, housed in W470-I Brown Hall
- Access to the HPC system, MIO, at Mines
- Advanced computational software, including Fluent, through a university partnership with Ansys, Inc.
- Abaqus, by Dassault Systèmes, and other computational tools for conducting simulations of fluid flow, heat transfer, solidification, thermal stress analysis and other phenomena related to the continuous casting process
- A physical water model of the continuous casting process, housed in W160 Brown Hall, for Senior Design and research projects
- Metallography equipment and access to advanced microscopy, (in both Hill Hall and Brown Hall), for analysis of defects in steel samples
Models of various aspects of the continuous casting process developed and licensed by the CCC are in use at many companies. These models undergo rigorous verification with analytical solutions and validation with measurements conducted on the commercial process at the steel companies, as part of student research projects. By understanding the fundamental mechanisms of how defects form during the casting process, CCC research results help to improve the efficiency and safety of the continuous casting process and the quality of steel products.
Contact: Dr. Brian Thomas (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Data-Driven Advanced Manufacturing and Materials (DDAMM) Lab
The Data-Driven Advanced Manufacturing and Materials (DDAMM) Lab is dedicated to developing high-throughput, data-informed manufacturing and mechanical behavior research and development technologies.
- Digital Image Correlation System: DIC is a non-contact full-field optical strain measurement technique used in conjunction with various mechanical testing techniques. Samples are speckled and a series of images is captured at a fixed frequency using high-resolution cameras synchronized with the load frame. The VIC 3D and ARAMIS software packages are used to analyze the images and compute strain measurements.
- Extensometry: Extensometers provide high-resolution, 1D strain measurements during mechanical testing. These measurements are necessary for accurate determination of material stiffness and strain-controlled testing. Special extensometers are used for internal (e.g., environmental chamber) and external (e.g., induction furnace) high-temperature testing.
- MARK-10 ESM 1500 Electromechanical Load Frame: A small, benchtop load frame that is easily configurable for tensile, compressive and bending testing of samples. It is well suited to characterize 3D-printed compression cylinders imaged with the Zeiss Xradia Versa. By combining the tomographic imaging capabilities of the Zeiss and the mechanical testing abilities of the Mark 10, we can get a unique glimpse into the mechanical properties of a 3D-printed sample as well as the structure responsible for those properties and the process that produced that structure.
- MARK-10 Series TSTM-DC: Small benchtop torsion load frame with a torque capacity of 11,500 Nmm and resolution down to 0.2 Nmm.
- MTS 370.10 Uniaxial Servohydraulic Load Frame: The MTS 370.10 provides high-fidelity uniaxial mechanical data on additively manufactured standard tensile test specimens for larger, structural materials. When combined with the composition- and orientation-related degrees of freedom available in metals 3D printers, this load frame provides an invaluable comparison of tension, compression and fatigue test data for AM parts with the extensive test data available for traditionally manufactured parts.
- MTS 370.25 Uniaxial Servohydraulic Load Frame with Environmental Chamber: The MTS 370.25 provides high-fidelity uniaxial mechanical data on additively manufactured standard tensile test specimens for larger, structural materials. When combined with the composition- and orientation-related degrees of freedom available in metals 3D printers, this load frame provides an invaluable comparison of tension, compression and fatigue test data for AM parts with the extensive test data available for traditionally manufactured parts. It is also equipped with an MTS environmental chamber for low and high temperature testing from –129 to 315 °C.
- Keyence VHX5000 Optical Microscope: Optical microscopy is a cornerstone of metallurgical materials analysis. The advanced image processing capabilities of the Keyence VHX-5000 enable 3D surface reconstruction. When combined with metallurgical analysis, the library of 1D and 2D measurement tools can be used to quantify phases, voids and other structural features. Differential interference contrast and polarized light microscopy expose features in polished and etched metallurgical samples that reveal details about grain growth, microstructural evolution and compositional segregation.
- Malvern Panalytical Empyrean X-ray Diffractometer: Provides crystallographic and compositional information critical to understanding part mechanical performance. Through small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS), the ability to test samples at temperatures ranging from −200 °C to 1100 °C, and the capture of information on texture, residual stress and pair distribution functions, the Panalytical Empyrean demonstrates how the crystal structure of 3D-printed metals changes during operation at high and low temperatures. This piece of equipment is located on the ground level of CoorsTek.
- UltraFlex UltraHeat SM Induction Furnace: The UltraFlex induction furnace is coupled with load frames for in situ thermomechanical monotonic and fatigue testing. High temperature mechanical property measurements are critical for aerospace applications, Ti alloys, and Ni-based superalloys, among others.
- Zeiss Xradia Versa 3D X-ray Microscope: Offers cutting-edge, nondestructive tomographic imaging and grain reconstruction. X-ray tomography allows for the collection of both surface and internal renderings, which are used to distinguish between phases and identify defects such as porosity. Nondestructive diffraction contrast tomography (DCT) provides direct 3D crystallographic grain reconstructions for crystalline materials. This piece of equipment is located on the ground level of CoorsTek.
Equipment located in the Mechanical Testing Lab and the Electron Microscopy Lab in Hill Hall is also essential to high-throughput, data-informed characterization and analysis.
- Mechanical testing and forming equipment list: https://metallurgy.mines.edu/facilities/
- Electron microscopy equipment list: https://emlab.mines.edu/equipment/
Explosives Research Lab
Mines Explosives Research Lab (ERL) was established in 2002 to investigate explosive applications such as rock fragmentation, explosive properties, explosive welding, explosive synthesis and the effect of explosives on structures and humans. Mines ERL maintains two research facilities: the Outdoor Explosive Research Laboratory Site (ERL) in Idaho Springs, CO, and the Indoor Small-Scale Laboratory on the Mines campus in Golden, CO. Additionally, recognizing that not all testing can be done in a laboratory environment or at our facilities in Colorado, our team has developed the only available High Fidelity Mobile Detonation Physics Laboratory (HFMDPL) in the world. The HFMDPL is a state-of-the-art mobile laboratory, which enables the most precise measurement of detonation properties of both ideal and non-ideal detonations. The HFMDPL enables the our research group to conduct full field-scale testing at any test range location based on client/partner requirements. These facilities maintain the capability to:
- Measure explosive energy and post-detonation gases
- Experimentally test energetic material performance
- Experimentally study and test the properties of high-density ammonium nitrate to develop industry quality control standards
- Study fragmentation using novel methods in a variety of materials
- Study the environmental effects of blasting, including measurements of air overpressure and ground vibration
- 4 channel flash X-ray 450keV
- 8 channel – Photon Doppler Velocimetry (PDV)
- High-Speed Cameras: Phantom v711, Phantom v7.3 and Photron Fastcam SA-X2
- Ultra-High-Speed Cameras: SIM X16 (up to 7 million frames per second) and Shimadzu HPV-X2
- Lighting Systems: Alien Bees Flash Unit B1600 and Megasun 15kJ 700us pulse
- Velocity of Detonation (VOD) instrumentation: MREL Microtrap (4 channels), MREL Handitrap (2 handhelds)
- Manganin Gauges
- Free-field piezoelectric pressure sensors: PCB127A23 and PCB103B02 series
- Underwater pressure sensors: PCB138A10 series
- Signal conditioners: PCB482C05
- Delay generating modules: Standford DG535
- Oscilloscopes: 2 DPO 72004C (100 GS/s) and 4 MSO 5054 (5GS/s)
- Initiation Systems: Exploding-Bridgewire (EBW), electric, electronic, shock tube, and remote wireless firing devices
- Vibrational Spectroscopy: RAMAN (Ahura) and FT-IR(True-Defender)
- Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry: Griffin 460
- Exploding wire setup, 50kV, multiple synchronized wires
- Schlieren setups: a 25cm diameter z-folded system and a 15cm-diameter z-folded system
- Caustics visualizations (in transmission)
- Photoelasticity visualization system
The Hildreth Lab encompasses 1,320 square feet of chemical lab space dedicated to nanoscale to centimeter scale additive manufacturing research.
- Microfab Jetlab II Precision: Drop-on-demand materials printer that can print up to four inks/materials serially
- Nordson Pro4 3-Axis Dispensing Robot: Used to metallize photovoltaic cells and investigate the impact of reaction kinetics on the morphology and materials properties of printed reactive inks
- EHD Nano-Drip Printer: Lab-built electrohydrodynamic (EHD) printer for nanoscale additive manufacturing
- Lindberg Blue M 1200ªC 3" Tube Furnace: Single-zone (24" heated length), 5440 W, 3" tube furnace with digital controller used to sensitize non-ferrous alloys in inert environments
- Deltec Inert Gas Furnace: Front-loading atmosphere envelope vacuum laboratory furnace
- Ametek Parstat Multichannel Potentiostat Chassis with EIS: Equipped with eight PMC 1000 potentiostats (±12V, ±2 A, 2 MHz EIS) and one PMC 10A booster
- Ametek 616A Rotating Disk Electrode: High-precision, low mass rotator that performs well with virtually any potentiostat
- Pine Jacketed Corrosion Cell: Jacketed corrosion cell with drain used to measure the electrochemical and corrosion response of sensitized metals and printed reactive inks
- Pine Instruments WaveNow Portable Potentiostat/Galvanostat: Potentiostat with ±4 V, ±100 mA range.
- TA Instruments Q20 Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC): Used to measure enthalpy of reactions, heat of vaporizations, and reaction kinetics of new reactive ink systems
- TA Instruments Q50 Thermogravimetric Analyzer (TGA) with Gas Evolution Furnace: Used to measure solvent partial pressures, reaction temperatures, reaction product vaporization temperatures/rates
- Thermo-Fisher Nicolete IS-50 Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectrometer: This FTIR with TGA-IR and ATR modules is used to monitor/measure reaction products, reaction rates, and partial pressures
- Mettler-Toledo S470 pH/Conductivity Meter: pH/conductivity meter for fluids
- Elveflow OBII MKII Microfluidics Controller: Two-channel microfluidics control with flow meter for both positive and negative flows
- Rheosense microVisc Rheometer: Portable rheometer for viscosity measurements of reactive inks
- Motic BA310MET-T Trinocular Optical Microscope: Trinocular optical microscope for transmission and reflection optical imaging
- Signatone S-302-4 Four-Point Probe Station
- Keysight 34420A Nanovolt/Micro-Ohm Meter
- Trek 10/10B-HS-L-CE High Voltage Amplifier
- Keysight 33510A Waveform Generator
- Keysight DSOX3023A Oscilloscope
- Keysight N2790A High Voltage Floating Probe
- Keysight N5752A 600 V Power Supply
- Keysight U3606B 30 Watt Power Supply
- Keysight 34411A Multimeter
FABRICATION, SYNTHESIS & LAB SUPPLIES
- Glowforge Laser Cutter
- World Precision Instruments PUL-1000 Micropipette Puller
- World Precision Instruments MBS Microbeveler System
- Plasma Etch Venus 25 Plasma Cleaner
- IKA RV10 Rotary Evaporatory
- Purelab Flex 3 18.2 MΩ-cm Deionized Water Polisher
- Comsol Multiphysics
- Apple's Xcode Integrated Developer Environment
Extreme Structures and Materials (X-STRM) Lab
The Extreme Structures and Materials (X-STRM) Lab houses state-of-the-art equipment used to investigate material and/or structural behavior across 10 orders of magnitude in strain rate, with temperature and electrical coupling capabilities, a wide range of full-field optical diagnostics, 2W Coherent laser and white light illumination, and ultra-high-speed imaging (5 Mfps).
- Two-stage light-gas accelerator (rebuild in progress, ETA summer 2021)
- Single-stage gas accelerator (rebuild in progress, ETA December 2020)
- Patented impact fatigue device
- Unique long-bar striker system for dynamic fracture investigations
- Compression Kolsky (split-Hopkinson) bar systems for both low and high impedance material investigations
- Tensile Kolsky bar (coming in 2021)
- 50-foot shock tube (in collaboration with Dr. Veronica Eliasson, coming in 2021)
- Standard material load frame with thermal chamber
- Ultra-high-speed imaging systems (5 million fps) with LED, strobe and laser illumination setups
- Optical microscope
- Wide range of optomechanics and lens systems, electromechanical coupling ability with high voltage power supplies, etc.
- Complete material preparation setup, including a diamond saw, an Allied High Tech Multiprep material polishing system, a precision micro-balance, charge amplifiers, oscilloscopes, and hot plates
- High-performance computer workstations with Abaqus, MatchID Digital Image Correlation software, AutoCAD, and MATLAB
Modeling and Advanced Visualization Studio (MAVS)
- Atomic-scale chemical segregation maps from atom probe tomography (APT)
- Metallic microstructures from FIB-sectioned scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
- Deformation mechanistic maps from molecular dynamics (MD) simulations
- Dislocation and grain boundary structure and properties from computational modeling
Contact: Dr. Garritt Tucker (email@example.com)
Shock and Impact Lab
- Exploding wire setup that can explode a single wire or multiple wires simultaneously, in 2D or 3D test sections
- Square cross-section area horizontal shock tube
- Shock tube that can be tilted from the vertical to the horizontal direction in 1-degree intervals
- Single-stage gas gun, 7-ft long, 2-in. diameter barrel
- Z-folded optical system (10-in. diameter) that can be used as a schlieren system, photo elasticity system, caustics in transmission, or combinations thereof
- Ultra-high-speed camera: Shimadzu HPV-X2 capable of up to 10,000,000 frames per second at a resolution of 250 pixels by 400 pixels
- Digital image correlation setup
- HAMr device to study repeated impact onto different types of materials including biological samples
- Mechanical snapping shrimp setup
- Wide range of sensors, strain gages, amplifiers, signal conditioners, optomechanics, and oscilloscopes
In 2024, the year of our 150th anniversary, we will celebrate Colorado School of Mines’ past, present and possibilities. By celebrating and supporting the Campaign for MINES@150 you will help elevate Mines to be an accessible, top-of-mind and first-choice for students, faculty, staff, recruiters and other external partners. When you give, you are ensuring Mines becomes even more distinctive and highly sought-after by future students, alumni, industry, and government partners over the next 150 years. We look forward to celebrating Mines’ sesquicentennial with you and recognizing the key role you play in making the MINES@150 vision a reality through your investments of time, talent and treasure. Give now