PhD position

Peter Verkerk p.verkerk at IRI.TUDELFT.NL
Tue Sep 21 09:29:14 CDT 1999

Interfacultair Reactor Instituut
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Faculty of Applied
Delft University of Technology
Delft, The Netherlands

Microscopic structure and dynamics in liquid aluminium alloys near the
solidification temperature

Aluminium has a wide range of applications and is one of the most
important materials in the world. Its mechanical properties strongly
depend on the grain size. In the industrial production process small
quantities (0.01 weight %) of approximately 1 ?m large TiB2 or TiAl3
particles are added to the melt shortly before casting in order to
reduce and control the grain size. Suprisingly, the mechanism of grain
refinement in aluminium alloys is not fully understood. However,
knowledge of the structure on microscopic scale just above and below the
solidification point will enhance our understanding of the influence of
the added particles on the microstructure and hence on the mechanical
properties of the solid material. This will lead to better control and
improved efficiency of the industrial process.

Research project
Neutron scattering is the perfect tool to investigate the microstructure
as well as the microscopic dynamics. By combining various techniques we
can observe the structure on a scale from 0.1 nm to 1 ?m and the
dynamics from 1 ps to 1 ns. Therefore, a series of neutron scattering
experiments covering this range will be performed on liquid aluminium
(pure as well as with grain refiners added) very close to the point of
solidification. An important aspect is the design and construction of a
suitable furnace for mK accuracy and of sample cells for least possible
pollution of liquid pure aluminium. The various specialised neutron
instruments required are available at research facilities in Delft and
Petten, but also at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK, Institut
Laue-Langevin, Grenoble, and several other sites scattered throughout
The project is funded through “Evolution of the microstructure of
materials”, a collaborative programme of the Foundation for Fundamental
Research on Matter (FOM) and the Netherlands Institute for Metals
Research NIMR.

Application and information
 Enthusiastic candidates who recently finished a university study in
chemical engineering, experimental physics or materials science are
invited to apply.
Detailed information about the project and the conditions can be
obtained from Prof. L. Katgerman of the Laboratory for Material Science
(email: L.Katgerman at, phone: +31 15 2782249) or from Dr.
P. Verkerk of the Interfacultair Reactor Instituut (email:
P.Verkerk at, phone: +31 15 2784870)

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