WFU Department of Physics Wake Forest University


Wake Forest Physics
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WFU Physics Colloquium

TITLE: M. S. Thesis presentation: Characterization of Carbonaceous Exsolvate from Metal Metals

SPEAKER: Jillian Bjerke,

Department of Physics, WFU

TIME: Monday August 1, 2011 at 1:00 PM

PLACE: Room 101 Olin Physical Laboratory

All interested persons are cordially invited to attend.


This study seeks to explore the role of carbon meso-structures in the strengthening of steel by characterizing the carbonaceous exsolvate from a metal-carbon melt. Metal-carbon matrix composites, such as the material used in this investigation, are commonly employed to strengthen tool steel. Structural analysis techniques including scanning electron microscopy, analytical transmission electron microscopy, thermogravimetric analysis and X-ray diffraction are used to study the carbon nanostructures found within the exsolvate. It has been proposed that, due to specific thermodynamic processing conditions, strands of endometallofullerenes exist within the exsolvate which act to strengthen this high carbon steel. Examination of the exsolvate by the aforementioned techniques provided an estimation of the upper limit of the occurrence of these strands in the metal. The results of these studies suggest that the strands are present only in small amounts and that the predominant nano structure is graphitic carbon. This leads to the conclusion that the increased strength in the steel is likely due to strengthening mechanisms such as grain refinement and that the carbonaceous nanostructures do not play a significnat role in steel strength.

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100 Olin Physical Laboratory
Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, NC 27109-7507
Phone: (336) 758-5337, FAX: (336) 758-6142