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Lehigh University logo
Lehigh University logo

Buang Zhang

Fracture Toughness Study of Magnesium Aluminate Spinel

Department: Materials Science and Engineering
Advisor: Richard Vinci

Currently the major component for window glass is Silica (SiO2), and even the most common bulletproof glass windows are made with many pieces of regular glass held together by adhesives. Recent studies have shown that certain types of ceramic spinel could be used as a substitute for the traditional silica based glass in applications that require extreme damage tolerance, and one of the possibilities is magnesium aluminate spinel. It is critical that the spinel have excellent transparency as well as high mechanical strength. Both of these characteristics are determined by the spinel microstructure. One way to control the microstructure is to add rare earth dopants. This study was focused on determining the fracture resistance of different doped specimens by applying micro-indentation testing. By analyzing the fracture toughness data, the correlation between microstructures and the fracture resistance is drawn. That correlation could be useful as an indication for further development of more advantageous magnesium aluminate spinel, which could be used as the substitute for traditional silicate based glass in aerospace and military applications.

About Buang Zhang:
Buang Zhang is a junior at Lehigh University pursuing a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering. In 2016, Buang applied for the research assistant at University of Science and Technology Beijing, and studied anode materials for high performance batteries. He has been studying magnesium aluminate spinel since fall 2016 under the guidance of Dr. Vinci and Dr. Kundu. Aside from his studies, Buang also takes part in the Chinese Students and Scholars Association at Lehigh.