Student: Alec Mangan, Undergraduate Student in Physics, Iowa State University
Research Mentor: Rohit Trivedi, Pratik Ray
Self Assembly of Oxide Nanoparticle under Directional Solidification Conditions
Translating Gradient Directional Solidification consists of moving a sample through a thermal gradient to understand the process by which the material solidifies. Experiments conducted in my group consist of solidifying materials in capillaries which minimizes convection’s role in the solidification process. These experiments can complement microgravity solidification experiments. In both these cases, convection is minimized. However, terrestrial experiments are carried out in the presence of gravity, as opposed to microgravity. Therefore, comparing terrestrial experiments and microgravity experiments (flight experiments) can provide insights on the role of gravity on solidification.
My project is to build a directional solidification instrument and study how colloidal suspensions of oxide nanoparticles solidify. Colloidal suspensions of oxide nanoparticles are of particular interest because they have unique electrostatic properties due to their structure and small size. Understanding how these nanoparticles pattern as the solution solidifies will help us understand the underlying forces for material solidification and help us refine current models of the solidification process.