Florida Technology Professor Martin Glicksman’s Groundbreaking Metals Research Honors Deceased Colleagues

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The latest research in metals and materials science by Florida Tech Emeritus Professor Martin Glicksman has implications for the metal foundry industry, but it also has a deep personal connection inspired by two deceased colleagues. (Image by Florida Tech)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – The latest research in metals and materials science by Florida Tech Emeritus Professor Martin Glicksman has implications for the smelting industry, but it also has a deep personal connection inspired by two deceased colleagues.

Glicksman’s research, “Surface Laplacian of interfacial thermochemical potential: its role in solid-liquid pattern formation,” was published in the November issue of Microgravity, the partner journal of Springer Nature.

The results may lead to a better understanding of the solidification of metal castings, allowing engineers to potentially make more durable engines and stronger airplanes and advance additive manufacturing.

“The casting, welding and production of primary metals are multibillion dollar activities of great societal importance when one thinks of steel, aluminum, copper – engineering materials of the industry. of utmost importance, ”Glicksman said. “You can understand that we are talking about materials, for which even small improvements are worth a lot. “

Just as crystals form when water freezes, similar things happen when a molten metal alloy is solidified to create cast products.

Martin Glicksman’s research reveals that during the solidification of the metal alloy, the surface tension between the crystal and the melt, as well as the variations in curvature of the crystals during growth, results in the heat flow, even at interfaces stationary. (Image by Florida Tech)

Glicksman’s research reveals that during the solidification of the metal alloy, the surface tension between the crystal and the melt, as well as the variations in curvature of the crystals during growth, results in the heat flow, even on stationary interfaces. .

This fundamental finding is fundamentally different from Stefan balances commonly used in casting theory, where the thermal energy emitted by a growing crystal is proportional to its rate of growth.

Martin Glicksman, Florida Tech Professor Emeritus.

Glicksman noted that the curvature of crystallite reflects its chemical potential: a convex curvature slightly lowers the melting point, while a concave curvature slightly increases the melting point.

It is well known in thermodynamics. What is new, and now proven, is that gradients of this curvature can induce additional heat fluxes during solidification that are not taken into account in conventional casting theories.

In addition, these heat flows are “deterministic” and not stochastic, like random noise, and could, in principle, be advantageously controlled during casting processes to modify alloy microstructures and improve properties.

“When you have complicated crystalline microstructures that are freezing, curvature-induced heat flows occur that could be controlled,” Glicksman said. “This heat flow in the case of a true cast alloy could, if controlled by chemical additions or physical effects, such as pressure or strong magnetic fields, improve the microstructure, which ultimately controls the chemical properties. and mechanics of cast alloys, welded structures, and even 3D printed materials.

Beyond its scientific significance, this research is of great personal importance to Glicksman, in large part thanks to her late colleagues who helped support it. One of those colleagues is Paul Steen, professor of fluid mechanics at Cornell University, who died last year.

Steen had helped Glicksman in microgravity materials research years ago, using space shuttle fluid mechanics and materials research.

Springer Nature dedicated the November issue of Microgravity to Steen and contacted Glicksman to write a scientific article in his memory regarding this research.

“It inspired me to create something interesting and that Paul would have particularly appreciated. And of course, many readers who view this research paper are also interested in the areas Paul contributed to, namely interfacial thermodynamics, ”Glicksman said.

Semen Koksal, professor of mathematics, department head and vice president of academic affairs at Florida Tech, passed away in March 2020.

Glicksman described her as a kind and intelligent person who was a pleasure to be with her, noting that she helped him provide his mathematical expertise to his research.

“She and I were good friends and she was deeply interested in my work. Semen helped me when I was stuck formulating the differential equations to explain the phenomenon of curvature-induced heat flow, ”Glicksman said.

“We spent a lot of time discussing my equations and how to formulate them, their restrictions, etc. She’s someone I consulted and who helped me a lot in formulating mathematical theory and helping me do things right.

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