The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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MIE Seminar Series: "Multiscale geometric analyses and surface metrology for the discovery of functional correlations between processing and performance"


Friday, February 28, 2020 - 12:00pm


Professor Christopher A. Brown, WPI


Gunness Student Center, Marcus Hall


This talk explains how to design meaningful research involving surface topographies, which cover everything. There are applications in product and process design, including additive manufacturing, as well as in forensics, archeology, geography, physical anthropology, paleontology, and cultural heritage preservation.

Four principles are proposed for characterizing and analyzing topographies to aid in discovering how processing influences topographies and how topographies influences performance. They are, 1) characterize appropriate geometric properties, 2) at appropriate scales, 3) use statistics appropriate to the problem, and 4) work with sufficiently good measurements. Most research efforts involving topographies ignore these principles and use conventional height characterization parameters, like Ra. These characterize nothing about spatial or hybrid aspects of features or specificity of scale. Little, if any, attention is given to measurement quality or appropriate statistics. This explains why there are few strong functional correlations or confident discriminations found in the literature, despite so many situations where topographies are known to influence performance and be influenced by processing.

In 1983, Chris earned his PhD at the University of Vermont working on chip formation in machining, he also worked in orthopedics on understanding ski injuries. Chris spent four years at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology’s Materials Department studying machined surfaces with TEM, SEM, and a profilometer. Next, as a senior research engineer at Atlas Copco's European research center, he worked on research and design of products and processes. In 1989, Chris joined the faculty at WPI in 1989. Chris has published over a hundred and fifty papers on Axiomatic Design (AD), manufacturing, surface metrology, and sports engineering. He has patents with many of his students on characterizing surface roughness, friction testing, and sports equipment. He has developed algorithms and software for topographic analyses. He teaches courses on AD of manufacturing processes, surface metrology, manufacturing, and skiing technology. He also develops products for reducing sports injuries.