Throughout history, exploration of different length scales – both large and small – have fundamentally reshaped human understanding of the physical world and catalyzed industrial growth. Now, the fast development of nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing challenges us to deeply understand material properties at small sizes and develop new manufacturing methodologies. Towards this vision, in the first part of my seminar I will explore mechanical properties of materials at the micrometer and nanometer scales. I will share insights on mechanical characterization of emerging nanostructured high-entropy alloys, in which I achieve mechanically strong (yield strength of ~10 GPa) and thermally stable (after annealing at 1100 °C for 3 days) materials. Then, I will demonstrate superior room-temperature ductility and high strength-to-density ratios (~1 MJ/kg) of typically brittle quasicrystals at small sizes.
In the second part, I will also talk about my research on “building the big from the small” based on selective laser melting – a metal additive manufacturing process. I will demonstrate a strategy for the selection of the most optimized parameters for “3D printing”. In closing, I will present my future work: 1) development of gradient porous metals for biomedical implantation; 2) discovery of low-density, high-strength, and thermally stable alloys for aerospace applications.
Yu Zou is currently working as a SNSF postdoctoral fellow with Prof. A John Hart in the Mechanosythesis Group of the Laboratory for Manufacturing & Productivity at MIT (USA). Before that, he completed his PhD thesis with Prof. Ralph Spolenak in the Laboratory of Nanometallurgy at ETH Zurich (Switzerland) in the end of 2015. During his PhD studies, he worked as a visiting JSPS scholar with Prof. T. Kitamura in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Kyoto University (Japan) for half a year in 2014. Before his PhD studies, he got his master’s degree (with Principal’s Graduate Award) from McGill University (Canada), and his bachelor degree from Beihang University (China), in Materials Science and Engineering. His research covers materials, mechanics, and manufacturing, including metal additive manufacturing (selective laser melting and direct laser melting deposition), cold spray process, design of alloys and composites, microstructure characterization, and nanomechanics.