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Alan Brothers

Personal Portrait

I was born in upstate New York and raised in Dayton, Ohio. In 1997 I enrolled at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, CA. I graduated from Caltech in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and Applied Sciences, having spent my time there studying electrical engineering and materials science. During my stay at Caltech, I also participated in research projects at the Jet Propulsion Laboratories and at the Neutron Science Center of Los Alamos National Lab.

My research centers on the processing and properties of a brand new class of materials called amorphous metal foams. These are foam materials (i.e., materials with large fractions of empty space inside them, like sponge, bone, or cork) made from a special class of metal known as a bulk metallic glass (BMG). Bulk metallic glasses are sophisticated metal alloys that, when cooled very quickly from the liquid state, retain an amorphous atomic structure. They are characterized by a number of unique properties, including exceptional strength and elasticity, high hardness/wear resistance, and good corrosion resistance. Members of the successful Zr-based BMG family, which are the focus of my research, typically have strengths around 2 GPa in compression, and stiffness ca. 80-100 GPa.

In bulk form, however, BMG alloys are also brittle, making them dangerous in structural applications where their high strength could be useful. Normally, the approach taken to improve the toughness of BMG is incorporation of second phases (i.e., composites processing), either deliberately added or precipitated out of the alloy. Recently, however, many researchers have noted the high inherent ductility of thin BMG pieces (like wires or foils) during bending. The goal of my research has been to exploit this ductility by the creation of low-density BMG foams, whose features are by their very nature thin and subject to bending deformation. In addition to allowing for high ductility in the amorphous metal, foaming techniques will also impart the natural advantages of foam architectures, such as improved density-compensated mechanical properties, acoustic damping, energy absorption at constant stress, and many others.

The creation of ductile bulk metallic glass foams has recently been featured in Materials Today and the MRS Bulletin.

A second ongoing project centers on the development of metallic foams with continuous and customizable density gradients. We have developed and are now optimizing and characterizing a processing method for making such materials - for more information, see our upcoming report in the proceedings of the Metfoam 2005 conference!

Research

Processing and characterization of novel amorphous metal foams

Education

B.S., Engineering and Applied Science, California Institute of Technology

Contact

Phone: 321.631.3550
Fax: 321.631.3552
e-mail: abrothers(@mainstream-engr.com)
Address: Mainstream Engineering Corporation
200 Yellow Place
Rockledge, FL 32955
Download Alan's curriculum vitae

Selected Honors

  1. Northwestern University Presidential Fellowship 2005
  2. Honorable Mention, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship 2001
  3. Honorable Mention, National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship 2001
  4. Walter P. Murphy Graduate Fellowship in Materials Science and Engineering 2001
  5. Runner-up, Los Alamos Neutron Science Center User Group Student Poster Contest 2001
  6. Nominee, Caltech Academic Merit Award 2001
  7. Heidelberg Web Systems Academic Scholarship 1999
  8. William and Mary Wylie Endowed Scholarship 1998, 1999
  9. George and Toshiko Asakawa Endowed Scholarship 1997

Publications

  1. C. San Marchi, A.H. Brothers, D.C. Dunand. “Melt Infiltration Processing of Foams Using Glass-Forming Alloys.” Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings 754 CC1.8 2003.
    PDF
  2. A.H. Brothers, D.C. Dunand. “Syntactic Bulk Metallic Glass Foam”, Applied Physics Letters, 84 (7) 1108-1110 (2004).
      PDF
  3. A.H. Brothers, R. Scheunemann, J.D. DeFouw, D.C. Dunand. "Processing and Structure of Open-Celled Amorphous Metal Foams," Scripta Materialia, 52, 335-339 (2005).
    PDF
  4. A.H. Brothers, D.C. Dunand. "Ductile Bulk Metallic Glass Foams." Advanced Materials 17 (4) 484-486 (2005).
    PDF
  5. A.H. Brothers and D.C. Dunand. "Plasticity and Damage in Cellular Amorphous Metals." Acta Materialia. 53 (16) 4427-4440 (2005).
    PDF
  6. A.H. Brothers and D.C. Dunand. "Amorphous Metal Foams," Scripta Materialia 54 513-520 (2006).
    PDF
  7. A.H. Brothers, D.W. Prine, and D.C. Dunand. "Acoustic Emissions Analysis of Damage in Amorphous and Crystalline Metal Foams," Intermetallics 14(8-9) 857-865 (2006).
    PDF

Presentations

  1. A.H. Brothers, D.C. Dunand. “Amorphous Metallic Foams.” Presented to the 2005 Fall Meeting of the Materials Research Society (Boston, MA) 2005.
  2. A.H. Brothers, D.C. Dunand. "Density-Graded Aluminum Foams." Presented to the Fourth International Conference on Porous Metals and Metal Foaming Technology (Kyoto, Japan) 2005.
  3. A.H. Brothers, D.C. Dunand. "Amorphous Metal Foams." Presented to the Fourth International Conference on Porous Metals and Metal Foaming Technology (Kyoto, Japan) 2005.
  4. A.H. Brothers, D.C. Dunand. "Processing and Properties of Ductile Amorphous Metal Foams." Presented to the Fourth International Conference on Porous Metals and Metal Foaming Technology (Kyoto, Japan) 2005.
  5. A.H. Brothers, D.C. Dunand. "Bulk Metallic Glass Foams with High Ductility." Presented to the Fourth International Conference on Bulk Metallic Glasses (Gatlinburg, TN) 2005.
  6. A.H. Brothers, D.C. Dunand. “Ductile Bulk Metallic Glass Foams.” Presented at the 2004 Fall Meeting of the Materials Research Society (Boston, MA) 2004.
  7. A.H. Brothers, D.C. Dunand. “Liquid State Processing of Foams Using Zr-Based Bulk Metallic Glass Forming Alloys.” Presented to the 2003 Fall Meeting of the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society (Chicago, IL) 2003.
  8. C. San Marchi, A.H. Brothers, D.C. Dunand. “Melt Infiltration Processing of Foams Using Glass-Forming Alloys.” Presented to the 2002 Fall Meeting of the Materials Research Society (Boston, MA) 2002.
  9. E. Ustundag, A.H. Brothers, J. Justice, J.C. Hanan, S Vogel. “Solid State Reaction Kinetics Using Neutron Diffraction.” Presented to the 2001 Los Alamos Neutron Science Center User Group Meeting (Los Alamos, NM) 2001.
  10. E. Ustundag, AH Brothers, J Justice, JC Hanan, S Vogel. “Solid State Reaction Kinetics Using Neutron Diffraction.” Presented to the 103rd Annual Meeting of the American Ceramic Society (Indianapolis, IN) 2001.

Affiliations

  1. Northwestern University Society of Fellows
  2. Materials Research Society
  3. ASM International
  4. The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society

 

 

August 7, 2008