Senior Design Projects 2014-15

1st Place Award Winner 2015 Michigan Tecxh Design Expo

Aluminum Corrosion Study—Automotive Electrical Systems

Team Members: Annie LeSage, Jacob Gerdt, Kyle Myszka, and Alexandra Glover, Materials Science and Engineering
Advisor: Steve Kampe, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsor: Yazaki North America


Project Overview
The switch from copper to aluminum in automotive electrical systems is advantageous to U.S automakers and automotive component suppliers because it has the potential to decrease vehicle weight and raw materials costs. This switch also poses several challenges. This senior design project characterizes the galvanic corrosion rate of an aluminum substrate with a metallic plating when exposed to an electrolytic solution. This mimics the exposure of electrical components to a fluid containing salts or automotive chemicals. The results of this testing are critical to the success of the copper-to-aluminum substitution in automotive electrical systems. This is because they inform automotive component designers about the expected lifetime of such systems when exposed to a corrosive environment.

Design of a Production Capable Materials Test to Determine the Toughness of Cast Mill Components

Team Members: Andrea Paul, Nathaniel Musser, William Price, and
Robert Cooley, Materials Science and Engineering
Advisor: Paul Fraley, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsors: ME Global


Project Overview:
ME Global casts mining mill wear components from a variety of metals including pearlitic steels and
white irons. These components are experiencing approximately 10 percent failure by brittle fracture
rather than wear failure under extreme service conditions. It is believed that this premature failure is due to low fracture toughness, which their current quality control methods do not measure. The objective of this project is to create a fracture toughness test that is quick, reproducible, requires little machining, and is accurate enough to pass or fail parts in a production setting.

E357 Alloying to Increase Elongation and Maintain Mechanical Properties

Team Members: Jordan Pontoni, Calvin Nitz, Shane Anderson, and Austin DePottey, Materials Science and Engineering
Advisor: Tom Wood, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsor: Eck Industries


Project Overview
The regulation of beryllium in A357 makes it desirable to improve the elongation properties of
E357 (no beryllium) to make it a practical alternative to A357. Additions of strontium at concentrations of 200, 300, and 400 ppm; cobalt at 0.1 and 0.2 wt percent; and manganese at 0.1 and 0.2 wt percent have been identified as elements that will modify  the eutectic silicon and iron-rich intermetallics. Modification of these microconstituents is hypothesized to reduce cracking within the aluminum matrix and improve the elongation properties of E357 while maintaining strength.

GE Aviation Cutter Tool Performance

Team Members: Jacob Demarais and Garrett Dubie, Mechanical Engineering; Justin Nichols, Mechanical Engineering Technology; Robert Lippus, Materials Science and Engineering
Advisor: Dan Seguin, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsor: GE Aviation

Project Overview:
The GE Aviation Cutter Tool Performance team has fully designed a controlled experiment that will test the effects of varying the tungsten carbide grain size from 0.3 to 1.5 microns while also varying the cobalt content from 8 wt to 12 wt percent in these cobalt cemented tungsten carbide tools. To test the team’s hypotheses regarding these changes, the tools were worn under varying conditions in a CNC mill and the wear zones analyzed using stereoscope images as well as images from a scanning electron microscope (SEM).

Impact of Grain Boundary Misorientation on the Mechanical Properties of PWA 1480 Bicrystals

Team Members: Alex Reinl, Emily Veltman, Jenna Proctor, and Laura Jewett, Materials Science and Engineering
Advisor: Walt Milligan, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsor: Alcoa Howmet


Project Overview:
Alcoa Howmet is a leading manufacturer of components for the jet aircraft, industrial gas
turbine, and other advanced-technology industries. One such technology is casting nominally single crystal parts with a specified orientation for the primary growth direction. Due to the complexity of the parts, this technique is not 100 percent successful and many parts solidify unintentionally into polycrystals. Parts with a misorientation across the grain boundary above a specified value are scrapped, resulting in significant cost to Alcoa. Thus, the objective of this study is to quantify the degradation of mechanical properties relative to grain boundary misorientation between 8 to 15 degrees in order to explore the possibility of expanding the specification.

Stamping FEA Optimization

Team Members: Kara Bakowski, Jacob Braykovich, and Alexander Kampf, Materials Science and Engineering; Zachary Morgan, Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Steve Hackney, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsor: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles


Project Overview
Current Finite Element Analysis (FEA) methods used by Chrysler for analysis of the inner decklid of the Dodge Dart give fatigue life predictions that are inconsistent with the performance in the production vehicle. This discrepancy is believed to be a result of inaccurate FEA inputs; the effects of both prior cold work due to stamping and strain hardening due to slamming are not accounted for in the material model. A method to estimate more realistic FEA material inputs is being developed through mechanical testing. These new material properties will then be input back into the FEA model allowing Chrysler to rerun its fatigue analysis of the decklid to determine if the results are more realistic.

Welding Parameter Refinement for 3D Metal Printing

Team Members: Zachary Boyden and Mu Yuan, Materials Science and Engineering; Michael Buhr and Martin Schaub, Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Tom Wood, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsors: America Makes, Advanced Metalworks Enterprise

Project Overview
3D printing has historically been limited to polymer-based parts due to most printing techniques
melting the plastic filament at the extruder head. The ability to use aluminum in 3D printing is highly desirable to improve the mechanical properties of the finished product. A printer capable of producing metal-based parts using common welding techniques has been developed at Michigan Tech. The opportunity to refine the welding parameters and the aluminum alloy used during printing has been presented through AME’s partnership with America Makes. Through a series of designed experiments, the filament alloy and welding parameters will be varied to improve the strength, ductility, and resolution of the printed part.