Materials2014, 7(4), 3147-3159; doi:10.3390/ma7043147 (doi registration under processing) - published online 17 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The accurate characterization of nanolayered systems is an essential topic for today’s developments in many fields of material research. Thin high-k layers and gate stacks are technologically required for the design of current and future electronic devices and can be deposited, e.g., by Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD). However, the metrological challenges to characterize such systems demand further development of analytical techniques. Reference-free Grazing Incidence X-ray Fluorescence (GIXRF) based on synchrotron radiation can significantly contribute to the characterization of such nanolayered systems. GIXRF takes advantage of the incident angle dependence of XRF, in particular below the substrate’s critical angle where changes in the X-ray Standing Wave field (XSW) intensity influence the angular intensity profile. The reliable modeling of the XSW in conjunction with the radiometrically calibrated instrumentation at the PTB allows for reference-free, fundamental parameter-based quantitative analysis. This approach is very well suited for the characterization of nanoscaled materials, especially when no reference samples with sufficient quality are available. The capabilities of this method are demonstrated by means of two systems for transistor gate stacks, i.e., Al2O3 high-k layers grown on Si or Si/SiO2 and Sc2O3 layers on InGaAs/InP substrates.
Materials2014, 7(4), 3136-3146; doi:10.3390/ma7043136 (doi registration under processing) - published online 17 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Micro cracks occurring in concrete around tensile rebar is well known latent damage phenomenon. These micro cracks develop, and can be detected after reaching the surface of the concrete. Detection of these cracks before they are fully formed is preferable, but observing the whole crack structure is difficult. Another problem is repairing micro cracks under the concrete surface. The autogenous ability of bond cracks along rebar was evaluated using the air permeability test. Air permeability coefficients were measured before and after tensile loading, and experimental air permeability coefficients became larger near cracks along rebar as a result of tensile loading. Recuring for 28 days after tensile loading made the air permeability coefficients smaller, but this restriction only occurred during water recuring. Observation of crack patterns helped the understanding of change in the air permeability coefficients. Several small cracks along rebar were observed after tensile loading, and most cracks along rebar were not found after water recuring. On the other hand, the crack pattern did not change after air recuring. These results indicate that bond cracks along rebar can be closed by autogenous healing, and cause the air permeability coefficients.
Materials2014, 7(4), 3106-3135; doi:10.3390/ma7043106 (doi registration under processing) - published online 17 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Gelatin has been used for many years in pharmaceutical formulation, cell culture and tissue engineering on account of its excellent biocompatibility, ease of processing and availability at low cost. Over the last decade gelatin has been extensively evaluated for numerous ocular applications serving as cell-sheet carriers, bio-adhesives and bio-artificial grafts. These different applications naturally have diverse physical, chemical and biological requirements and this has prompted research into the modification of gelatin and its derivatives. The crosslinking of gelatin alone or in combination with natural or synthetic biopolymers has produced a variety of scaffolds that could be suitable for ocular applications. This review focuses on methods to crosslink gelatin-based materials and how the resulting materials have been applied in ocular tissue engineering. Critical discussion of recent innovations in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine will highlight future opportunities for gelatin-based materials in ophthalmology.
Materials2014, 7(4), 3084-3105; doi:10.3390/ma7043084 - published online 15 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The continuing quest for cost-effective and complex shaped aluminum castings with fewer defects for applications in the automotive industries has aroused the interest in rheological high pressure die casting (R-HPDC). A new machine, forced convection mixing (FCM) device, based on the mechanical stirring and convection mixing theory for the preparation of semisolid slurry in convenience and functionality was proposed to produce the automotive shock absorber part by R-HPDC process. The effect of barrel temperature and rotational speed of the device on the grain size and morphology of semi-solid slurry were extensively studied. In addition, flow behavior and temperature field of the melt in the FCM process was investigated combining computational fluid dynamics simulation. The results indicate that the microstructure and pore defects at different locations of R-HPDC casting have been greatly improved. The vigorous fluid convection in FCM process has changed the temperature field and composition distribution of conventional solidification. Appropriately increasing the rotational speed can lead to a uniform temperature filed sooner. The lower barrel temperature leads to a larger uniform degree of supercooling of the melt that benefits the promotion of nucleation rate. Both of them contribute to the decrease of the grain size and the roundness of grain morphology.
Materials2014, 7(4), 3065-3083; doi:10.3390/ma7043065 - published online 15 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: To study the variation of the mechanical behavior of binary aluminum copper alloys with respect to their microstructure, a numerical simulation of their granular structure was carried out. The microstructures are created by a repeated inclusion of some predefined basic grain shapes into a representative volume element until reaching a given volume percentage of the α-phase. Depending on the grain orientations, the coalescence of the grains can be performed. Different granular microstructures are created by using different basic grain shapes. Selecting a suitable set of basic grain shapes, the modeled microstructure exhibits a realistic aluminum alloy microstructure which can be adapted to a particular cooling condition. Our granular models are automatically converted to a finite element model. The effect of grain shapes and sizes on the variation of elastic modulus and plasticity of such a heterogeneous domain was investigated. Our results show that for a given α-phase fraction having different grain shapes and sizes, the elastic moduli and yield stresses are almost the same but the ultimate stress and elongation are more affected. Besides, we realized that the distribution of the θ phases inside the α phases is more important than the grain shape itself.
Materials2014, 7(4), 3049-3064; doi:10.3390/ma7043049 - published online 15 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Coagulation of cement particles is an inevitable phenomenon of fresh cement-based materials undergoing solidification. Coagulation can be classified into two types, reversible flocculation and irreversible coagulation, wherein microstructural change affects the rheological properties, including shear thinning and thixotropy, and the hydration process. This paper attempts to measure the mechanical property and the coagulation of cement particles according to the mix proportions of cement paste. Experimental setups were proposed for two different types of coagulations using a laser backscattering instrument. Volume fraction and size distribution of coagulated particles were obtained, and their variations were discussed. From the obtained results the microstructural buildup of freshly mixed cement pastes can be divided into three categories: permanent coagulation and strong and weak flocculation.