Metals2014, 4(2), 130-140; doi:10.3390/met4020130 - published online 17 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Mn-Al powders were prepared by rapid solidification followed by high-energy mechanical milling. The rapid solidification resulted in single-phase ε. The milling was performed in both the ε phase and the τ phase, with the τ-phase formation accomplished through a heat treatment at 500 °C for 10 min. For the ε-milled samples, the conversion of the ε to the τ phase was accomplished after milling via the same heat treatment. Mechanical milling induced a significant increase in coercivity in both cases, reaching 4.5 kOe and 4.1 kOe, respectively, followed by a decrease upon further milling. The increase in coercivity was the result of grain refinement induced by the high-energy mechanical milling. Additionally, in both cases a loss in magnetization was observed. Milling in the ε phase showed a smaller decrease in the magnetization due to a higher content of the τ phase. The loss in magnetization was attributed to a stress-induced transition to the equilibrium phases, as no site disorder or oxidation was observed. Surfactant-assisted milling in oleic acid also improved coercivity, but in this case values reached >4 kOe and remained stable at least through 32 h of milling.
Metals2014, 4(2), 118-129; doi:10.3390/met4020118 - published online 4 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Zinc ferrite nanocrystals were prepared from an aqueous solution containing metal nitrates and various of concentrations of poly(vinyl pyrrolidone) (PVP), i.e., 0, 15, 40, and 55 g/L, as a capping agent. To stabilize the particles, they were thermally treated at 873 K, as an optimum calcination temperature. The behaviors of the polymeric precursor were analyzed by use of simultaneous thermo-gravimetry (TG) and derivative thermo-gravimetry analyses (DTG). The presence of the crystalline phase in each sample was confirmed by X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis. The average particle size and the morphology of the nanoparticles were determined by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and these parameters were found to differ at various concentrations of PVP. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) confirmed the presence of metal oxide bands for all the PVP concentrations and confirmed the absence of organic bands for PVP concentrations less than 55 g/L. Measurements of the magnetization value of the zinc ferrite nanoparticles were obtained at room temperature by using a vibrating sample magnetometer (VSM), which showed that, in the absence of PVP, the sample exhibited a paramagnetic behavior while, in the presence of PVP, samples have a super-paramagnetic behavior.
Metals2014, 4(2), 108-117; doi:10.3390/met4020108 - published online 4 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The growth of Ag monolayers on Cu (001) was studied by periodic Density Functional Theory (DFT). Despite the limited solid solubility of Ag in Cu, the growth of a single Ag overlayer on Cu (001) was predicted as feasible. In contrast, the growth of consecutive Ag monolayers was found to be energetically forbidden. Inter-diffusion of Ag monolayers into Cu was raised as a possibility but it was dependent on the sequence in which the Ag monolayers were introduced into the Cu bulk. The Ag layers preferred to be kept neither too far apart nor too close to each other, the optimum spacing between two Ag monolayers determined to be that of two consecutive Cu layers. Ag diffusion mediated tensile stress in the Cu cell by causing an increase of the unit cell constant by as much as 22%. Interactions between the Ag and Cu species also involved a degree of covalency. In general, progression of a surface Ag monolayer into the Cu bulk involved charge depletion over the Ag species and a simultaneous charge concentration over neighboring Cu atoms; this mechanism was found to influence Cu up to a depth of four surface layers.
Metals2014, 4(2), 84-107; doi:10.3390/met4020084 - published online 1 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Halide clusters have not been used as catalysts. Hexanuclear molecular halide clusters of niobium, tantalum, molybdenum, and tungsten possessing an octahedral metal framework are chosen as catalyst precursors. The prepared clusters have no metal–metal multiple bonds or coordinatively unsaturated sites and therefore required activation. In a hydrogen or helium stream, the clusters are treated at increasingly higher temperatures. Above 150–250 °C, catalytically active sites develop, and the cluster framework is retained up to 350–450 °C. One of the active sites is a Brønsted acid resulting from a hydroxo ligand that is produced by the elimination of hydrogen halide from the halogen and aqua ligands. The other active site is a coordinatively unsaturated metal, which can be isoelectronic with the platinum group metals by taking two or more electrons from the halogen ligands. In the case of the rhenium chloride cluster Re3Cl9, the cluster framework is stable at least up to 300 °C under inert atmosphere; however, itis reduced to metallic rhenium at 250–300 °C under hydrogen. The activated clusters are characterized by X-ray diffraction analyses, Raman spectrometry, extended X-ray absorption fine structure analysis, thermogravimetry–differential thermal analysis, infrared spectrometry, acid titration with Hammett indicators, and elemental analyses.
Metals2014, 4(1), 65-83; doi:10.3390/met4010065 - published online 10 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Metal matrix composites reinforced by nano-particles are very promising materials, suitable for a large number of applications. These composites consist of a metal matrix filled with nano-particles featuring physical and mechanical properties very different from those of the matrix. The nano-particles can improve the base material in terms of wear resistance, damping properties and mechanical strength. Different kinds of metals, predominantly Al, Mg and Cu, have been employed for the production of composites reinforced by nano-ceramic particles such as carbides, nitrides, oxides as well as carbon nanotubes. The main issue of concern for the synthesis of these materials consists in the low wettability of the reinforcement phase by the molten metal, which does not allow the synthesis by conventional casting methods. Several alternative routes have been presented in literature for the production of nano-composites. This work is aimed at reviewing the most important manufacturing techniques used for the synthesis of bulk metal matrix nanocomposites. Moreover, the strengthening mechanisms responsible for the improvement of mechanical properties of nano-reinforced metal matrix composites have been reviewed and the main potential applications of this new class of materials are envisaged.