Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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Active Materials Laboratory

Directors: T. W. Shield and R. D. James

Location: 24 Akerman Hall

Microstructure of the shape memory material CuAlNi
Microstructure of martensite
in CuAlNi

This facility is used in the study of active materials - primarily shape memory, magnetostrictive and multiferroic materials - using a variety of techniques.  The main facility includes in-situ moire microscopy, a magneto-mechanical testing facility (1.5 T magnet), apparatus for polishing specimens at elevated temperatures, heat treatment facilities, and differential interference contrast (DIC) optical microscopes.  This equipment is complemented by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) facilities located in Amundson Hall.  A wide array of scanning and transmission electron microscopes, x-ray diffraction facilities and atomic probe microscopes are available adjacent to Akerman Hall in the Characterization Facility (  Several of the most useful of these instruments for studies of active materials have heating and/or cooling stages and are useful for studies of phase transformations.  In addition, the nearby Institute for Rock Magnetism ( has facilities for magnetic measurements (Vibrating Sample Magnetometers) over wide temperature ranges.

Magneto-mechanical testing machine
close-up, Magneto-mechanical testing machine
Magneto-Mechanical Testing Machine (MMTM)
Close up of MMTM magnet and instrumentation

The Active Materials laboratory also houses a Magneto-Mechanical Testing Machine (MMTM), consisting of a bi-directional 1 Tesla magnet integrated with mechanical testing facilities: this enables uniaxial tension or compression in a magnetic field whose direction can be varied arbitrarily in a plane containing the loading axis, integrated with computer control and data acquisition. The current research projects for this lab are supported by NSF, MURI, AFOSR, and IREE.

Austenite-martensite microstructure on warming.
Microstructure of the ferromagnetic shape memory alloy NiMnGa

Last Modified: 2017-06-28 at 10:51:38 -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation