According to graduate student Tyler Flanagan, cold spray is more than just his current research topic, but an effective way to repair helicopter parts. These aluminum cold spray alloys shoot micrometer-sized particles over the speed of sound over a like material. During the impact with the substrate, it then sticks.
Specifically, in his research Tyler carries out compression testing, in which he takes a column of material and then crushes it in order to discover its mechanical properties. This test is a way of testing a small-scale material’s yield strength and ductility, amongst other properties.
Tyler enjoys the nanomechanical research he does under Pratt and Whitney Assistant Professor Seok-Woo Lee. He explains, “I do nanocompressions on pillars and I think that it is really cool that you can crush something a hundredth of a diameter of a piece of hair.”
He does microcompressions and nanoindentations to look for mechanical properties on a micron scale. He found this work to not only be very interesting, but similar to the work he was doing before on atomic force microscopy.
When Tyler was in search of an open research position he talked to Assistant Professor Lee about his research and this ultimately convinced Tyler to join his lab. His advisor has been a great help to him, especially when it comes to explaining concepts. Tyler said, “My advisor is always available whenever I have questions and it helps that his office is in the lab.”