STLE Scholarships for Research

Three UNT Department of Materials Science and Engineering students were recently awarded scholarships from the Tribology and Lubrication Engineering Society North Texas Section for their research at a recent poster exhibit. Asghar Shirani received first place and $1,000, Jihyung Lee received third place and $500, and Tyler Torgerson received an honorable mention and $250.

Asghar Shirani is a first-year materials science and engineering graduate student working under the direction of professor Diana Berman. His research is focused on understanding the fundamental mechanism of lubricity of vegetable oils through comparative analysis of the oil molecule structure and the corresponding friction and wear reduction capa­bilities. Shirani's experimental work demonstrates excellent lubricative properties and thermal stability of the newly discovered Chinese Violet Seed oil that is correlated to high concentration of estolides in the oil. These results are important for creating a new class of environmentally friendly lubri­cants, compatible with bio-friendly applica­tions and minimizing adverse impact to the environment.

Jihyung Lee, a second-year graduate student in materials science and engineering working with STLE-member professor Diana Berman, is applying atomic force microscopy for analysis of the evolution of the single-asperity contact between 2D materials and a conductive AFM tip as a function of load, velocity and the substrate material. Lee has explored how the softness of the substrate material affects the stability of graphene-metal contact and, thus, changes both the tribological behavior of the system and electrical current flow through the contact. This work will open new routes for incorporation of 2D materials into electromechanical systems and flexible electronics devices.

Tyler Torgerson is a graduate student in materials science and engineering working with STLE-member professor Thomas Scharf. He is studying the processing-structure-property relationship of novel high-temperature coatings used on aerospace components. Torgerson's research for the competition focused on the tribological properties of a cold­sprayed Ni-WC composite coating, which exhibited good wear resistance under dry sliding condition up to 400 C. Furthermore, he revealed that the coating demonstrated self-adaptive friction behavior, making it a potential candidate for applications requiring high-temperature solid lubrication.