This project involves an interdisciplinary effort to conduct multiscale design of hard and high temperature resistant (Si,Zr)-B-C-N coatings which are thermally stable and oxidation resistant for high temperature (>1500o C) applications. The project couples multiscale computations and experiment to merge the high-temperature oxidation resistant properties of Si-B-C-N and high hardness properties of Zr-B-C-N systems. The predictive effort spans from atomistic to multiscale distinct element method simulations to formulate solid predictions of the optimized compositions. These predictions will provide critical guidance for synthesizing coatings with targeted properties. We expect that in these new coatings, the desirable properties will coexist, resulting in a new generation of protective layers.
This research is far reaching as it can enable new concepts for protective coatings and the development of a new multiscale tool to predict materials' response. Molecular dynamics investigation will address the fundamental issue of combining desirable properties by varying chemical composition and structure. The application of the distinct element modeling down to the nanoscale represents a new powerful tool to simulate the global behavior, allowing the design of future materials at large. The focus of this research - the discovery of new coatings working under extreme conditions - can find application in multitude of critical components such as turbine blades, reusable launch vehicles, hypersonic vehicles, and thermal barrier applications. The research program is integrated with a multi-layered education and outreach program involving curricula development, exposing students to a novel interdisciplinary field, and summer camps. Opportunities will be provided to underrepresented groups by targeting the large Hispanic population in the State of Texas. This program is in partnership with the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers and includes a minority recruitment program, a Latino Summer Camp for K-12 Hispanic students and a public awareness component. Also, undergraduates from Pi Tau Sigma Honors Society will be engaged in activities of the American Ceramic Society.