Hi everybody, I am excited to start a new mini series of blog entries here that follows on the theme of “Science as Art” that other Global Research bloggers have covered in the past. You’ve seen images generated by our battery research, with our supercomputers, and learned about the beautiful images that can come from life sciences work. However, over the next group of posts, I will be highlighting for you some of the work that can come out of materials characterization at GE Global Research.
As I’ve mentioned before, materials are at the core of almost every product and technology, making the materials characterization organization one of the most diverse groups within Global Research. At the end of 2011, our “fun team” (yes, we do have fun at work) put together a really special project. We prepared a 2012 calendar full of some of the most “beautiful” images that our group generated in 2011. Calendars were provided to many of our colleagues, many of which fabricated the samples we analyzed; we also distributed them outside of our cafeteria, with the request for a donation to help support Habitat for Humanity and the Northeast Regional Food Bank.
For the next series of posts, I will be sharing the images from the calendar as well as some information about the materials in the images, the instrument which generated the images, and the team member that generated the image. I hope you enjoy the photos, at the end of the series we will have a vote to see which is your favorite and we will select one of the voters and mail you one of our 2012 Materials Characterization calendars!
Our first image was generated by Ian Spinelli. Ian tells us that his image (below) shows “a scanning electron micrograph of strengthening precipitates in a nickel-base superalloy. Prior to imaging, a chemical etchant was used to remove the surrounding matrix. The remaining particles are extremely small (the tiny spheres are only tens of nanometers in diameter). They are formed by a process known as precipitation hardening, where the metal undergoes a heat-treatment in order to precipitate the particles from a supersaturated solid solution. As a result, the chemistry and crystallography of the particles differ from the surrounding matrix, which makes them effective at impeding dislocation motion – the method by which metals deform under an applied load. In summary, these precipitates give nickel-base superalloys the properties desirable for parts that are subjected to high temperatures and stresses, such as those found in gas turbines and jet engines.”
But you tell us… what do you see?