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Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy

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Eutectic Alloy

Eutectic Alloy

Eutectic alloy

This is an image of a Ni-Al-Nb alloy taken with a Scanning Electron Microscope. It is a simple alloy with only three elements, however you can see that its structure is far from simple. It contains three distinct regions: the grey background, the small dark spots and the large pale needles. Each of these regions is a different atomic arrangement. 

When a liquid solidifies, the atoms clump together in one arrangement. As the solid cools new different arrangements can appear.

However, in this case, on solidification the atoms formed two arrangements at the same time; one creating the grey background and another creating the large pale needles.  At a lower temperature the atoms in the grey background rearranged themselves to form the third region (the dark spots).

In this image brighter areas contain heavier elements. The needles contain a lot of a heavy element and the dark spots have more of a lighter element. If the percentage of each of these elements in the alloy is changed, then the amounts of each region you would see in the image will differ (e.g. More or less of the pale needles).

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Dr. Lewis Owen appointed to a Junior Research Fellowship at Gonville & Caius College Cambridge

Jan 24, 2018

Dr. Lewis Owen has been appointed to a Junior Research Fellowship commencing in October 2018 at Gonville & Caius College Cambridge. We look forward to many more years of high quality research into the wonderful world of short range order.

Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology Visit

Jan 17, 2018

We had a fantastic time today hosting the uber-talented students from the Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology. We believe sharing some of our research and encouraging as many people as possible to consider STEM careers is a key responsibility for any scientist/engineer.

PhD studentships now available within the group

Jan 09, 2018

Navigate onto our vacancies page to find out more!

Strategic Partnership with Rolls-Royce shortlisted for a Times Higher Education Award 2017

Oct 03, 2017

The Rolls-Royce partnership with the universities of Cambridge, Swansea and Birmingham has been shortlisted for a Times Higher Education Award 2017. Find out more here:

New high temperature thermocouple

Nov 14, 2016

Dr. Michele Scervini has developed a new thermocouple for high-temperature applications