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In materials science, developing GeSn alloys is major current research interest concerning the production of efficient Group-IV photonics. These alloys are particularly interesting because the development of next-generation semiconductors for ultrafast (terahertz) optoelectronic communication devices could be accomplished through integrating these novel alloys with industry-standard silicon technology. Unfortunately, incorporating a maximal amount of Sn into a Ge lattice has been difficult to achieve experimentally. At ambient conditions, pure Ge and Sn adopt cubic (α) and tetragonal (β) structures, respectively, however, to date the relative stability and structure of α and β phase GeSn alloys versus percent composition Sn has not been thoroughly studied. In this research project, computational tools were used to perform state-of-the-art predictive quantum simulations to study the structural, bonding and energetic trends in GeSn alloys in detail over a range of experimentally accessible compositions. Since recent X-Ray and vibrational studies have raised some controversy about the nanostructure of GeSn alloys, the investigation was conducted with ordered, random and clustered alloy models.
By means of optimized geometry analysis, pure Ge and Sn were found to adopt the alpha and beta structures, respectively, as observed experimentally. For all theoretical alloys, the corresponding αphase structure was found to have the lowest energy, for Sn percent compositions up to 90%. However at 50% Sn, the correspondingβ alloy energies are predicted to be only ~70 meV higher. The formation energy of α-phase alloys was found to be positive for all compositions, whereas only two beta formation energies were negative. Bond length distributions were analyzed and dependence on Sn incorporation was found, perhaps surprisingly, not to be directly correlated with cell volume. It is anticipated that the data collected in this project may help to elucidate observed complex vibrational properties in these systems.
Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) is integral to preserving the structural health of materials. Techniques that fall under the NDT category are able to evaluate integrity and condition of a material without permanently altering any property of the material. Additionally, they can typically be used while the material is in active use instead of needing downtime for inspection.
The two general categories of structural health monitoring (SHM) systems include passive and active monitoring. Active SHM systems utilize an input of energy to monitor the health of a structure (such as sound waves in ultrasonics), while passive systems do not. As such, passive SHM tends to be more desirable. A system could be permanently fixed to a critical location, passively accepting signals until it records a damage event, then localize and characterize the damage. This is the goal of acoustic emissions testing.
When certain types of damage occur, such as matrix cracking or delamination in composites, the corresponding release of energy creates sound waves, or acoustic emissions, that propagate through the material. Audio sensors fixed to the surface can pick up data from both the time and frequency domains of the wave. With proper data analysis, a time of arrival (TOA) can be calculated for each sensor allowing for localization of the damage event. The frequency data can be used to characterize the damage.
In traditional acoustic emissions testing, the TOA combined with wave velocity and information about signal attenuation in the material is used to localize events. However, in instances of complex geometries or anisotropic materials (such as carbon fibre composites), velocity and attenuation can vary wildly based on the direction of interest. In these cases, localization can be based off of the time of arrival distances for each sensor pair. This technique is called Delta T mapping, and is the main focus of this study.
A model has been developed to modify Euler-Bernoulli beam theory for wooden beams, using visible properties of wood knot-defects. Treating knots in a beam as a system of two ellipses that change the local bending stiffness has been shown to improve the fit of a theoretical beam displacement function to edge-line deflection data extracted from digital imagery of experimentally loaded beams. In addition, an Ellipse Logistic Model (ELM) has been proposed, using L1-regularized logistic regression, to predict the impact of a knot on the displacement of a beam. By classifying a knot as severely positive or negative, vs. mildly positive or negative, ELM can classify knots that lead to large changes to beam deflection, while not over-emphasizing knots that may not be a problem. Using ELM with a regression-fit Young's Modulus on three-point bending of Douglass Fir, it is possible estimate the effects a knot will have on the shape of the resulting displacement curve.