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The research groups of MSE Professor Ichiro Takeuchi and Professor Alfred Ludwig of Ruhr University Bochum, Germany (RUB) are enjoying a unique partnership that has seen the exchange of faculty, students and ideas used to advance and publish new materials research.

Takeuchi, an expert in combinatorial materials science (in which large numbers of samples of new materials are rapidly discovered, developed and analyzed), came to know Ludwig, a prominent figure in Europe's combinatorial materials science community, through various professional events. After collaborating on a number of projects, Takeuchi was invited to serve as a visiting professor at RUB in November 2009.

"We worked so extensively and so productively during that visit that we've already published a paper," says Takeuchi.

The journal article, "Identification of Quaternary Shape Memory Alloys with Near-Zero Thermal Hysteresis and Unprecedented Functional Stability," was featured on the cover of the June 2010 issue of Advanced Functional Materials. It describes minimizing temperature-cycle-induced fatigue in shape memory alloys by using combinatorial materials science to screen the properties of alloys under development to discover which will have the longest functional lifespan. The group was also able to discover alloy compositions whose behavior remains consistent whether they are being heated or cooled, a quality known as near-zero thermal hysteresis.

Takeuchi and Ludwig's success inspired a more formal collaboration between the A. James Clark School of Engineering and RUB, established by a memorandum of understanding signed in April 2010. Takeuchi will serve as the program's coordinator in Maryland. The partnership is not limited to materials science?research groups from other disciplines are encouraged to pursue collaborations as well.

The first official project under the agreement began in May 2010, when RUB Materials Research Department graduate student Matthias Wambach joined the Takeuchi Group.

Wambach is studying ferromagnetic shape memory alloys, which change their shape when exposed to magnetic fields. This new class of material has the potential to be used in magnetic field sensors as well as environmentally friendly, highly efficient cooling technologies, but its composition needs to be optimized before it can be used in commercial products. At the Keck Laboratory for Combinatorial Nanosynthesis and Multiscale Characterization, Wambach is creating libraries of hundreds of ferromagnetic shape memory alloy samples of varying chemical compositions. He then sends them to Germany, where fellow RUB graduate student Steffen Solomon measures their properties.

"The project allows our groups to leverage their respective expertise in the discovery and development of new materials," says Takeuchi. "I'm really looking forward to seeing what other collaborations grow out of our relationship with RUB."

For More Information:

See "Identification of Quaternary Shape Memory Alloys with Near-Zero Thermal Hysteresis and Unprecedented Functional Stability," Robert Zarnetta, Ryota Takahashi, Marcus L. Young, Alan Savan, Yasubumi Furuya, Sigurd Thienhaus, Burkhard Maaß, Mustafa Rahim, Jan Frenzel, Hayo Brunken, Yong S. Chu, Vijay Srivastava, Richard D. James, Ichiro Takeuchi, Gunther Eggeler, and Alfred Ludwig. Adv. Funct. Mater. 2010, 20, 1917?1923.

September 29, 2010

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