CEMAS postdoc honored with Humboldt Fellowship

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person in front of CEMAS sign

Ashton Egan, postdoctoral scholar at the Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS), received the Humboldt Research Fellowship to investigate cobalt-based superalloys.

Humboldt Research Fellowships are presented to postdocs by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The fellowship enables highly qualified scientists and scholars from abroad who are just starting their academic careers to conduct extended periods of research in Germany. The research program is conducted with academic hosts at research institutions in Germany.

“It is a great honor to be selected for this fellowship,” said Egan. “Only ~20% of applicants are chosen, so it’s very reaffirming to have your work recognized by your colleagues.”

During his two-year fellowship, Egan is focusing on design and characterization of new cobalt-based superalloys for use in aerospace engines. The goal is to create new cobalt-based superalloys for better performance at elevated temperatures, leading to more sustainable commercial aircraft engines. Operating temperature directly affects both fuel efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions of turbine engines. These new superalloys could help increase maximum service temperature to decrease emissions.

two people in front of Ohio Stadium
Egan (right) with his advisor, Michael Mills, PhD

Egan will conduct his research at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and at the Center for Nanoanalysis and Electron Microscopy (CENEM). Host faculty members Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Mathias Göken, Prof. Dr. rer. nat. habil. Erdmann Spiecker, and Dr.-Ing. Steffen Neumeier have a long history in alloy development and characterization. Prior to his fellowship, Egan will take an intensive language course to learn to speak German starting in January.

Egan completed his PhD at CEMAS, under the direction of his advisor, Michael Mills, PhD, chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at Ohio State, who also received the Humboldt Fellowship.

During his PhD research, Egan investigated nickel-based superalloys for jet turbine engines, including deformation characterization and mechanical behavior. His work at CEMAS led to a successful thermodynamic framework by which local phase transformation (LPT) hardened alloys can be predicted. He was also the first to characterize local phase transformation at deformation induced microtwin interfaces and show its strengthening effect, as well as perform atomic resolution energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy on χ LPTs at superlattice intrinsic stacking faults and microtwin boundaries in superalloys.

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