The following undergraduate students were part of the Corral Lab and placed in the Materials Bowl held annually among students attending either the University of Arizona or Arizona State University.

Fangyuan Gai 2013 1st
Paul Neff 2014 1st
Franc Smith 2015 1st
Group photo of fangyuan team

The following are brief overviews of the winning projects and the research subjects each focused on:

Fangyuan Gai - Effect of Sintering Temperature, Cooling Rate, and Direct Current Density on Hardness and Microstructure of ZrB₂-SiC Ultra-high Temperature Composites


ZrB₂-SiC is an ultra-high temperature ceramic composite for hypersonic vehicles applications. Spark Plasma Sintering uses direct current to process ZrB₂-SiC. Influence of processing parameters on hardness and microstructure will be investigated.

Paul Neff - Characterization and Use of an Oxyacetylene Torch for Ablation Testing of Aerospace Materials


Creating aerodynamic hypersonic flight vehicles requires thermal protective materials (TPM) that can withstand high temperatures and high heat flux while in an oxidizing environment.  Thus, choosing a suitable TPM requires extensive testing of fundamental material properties at these extreme conditions.  Oxyacetylene torch testing is one method that has the potential to be used as an extensive screening tool for land-based testing that allows us to replicate the high temperature, high heat flux, and oxidizing environment these materials will experience in application.  

Franc Smith - Mechanical Testing System Facility Development for Flexural Strength at Elevated Temperature of Ultra-High Temperature Ceramics


This senior design project was to develop a mechanical testing system facility for flexural strength at elevated temperatures of ultra-high temperature ceramics. Hexoloy SiC bars were used to qualify our furnace at elevated temperatures. Following the qualification of the furnace, the flexural strength of pure ZrB2 was tested at the elevated temperatures.