Summer Undergraduate Research Mentored Experience

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Dr. Ramana Chintalapalle

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Investigation of engineered ceramics for high temperature oxygen sensors

Preferred major field of study or minimum required skills

Mechanical Engineering; Materials Science & Engineering

Note to International Students: Due to U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) projects national origin is restricted to Mexico and Canada.

Scholarly significance/intellectual merit

High-temperature oxygen sensors are needed for a wide range of technological applications in energy and automotive industry. While cost effective metal oxide semiconductor based resistive oxygen sensors have attracted much attention, their functionality is dependent on the oxygen partial pressure and temperature. On the other hand, if a temperature independent sensor can operate in a thermally fluctuating environments, especially those encountered in power generation systems, and can improve the efficiency dramatically. However, such materials for sensing are not readily available. In this project, we propose to engineer the ceramics based on ABO3 type perovskites. Specifically, the challenging goal of the project is to understand the fundamental scientific merits and to realize novel ceramics based on Barium-Tantalum with suitable dopants to obtain the temperature independent sensing behavior. Efforts will be directed to synthesize and evaluate Ba(1-x)LaxFe(1-y)TayO3-δ (BLFT) ceramics.

Research question(s)

  1. What is the effect of lanthanum (La) and tantalum (Ta) content on the structure and chemistry of BLTO ceramics?
  2. How much of La and Ta co-doping is needed to tailor the sensing characteristics?
  3. What is the effect of La and Ta to obtain p-type versus n-type electrical conduction?
  4. What is the temperature range that the BLTO ceramics can function effectively?
  5. What is the role of La and Ta?

Methods/techniques/instruments to be learned/utilized

Students will use a wide range of experimental methods and analytical techniques; they will be trained to synthesize ceramics and to characterize the microstructure of BCCT samples through X-ray diffraction (XRD), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and Raman spectroscopy. Students will also learn the methods to evaluate sensors.