AMMRC Celebrates 35 years of Mechanical Characterization at CWRU


(Cleveland, Ohio) – The late 1980’s were an exciting time in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at CWRU and included a number of highlights for the Lewandowski research group. A number of single and multiple investigator grants, including equipment grants, enabled rapid initial modernization and upgrading of the Advanced Manufacturing and Mechanical Reliability Center (AMMRC), in addition to recruiting multiple excellent graduate students and post-docs. 

Individual multi-year research grants were initially obtained from ALCOA, GE, Army Research Office, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, NASA, Duralcan, ALCAN, a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator (PYI) Award, and a DARPA equipment grant to build a unique high pressure testing apparatus in collaboration with Lawrence Livermore National Lab. Additional research was conducted on multi-year and multi-investigator awards: DARPA-URI on Interfacial Effects on Materials led by Professor Art Heuer and a NASA-CCDS (Center for the Commercial Development of Space) on Materials for Space Structures led by Professor Jack Wallace.  Equipment purchases included: the high pressure testing rig, a computer controlled 50 Kip MTS servohydraulic machine, an Instron 1125 Universal Testing Machine, an Instron 1361 Testing Machine capable of testing materials at 1 micrometer/hour (i.e. rate of fingernail growth!), a unique hydrostatic extrusion rig from Innovare, Inc., and computer upgrades to the existing machines. The initial materials systems investigated included: Aluminum and magnesium alloys and metal matrix composites (MMCs), refractory metal silicide composites and high temperature intermetallics, with close collaborations with various other universities, companies, and government labs. The NASA-CCDS research included CWRU NASA space shuttle experiments where mechanical test samples and coatings were exposed to the low earth orbit environment, brought back to earth, then mechanically evaluated in the AMMRC to determine the effects of thermal cycling, atomic oxygen, UV radiation, etc. on the subsequent mechanical performance. 

 A number of high impact papers in the 1980’s resulted from his Ph.D. research on hydrogen embrittlement of steels funded by a Hertz Foundation Fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University (“Effects of the prior austenite grain size on the ductility of fully pearlitic eutectoid steel", “Microstructural effects on the cleavage fracture stress of fully pearlitic eutectoid steel”, “Micromechanisms of cleavage fracture in fully pearlitic microstructures”), as well as those with his CWRU students/collaborators on the fracture behavior of metal matrix composites (“Effects of matrix microstructure and particle distribution on fracture of an aluminum metal matrix composite", “In-situ deformation studies of an aluminum metal-matrix composite in a scanning electron microscope”, “Effects of microstructure of the behavior of an aluminum alloy and an aluminum matrix composite tested under low levels of superimposed hydrostatic pressure”). The work on MMCs utilized in-situ mechanical testing inside a scanning electron microscope and clearly showed that fracture in these MMCs occurred in clustered regions of the reinforcement via fracture of the larger silicon carbide reinforcement particles in the particle distribution. Previous work and mechanics models assumed that the aluminum matrix failed first, followed by reinforcement fracture. 

We invite you to join us in the AMMRC’s 35th anniversary celebration as we celebrate decades of research, development, and Center milestones. Visit the AMMRC web site,, and keep watch on social medial for insights on the AMMRC through the decades as we share stories about the evolving laboratory and honor the efforts of the diverse academics, staff, and students that have propelled the AMMRC forward.

Lewandowski research group members from the late 1980’s from left to right: Professor John Lewandowski, Joseph Rigney, Lisa Yost Ellis, Gary Rozak, Dr. Mohan Manoharan, Chanqi Liu, Daw-Shuh Liu, Jan Kajuch, Dr. Alexander Kharchenko. Other group members (not pictured) included: Hiroaki Kanai (M.S.), Margaret Doty (M.S.), Tom Spear (M.S.), Dave Henderson (M.S.), R.W. Margevicius (Ph.D.), Dr. Preet Singh, Dr. Prasad Khadkikar.

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