Mechanical Alloying Program at UMBC

This homepage contains information on the Mechanical Alloying Program at the Physics Department of the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

For a short life story with links to sites of personal and professional significance visit my Personal Homepage.

Did you know that the first documented metallurgical process happens to use grinding in a mortar rather than heat to make a pure metal from its ore?

Principal Investigator

Laszlo Takacs, Associate Professor
M.S. in physics, 1974
Ph.D. in solid state physics, 1978
both from the Lorand Eotvos University, Budapest, Hungary
View a current (June 2001) picture of me at my desk.

Research Associate

Valerii Soika
M.S. in physics, 1993, Donetsk State University, Ukraine
Ph.D. in physics of magnetic materials, 1999, Charles University, Prague

Current and former students

Dan Masters (undergraduate)
Andrew H. Weber (undergraduate)
David V. Wolfe (undergraduate)
Inhee Rhee, M.S. 1994
Mark A. Susol, M.S. 1995



Combustion Reactions Induced by Ball Milling, NSF DMR-9712141, 1998-2002


Nanocrystalline Materials by Mechanical Alloying and Suitability for Armor Applications, ARL, 1995-1997 (co-investigator)
Several DRIF funds from the UM Graduate School, 1990-1997

Research Topics

Mechanical alloying was originally invented as a method to manufacture oxide dispersion strengthened nickel alloys. It is a high energy ball milling process, where alloying is the result of repeated fracture and cold welding of the component particles. Highly metastable materials such as amorphous alloys and nanostructured materials can be prepared by the process. High energy ball milling can also induce chemical reactions. The research area of mechanochemistry was developed to study and utilize these processes. As many mechanical alloying processes involve chemical changes, the distinction between mechanical alloying and mechanochemistry is often arbitrary.

Ball milling induces MSR (mechanically-induced self-sustaining reaction) in many highly exotherm powder mixtures. We investigate this phenomenon to gain insight to the mechanism of ball milling. The formation of sulfides, borides, carbides, silicides from the elements and displacement reactions between an oxide, sulfide, or halide and a more reactive metal are investigated. At present, this is the most active area of research within the program.

More detailed description of the specific research areas and a list of the relevant publications, most with abstract can be viewed at the following sites:

Mechanical alloying
Metallic glasses
Other publications

Major Equipment

Sample preparation

Three SPEX 8000 Mixer Mills
Fritsch Pulverisette-5 Planetary Mill
Fritsch Pulverisette-0 Vibratory Mill
Stainless steel double glove box (<1 ppm oxygen)
Labconco fiberglass glove box
Fume hood

Sample characterization

Philips X'Pert X-Ray Diffractometer (Theta-Theta, room and high temperature)
Philips PW 1729 X-Ray Generator (with Theta-2*Theta goniometer)
Lake Shore 7307 Vibrating Sample Magnetometer (with furnace and cryostat)
Shimadzu DTA-50


Peter Balaz
Institute of Geotechnics, SAS
Kosice, Slovakia
View a picture of Peter in the XRD lab when he visited UMBC in 2001.

Ali Bakhshai
Department of Physics
Goucher College, Towson, MD Marta Pardavi-Horvath
Institute for Magnetics Research
The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Robert C. Reno
Department of Physics
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Akhtar S. Khan
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Santosh K. Mandal
Department of Chemistry
Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD

Lajos K. Varga
Research Institute for Solid State Physics
Budapest, Hungary

Vijayendra K. Garg
Instituto de Fisica
Universidade de Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil

Erno Kuzmannn
Department of Nuclear Chemistry
Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary

Karoly Lazar
Institute of Isotopes and Surface Chemistry
Budapest, Hungary

Dereje Seifu
Department of Physics
Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD

Vladimir V. Boldyrev and Farit K. Urakaev
Institute of Solid State Chemistry
Novosibirsk, Russia

Francisco H. Sanchez
Department of Physics
Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina

Lawrence H. Bennett,
Institute for Magnetics Research
The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Robert D. Shull, and the
Magnetic Materials Group
National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD

Other related sites of interest

La MˇcanoSynth¸se - French Society of
University of Western Australia Research Centre for Advanced Mineral and Materials Processing
Prof. Michael Atzmon at U. Michigan, Ann Arbor
NIST Magnetic Materials Group, Gaithersburg
ISMANAM 2001 conference home page
Photos at ISMANAM'01

Dr. Laszlo Takacs, Associate Professor
The University of Maryland Baltimore County
Department of Physics
1000 Hilltop Circle Baltimore, MD 21250
Tel.: (410) 455-2524
FAX: (410) 455-1072
Last modified: November 7, 2000.