Students: Savannah Buzzeo, Henry Price

Project: Influence of Elemental Doping to Microstructures and Mechanical Properties in Polycrystalline Spinel

Poster: Vertical (PDF)

Institution: Lehigh University

Major: Materials Science and Engineering

Advisor: Masashi Watanabe, Animesh Kundu


The chemical process of introducing certain elements into magnesium aluminate spinel, known as doping, is one of very popular approaches to improve mechanical properties. In this study, samples were fabricated by hot pressing MgAl2O4 spinel nanopowder with 500 ppm Calcium, or uniaxially pressing with 500 ppm Yttrium. Samples were annealed at 1400 °C for 24 and 48 hours, and then prepared for characterization. Microhardness testing was conducted based on ASTM standard C1327-15 and the residual indents were observed by scanning electron microscopy to measure crack propagation induced via indentation. For Calcium-doped hot pressed spinel, it was shown that the longer sintering results in further sample densification and consequently increased hardness values. ​​In uniaxially pressed Yttrium-doped spinel, longer annealing may result in pore growth and hence decreased hardness.

Savannah Buzzeo

About Savannah Buzzeo

Savannah Buzzeo, senior, Materials Science and Engineering major and Jewish Studies minor with the intention to pursue graduate school for a masters in Management at Lehigh University. Performs research in the materials science field concerning ceramics, metals, and crystallographic characteristics under Dr. Masashi Watanabe and Dr. Animesh Kundu. Participates on the D1 Track and Field team, SMS Board, MSE DEI Committee, Rossin Junior Fellows, Department Grader, and further Undergraduate Research.

Henry Price

About Henry Price

Henry Price, junior studying Materials Science & Engineering and Environmental Science from Souderton, Pennsylvania. I have carried out research on various topics within the materials science department, including simulations of ion spectra of thin films, corrosion on steels, refractories, as well as the focus of this work, doped magnesium aluminum spinel for high strength and optical transparency applications with Professor Watanabe. This project was particularly interesting as it allowed me to get some great hands-on lab experience, as well as experience with design of experiments. Besides crystalling ceramics, I have interests in renewable energy applications of materials technologies, as well as battery energy storage and semiconductor-based devices. Outside of research and academics, I am the vice president of the Outing Club at Lehigh, which allows me to spend time outdoors, something I really enjoy. I also play guitar and jazz saxophone, and like to watch and play basketball.