Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Material Science Engineering (MSMatSE)


Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Kevin P. Trumble

Committee Chair

Kevin P. Trumble

Committee Member 1

Jeffrey P. Youngblood

Committee Member 2

Elliott B. Slamovich


Iron is a soft magnetic material widely used in electric motors, generators, and transformers because they demand high permeability and low core loss. The main goal of this project is to develop a commercially viable coating of iron powders for press-and-sinter processing that would enable higher firing temperatures to anneal out magnetic defects, while maintaining high electrical resistivity (∼10,000 μΩ-cm) and high iron density (>90 %). An alumina-modified colloidal silica (LUDOX CL), was used in early work to make Fe (-)/SiO2 (+) in a wet-pressed route. The highest relative density and resistivity measurements for a wet-pressing route were 87 % and 7300 ± 1000 μΩ-cm respectively. Dry-pressed route is favorable over wet-pressed route because it can be commercially viable. About 100-fold increase in resistivity (860,000 μΩ-cm) was obtained compared to the wet-pressed route, with only a small decrease in density (1 - 2 %). A study was conducted to explore the separate, and possibly interactive, effects of micro-alumina particulate (Sumitomo AKP-50, 0.2 μm) and lubricant (Kenolube, a proprietary metal soap-wax composite lube). Reducing the LUDOX CL, high shear mixing using a coffee grinder, and multimodal packing were studied to improve density. Only 10 % reduction of LUDOX CL dropped the resistivity by over two orders of magnitude with the same relative density. High shear mixing and multimodal packing had little effects to increase density. An unmodified colloidal silica (LUDOX TM) was also explored to make Fe (+) /SiO2 (-) and resistivity of 120,000 μΩ-cm and 80 % density were obtained. Addition of cationic polyelectrolyte, polydiallyldimethyl-ammonium chloride (PDADMAC) was studied to provide stronger adhesion between LUDOX TM and surface of iron particles. Reducing the amount of LUDOX TM in PDADMAC showed relative density greater than 90 % but resistivity measurements were less than 1500 ìÙ-cm.