Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Chemical and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. T. John Balk


Since the dawn of civilization, the use of metals has played an integral role in the evolution of human society. Over the years, and with the introduction of new engineering and science, we have learned how to combine metals to create new metallic systems. We have expanded our understanding of dealloying and chemical reactions, and, in doing so, we created nanoporous metals. Our use of metals has evolved from basic alloys such as bronze and steel to more complex alloys such as multi-principal element alloys. Nanoporous gold is an advanced metallic system that can be created through the dealloying process. Nanoporous gold has a high surface area-to-volume ratio, which, combined with its material properties, makes it a good candidate for catalytic, sensing, and capacitance applications. These applications may require the nanoporous gold to be exposed to elevated temperatures. As elevated temperatures affect nanoporous gold’s structure and ligament size, this work studies the coarsening of nanoporous gold. In order to test the mechanical behavior of nanoporous gold via nanoindentation, the optimal ratio of the indent spacing to indent depth (d/h) must be found. It was found that for nanoporous gold with different microstructures, the optimal d/h ratio was 10. The coarsening of nanoporous gold was performed in-situ with an SEM heating stage to note any changes within the microstructure. The rate of growth was found to be higher than predicted by previous work due to the influence of the electron beam while coarsening. Multi-principal element alloys have high-temperature resistance, increased harness, and complex microstructures that make them useful in numerous applications, such as jet engines, submarines, and projectiles. Their complex microstructure can result in multi-phase compositions that have various mechanical behaviors which influence the overall bulk mechanical behavior. This work will focus on the mechanical behavior of W-Mo-Fe-Ni alloys and the individual phases found within this system. This dissertation explores the characteristics and mechanical behavior of newer, complex metallic systems such as nanoporous gold and multi-principal element alloys.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

I would like to acknowledge the financial support provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, under Award # DE-SC0019402 and by the Army Research Laboratory under Award # 3210001940

I would also like to acknowledge that portions of this work were performed in part at the U.K. Electron Microscopy Center, a member of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI), which is supported by the National Science Foundation (NNCI-2025075).

Included in

Metallurgy Commons