Materializing Innovation at GE …

Hi Friends,
I am Suchismita, a new blogger to Materialia Indica. For the last 8 years, I have been with the Materials Research team at GE Global Research. I am also an alumnus of IISc, so when Abi mentioned about Materialia Indica, I was very excited to be part of this opportunity to touch base with my alma-mater, and the extended materials community at large. I will start with sharing the story of our materials team at GE, and what we do.
Materials Research Lab at GE Global Research, Bangalore, consists of about 35 scientists. In the true spirit of this unique engineering discipline, we have experts from all fields- metallurgists, chemists, physicists, materials scientists, mechanical engineers, all coming together to develop better materials for a variety of applications: ranging from superalloys & coatings for jet engines, to materials for sustainable energy sources, materials for lighting applications, scintillators for healthcare applications, and so on. We have a Metallurgy lab and a Ceramics lab, and I will talk about the Metallurgy lab to begin with.
The Metallurgy lab has aligned itself into 3 CoEs (Centers of Excellence) – Corrosion, Structure Properties and Modeling & Tribology. While each of these are individually anchored in metallurgy, they represent distinct technical skill sets by themselves.
Corrosion CoE is rooted in physical metallurgy and electrochemistry. Over the years the CoE has developed unique competencies to study localized corrosion under high pressure and temperature using autoclaves and potentiostats to arrive at materials or process environments that are not prone to localized corrosion or crevice corrosion. This CoE has now built unique capabilities to evaluate materials for sour gas environments.
Modeling CoE has its foundations based on multiscale modeling. Atomistics & first principles calculations provide critical inputs on thermodynamic parameters such as stacking fault energies, APB energies, etc. that feed into next scale Phase Field models. Ab initio modeling is also invaluable as a stand-alone tool when it comes to understanding surface reactions: extremely useful for designing next-generation coatings. Thermodynamic modeling follows next, to complement this information & feeding into microstructural models based on Phase Field or Cellular Automata, which track the microstructural evolution during solidification and as-solidified structures. The end aim of all of these is however, to tie up with higher scale mechanical behavior models, to fit the last piece of “structure-property” modeling. CDM(Continuum Damage Mechanics) based models or other strength models then provide with component strength information based on inputs from all the above length/time scales.
Tribology CoE has been at the forefront of developing relationships between thermal sprayed and PVD coating structures and wear properties – specializing in developing customized test methods to simulate different forms of wear, and through the understanding of the wear mechanisms derived places bets on new and existing coating structures to solve customer issues. These are evaluated through customized test set ups to demonstrate improved performance under close to field conditions.
Here’s just a flavor of the different teams we have in Metallurgy and our focus areas.
Sounds too serious? Well, I must admit, that our time at work is not consumed by only the above. To entertain our fatigued brains, we have regular screenings of Bollywood blockbusters & musical extravaganza at our amphitheatres, in addition to the gym facilities & entertainment center equipped with pool tables, TT, & other indoor games. National religions such as cricket & football tournaments are frequently celebrated! And I must say, that a lot of ideas buzz out of these informal meets under fun-fare alongside scheduled brainstorming meetings. Overall, the culture of open exchange of fundas between people of diverse disciplines make this place a great learning centre!

I will be back to share specific materials stories with you soon, but, here’s some food for thought before I leave-
Did you know: The widely known beneficial effect of Boron in enhancing ductility in Ni-base alloys was actually a serendipitous discovery through contamination from crucibles containing B during melting of the alloy. Here’s a snapshot of the original 1958 article:

Boron_effect

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