The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has awarded a $66,215 grant for "Restoration of Orientation Data from Polycrystalline Materials" to Prashant Athavale, an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at Clarkson University.
The funding will be used for research to improve the understanding of scanning electron microscope images of metals used in manufacturing and construction, as well as other imaging techniques, like high-energy X-ray diffraction microscopy and micro-CT scans.
"Most metals used in manufacturing and construction have crystalline microstructures composed of regions of similar atomic orientations called crystal grains," says Athavale. "The composition of these grains impacts the material properties, such as elasticity, strength, and fracture points. The orientations are usually measured using techniques such as electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), a scanning electron microscope-based technique."
In order to understand the properties of materials, it is important to have accurate data about these orientations. The EBSD data could contain errors, missing regions, or even both.
"These inaccuracies could result in incorrect conclusions about the structural properties of the materials, resulting in potentially dangerous scenarios, like using an unexpectedly weaker material in constructing a bridge," says Athavale.
Athavale will estimate the error level and then use mathematical image-processing techniques to correct the orientation data. The project also aims to identify the missing values in the multidimensional EBSD data and fill in the missing region with the corrected data.
"This work will be helpful to materials scientists who are studying macroscopic properties from images,” says Athavale, whose research interests are numerical analysis, calculus of variations, partial differential equations, mathematical image processing, and machine learning.