Weston Straka

Weston Straka

Weston Straka
Graduate Research Assistant

Contact Information:

Email: wjstraka@ncsu.edu

 Educational Information:

  • B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering, NC State University, May 2012

My current work is on using a novel approach to create superconducting REBCO conductor joints at ambient conditions. I am also involved with the creation of a new way to process MgB2 conductors on various substrates.

Current Projects:

  1. Densification of thoria:Being the highest melting point binary oxide, the densification of thoria using electric fields shows how large thermodynamic barriers can be overcome in the sintering process of thoria. Using two electrodes and a constant DC electric field, sintering curves are created to show the effect of the magnitude of the electric field and the magnitude of the current on the densification of thoria. Microstructural studies are also done to verify the results of the sintering curves and to lend insight into the underlying mechanisms.Objectives:
    • Create dense ceramic body at low temperatures
    • Understand the underlying mechanisms
    • Optimize the processing parameters
  2. Spin Coating of Hafnia:Hafnia thin films are important for various applications including optics and dielectrics. By spin coating hafnia onto different substrates and controlling crystallinity, needs can be met for a wide variety of industrial and scientific needs.Objectives:
    • Control crystallinity and thickness of hafnia
    • Deposit hafnia thin films onto various substrates
  3. Processing of MgB2:For high energy physics, niobium-tin is the alloy of choice for a superconducting material. However, a new material, magnesium diboride, could change what is used for these applications. A new approach to processing could yield a mechanically stronger conductor with promising magnetoelectrical properties. This research looks into the process of application on a substrate and the substrate composition itself.Objectives:
    • Improve magnetoelectrical properties of MgB2
    • Gain understanding on substrate’s influence of superconducting properties

Equipment Used:

  1. Dilatometer
    A self-built system that allows for temperatures of up to 1700 °C and measuring length changes of up to 10s of microns. Labview is used to record the data from the dilatometer. Electric field processing is also available for use in this system.
    Magneto optical imaging system uses the Faraday effect to see magnetic flux lines and turn them into light. The light is seen in an optical microscope and quench can be seen real-time.
  2. Scanning Electronic Miscroscope
  3. Glovebox
  4. Optical Microscope,
  5. Atomic Force Miscroscopy
  6. Current/Capacitance Detection & Measurement Systems
  7. Archimedes density system
  8. Spin Coater
  9. Ic measurement system
  10. X-ray Diffractometer