Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Recent Grad Honored for Research

Linh Dinh receives Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research

Linh Dinh, a 2007 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and materials science, was given the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research in Engineering at UC Irvine’s 2007 Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Dinh and her research team members presented “Processing of Nanocrystalline Nickel Using Pulsed Electrodeposition,” a project focused on the design of a pulsed current electrodeposition unit, which can be utilized in producing nanostructured materials.  Dinh was nominated for the Chancellor’s Award by her advisor, Farghalli Mohamed, Ph.D., professor of chemical engineering and materials science.

Nanocrystalline materials are attracting wide attention in materials research because of their novel physical, chemical, biological and mechanical properties, which have potential applications ranging from corrosion- and wear-resistant coatings to soft magnetic materials for magnetic coatings.  

With average grain sizes, or physical dimensions, of 1-100 nanometers, these materials possess special characteristics, including high strength, high localized corrosion resistance, high wear resistance, and high hardness, due to their large number of grain boundaries, junction lines and nodes.  Recent research efforts have been devoted to synthesizing bulk nanocrystalline materials for applications in engineering structures.

Pulsed electrodeposition (PED) is a technologically and economically viable procedure for synthesizing nanocrystalline materials with variable grain sizes, both in bulk form and as coatings for corrosion and wear resistance.  By using PED, it is possible to tailor the nanostructure of the material, including grain size and distribution, stress, and crystal shape, which then determines the physical and chemical properties of the nanostructured material, such as strength, hardness, and corrosion resistance - desired properties for structure applications.

Based on an initial design completed in the 2006 winter quarter, Dinh and her teammates produced nanocrystalline nickel with a grain size ranging from 20 to 30 nanometers, high purity and low porosity.  A new research group of undergraduate students will continue the project next year to work on producing both nanocrystalline nickel and copper.

Dinh was a member of the Dean’s Honors List since first attending UC Irvine in fall 2004, after transferring from Irvine Valley College, and has been working with Mohamed’s graduate students on an innovative research program exploring the behavior of nanostructured materials.  She received a UROP Fellowship for the summer of 2006, and was also given a Henry Samueli School of Engineering Fellowship in the fall 2006 and winter 2007.  Dinh graduated on June 15, 2007 with Magna Cum Laude honors.