Shahani’s proposal "Abnormal Grain Growth in Four Dimensions” has been selected by Army Research Office (ARO) to receive a Young Investigator Program (YIP) award. This is his second YIP this academic year. The first, granted last fall from Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), was for his proposal on Chiral Metamaterials by Design.
"I am thrilled to begin research on a longstanding problem in the materials community, regarding the precise role of particles on the motion of grain boundaries," Shahani said. "Classical theories dating from the 1940’s and onwards suggest that particles constrict the migration of grain boundaries, but recent simulations and experiments suggest that instead particles may give rise to abnormally large grains in poly-crystals (in the absence of strain). To resolve the debate, my team will harness new developments in in situ and laboratory-based X-ray imaging. Through our results, we will pinpoint the thermodynamic and kinetic factors that allow grain boundaries to navigate through a particle cloud. This research has important implications for the controlled manufacture of strong and lightweight poly-crystalline alloys for next-generation army systems."