Opening of the Particles and Grains (P&G) laboratory

1 October 2009

Some members of the new P&G laboratory.
Some members of the new P&G laboratory.

The last cabinet was recently installed in the newly refurbished Particles and Grains (P&G) laboratory in the School of Civil Engineering.

This new laboratory will strengthen the experimental capacity in this school, specifically catering for finer resolution investigations of granular materials and grain-level metallurgy observations. The first installed apparatus in the lab, the Morphology particle analyser, was purchased thanks to the support of the faculty through the Major Equipment Scheme. Two other machines have already been purchased: an optical microscope donated by the Australian Key Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis (AKCMM), and an infrared camera by NEC. Further purchases are about to be made for sample preparation of metals, including a precision cut-off machine and a grinding/polishing machine.

The P&G lab is headed by A/Prof. Itai Einav and Dr. Gwénaëlle Proust, who are very thankful for the support of their Head of School (Prof. Kim Rasmussen), the technicians (especially Garry Towell, Ross Barker), and from the finance managers (Paul Lam and Earnest Jayarajan).

The purpose of this laboratory is to develop new areas of research by combining the areas of Itai and Gwénaëlle.

Itai's research focuses on aspects of particle mechanics, characterisation of the particles in isolation and/or as part of loaded agglomerates. With this lab Itai plans to further his research in the area of comminution, pattern formations, and granular shear physics.

Gwénaëlle's research focuses on understanding the relations between the microstructure of polycrystalline metals and their mechanical properties. Their first common interest is to study the mechanics of soft particles (e.g., compaction of various metallic powders).

Dr Pierre Rognon analysing the first sample by the new Morphology system.
Dr Pierre Rognon analysing the first sample by the new Morphology system.

Further links are envisaged with the AKCMM, particularly by investigating the structural evolution of micro-properties as arise during large-scale mechanical experimental tests in the various other labs in the school (i.e., structures, geomechanics, and fluids labs). As part of the installation of the Morphologi particle analyser, a representative instructor from ATA Scientific (Matthew McGann) arrived to train the P&G lab members on the use of the new system; first specimens were successfully analysed by the team and produced wonderful results.