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Invited Review
Application and prospective of 3D printing in rock mechanics: A review
Yong-tao Gao, Tian-hua Wu, and  Yu Zhou
2021, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2119-8
Abstract:
This review aims to discuss the application and development of three-dimensional printing (3DP) technology in the field of rock mechanics and the mechanical behaviors of 3D-printed specimens on the basis of various available printing materials. This review begins with a brief description of the concepts and principles associated with 3DP, and then systematically elaborates the five major applications of 3DP technology in the field of rock mechanics, namely, the preparation of rock (including pre-flawed rock) specimens, preparation of joints, preparation of geophysical models, reconstruction of complex rock structures, and performance of bridging experimental testing and numerical simulation. Meanwhile, the mechanical performance of 3D-printed specimens created using six different printing materials, such as polymers, resin, gypsum, sand, ceramics, and rock-like geological materials, is reviewed in detail. Subsequently, some improvements that can make these 3D-printed specimens close to natural rocks and some limitations of 3DP technology in the application of rock mechanics are discussed. Some prospects that are required to be investigated in the future are also proposed. Finally, a brief summary is presented. This review suggests that 3DP technology, especially when integrated with other advanced technologies, such as computed tomography scanning and 3D scanning, has great potential in rock mechanics field.
Invited Review
Review on desulfurization in electroslag remelting
Cheng-bin Shi, Yi Huang, Jian-xiao Zhang, Jing Li, and  Xin Zheng
2021, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 18-29. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2075-3
Abstract:
Electroslag remelting (ESR) gives a combination of liquid metal refining and solidification structure control. One of the typical aspects of liquid metal refining during ESR for the advanced steel and alloy production is desulfurization. It involves two patterns, i.e., slag–metal reaction and gas–slag reaction (gasifying desulfurization). In this paper, the advances in desulfurization practices of ESR are reviewed. The effects of processing parameters, including the initial sulfur level of consumable electrode, remelting atmosphere, deoxidation schemes of ESR, slag composition, melting rate, and electrical parameters on the desulfurization in ESR are assessed. The interrelation between desulfurization and sulfide inclusion evolution during ESR is discussed, and advancements in the production of sulfur-bearing steel at a high-sulfur level during ESR are described. The remaining challenges for future work are also proposed.
Invited Review
Toward the development of Mg alloys with simultaneously improved strength and ductility by refining grain size via the deformation process
Zhi Zhang, Jing-huai Zhang, Jun Wang, Ze-hua Li, Jin-shu Xie, Shu-juan Liu, Kai Guan, and  Rui-zhi Wu
2021, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 30-45. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2190-1
Abstract:
Magnesium (Mg) alloys, as the lightest metal engineering materials, have broad application prospects. However, the strength and ductility of traditional Mg alloys are still relativity low and difficult to improve simultaneously. Refining grain size via the deformation process based on the grain boundary strengthening and the transition of deformation mechanisms is one of the feasible strategies to prepare Mg alloys with high strength and high ductility. In this review, the effects of grain size on the strength and ductility of Mg alloys are summarized, and fine-grained Mg alloys with high strength and high ductility developed by various severe plastic deformation technologies and improved traditional deformation technologies are introduced. Although some achievements have been made, the effects of grain size on various Mg alloys are rarely discussed systematically and some key mechanisms are unclear or lack direct microscopic evidence. This review can be used as a reference for further development of high-performance fine-grained Mg alloys.
Invited Review
Review of the fatigue behavior of hard coating–ductile substrate systems
Yan-yun Bai, Jin Gao, Tao Guo, Ke-wei Gao, Alex A. Volinsky, and  Xiao-lu Pang
2021, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 46-55. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2203-0
Abstract:
With the wide application of coating materials in aerospace and other fields, their safety under fatigue conditions in service is important. However, research on the fatigue properties of ceramic hard coatings started late, and a unified standard is yet to be established to evaluate the fatigue life of hard coating–ductile substrate systems. Studies also present different opinions on whether coatings can improve or reduce the fatigue life of substrates. In this paper, the influence of the properties of ceramic coatings on fatigue performance is reviewed, and the effects of coating on the mechanism of fatigue crack initiation in substrates are discussed, aiming to help readers understand the fatigue behavior of hard coating–ductile substrate systems.
Research Article
Purification of specularite by centrifugation instead of flotation to produce iron oxide red pigment
Xi Zhang, Shun-wei Zhu, Yu-jiang Li, Yong-li Li, Qiang Guo, and  Tao Qi
2021, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 56-65. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2003-6
Abstract:
This study used specularite, a high-gradient magnetic separation concentrate, as a raw material in reverse flotation. An iron concentrate with a grade of 65.1wt% and a recovery rate of 75.31% were obtained. A centrifugal concentrator served as the deep purification equipment for the preparation of iron oxide red pigments, and its optimal rotating drum speed, feed concentration, and other conditions were determined. Under optimal conditions, a high-purity iron oxide concentrate with a grade of 69.38wt% and a recovery rate of 80.89% were obtained and used as a raw material for preparing iron oxide red pigment. Calcining with sulfuric acid produced iron red pigments with different hues. Simultaneously, middlings with a grade of 60.20wt% and a recovery rate of 17.51% were obtained and could be used in blast furnace ironmaking. High-value utilization of specularite beneficiation products was thus achieved.
Research Article
Behavior of phosphorus enrichment in dephosphorization slag at low temperature and low basicity
Ge-fan Ye, Jian Yang, Run-hao Zhang, Wen-kui Yang, and  Han Sun
2021, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 66-75. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2036-x
Abstract:
At low basicity and low temperature, the dephosphorization behavior and phosphorus distribution ratio (LP) between slag and molten steel in the double slag and remaining slag process were studied with a 180 t basic oxygen furnace industrial experiment. The dephosphorization slags with different basicities were quantitatively analyzed. At the lower basicity range of 0.9–2.59, both LP and dephosphorization ratio were increased as the basicity of dephosphorization slag increased. Dephosphorization slag consisted of dark gray P-rich, light gray liquid slag, and white Fe-rich phases. With increasing basicity, not only did the morphologies of different phases in the dephosphorization slag change greatly, but the area fractions and P2O5 content of the P-rich phase also increased. The transfer route of P during dephosphorization can be deduced as hot metal → liquid slag phase + Fe-rich phase → P-rich phase.
Research Article
Development of calcium coke for CaC2 production using calcium carbide slag and coking coal
Xu-zhong Gong, Jun-qiang Zhang, Zhi Wang, Dong Wang, Jun-hao Liu, Xiao-dong Jing, Guo-yu Qian, and  Chuan Wang
2021, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 76-87. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2049-5
Abstract:
A type of calcium coke was developed for use in the oxy-thermal process of calcium carbide production. The calcium coke was prepared by the co-pyrolysis of coking coal and calcium carbide slag, which is a solid waste generated from the chlor-alkali industry. The characteristics of the calcium cokes under different conditions were analyzed experimentally and theoretically. The results show that the thermal strength of calcium coke increased with the increase in the coking coal proportion, and the waterproof property of calcium coke also increased with increased carbonation time. The calcium coke can increase the contact area of calcium and carbon in the calcium carbide production process. Furthermore, the pore structure of the calcium coke can enhance the diffusion of gas inside the furnace, thus improving the efficiency of the oxy-thermal technology.
Research Article
Determination of dielectric properties of titanium carbide fabricated by microwave synthesis with Ti-bearing blast furnace slag
Peng Liu, Li-bo Zhang, Bing-guo Liu, Guang-jun He, Jin-hui Peng, and  Meng-yang Huang
2021, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 88-97. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-1985-4
Abstract:
The preparation of functional material titanium carbide by the carbothermal reduction of Ti-bearing blast furnace slag with microwave heating is an effective method for valuable metals recovery; it can alleviate the environmental pressure caused by slag stocking. The dynamic dielectric parameters of Ti-bearing blast furnace slag/pulverized coal mixture under high-temperature heating are measured by the cylindrical resonant cavity perturbation method. Combining the transient dipole and large π bond delocalization polarization phenomena, the interaction mechanism of the microwave macroscopic non-thermal effect on the titanium carbide synthesis reaction was revealed. The material thickness range during microwave heating was optimized by the joint analysis of penetration depth and reflection loss, which is of great significance to the design of the microwave reactor for the carbothermal reduction of Ti-bearing blast furnace slag.
Research Article
Erosion-corrosion and its mitigation on the internal surface of the expansion segment of N80 steel tube
Tan Shang, Xian-kang Zhong, Chen-feng Zhang, Jun-ying Hu, and  Bálint Medgyes
2021, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 98-110. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2086-0
Abstract:
We investigated erosion-corrosion (E-C) and its mitigation on the internal surface of the expansion segment of N80 steel tube in a loop system using array electrode technique, weight-loss measurement, computational-fluid-dynamics simulation, and surface characterization techniques. The results show that high E-C rates can occur at locations where there is a high flow velocity and/or a strong impact from sand particles, which results in different E-C rates at various locations. Consequently, it can be expected that localized corrosion often occurs in such segments. The E-C rate at each location in the expansion segment can be significantly mitigated with an imidazoline derivative inhibitor, as the resulting inhibitor layer significantly impedes the electrochemical reaction rate. However, we found that this inhibitor layer could not effectively reduce the difference in the erosion rates at different locations on the internal surface of the expansion segment. This means that localized corrosion can still occur at the expansion segment despite the presence of the inhibitor.
Research Article
Microstructure and mechanical properties of friction welded carbon steel (EN24) and nickel-based superalloy (IN718)
V.T. Gaikwad, M.K. Mishra, V.D. Hiwarkar, and  R.K.P. Singh
2021, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 111-119. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2008-1
Abstract:
Continuous-drive rotary friction welding was performed to join cylindrical specimens of carbon steel (EN24) and nickel-based superalloy (IN718), and the microstructures of three distinct weld zones—the weld interface (WI)/thermo-mechanically affected zone (TMAZ), the heat-affected zone (HAZ), and the base metal—were examined. The joint was observed to be free of defects but featured uneven flash formation. Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) analysis showed substantial changes in high-angle grain boundaries, low-angle grain boundaries, and twin boundaries in the TMAZ and HAZ. Moreover, significant refinement in grain size (2–5 μm) was observed at the WI/TMAZ with reference to the base metal. The possible causes of these are discussed. The microhardness profile across the welded joint shows variation in hardness. The changes in hardness are ascribed to grain refinement, phase transformation, and the dissolution of strengthening precipitates. The tensile test results reveal that a joint efficiency of 100% can be achieved using this method.
Research Article
Microstructure and mechanical properties of ultralow carbon high-strength steel weld metals with or without Cu−Nb addition
Xing-hai Yang, Xiao-hua Chen, Shi-wei Pan, Zi-dong Wang, Kai-xuan Chen, Da-yong Li, and  Jun-wei Qin
2021, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 120-130. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2159-0
Abstract:
Two types of ultralow carbon steel weld metals (with and without added Cu−Nb) were prepared using gas metal arc welding (GMAW) to investigate the correlation between the microstructure and mechanical properties of weld metals. The results of microstructure characterization showed that the weld metal without Cu−Nb was mainly composed of acicular ferrite (AF), lath bainite (LB), and granular bainite (GB). In contrast, adding Cu−Nb to the weld metal caused an evident transformation of martensite and grain coarsening. Both weld metals had a high tensile strength (more than 950 MPa) and more than 17% elongation; however, their values of toughness deviated greatly, with a difference of approximately 40 J at −50°C. Analysis of the morphologies of the fracture surfaces and secondary cracks further revealed the correlation between the microstructure and mechanical properties. The effects of adding Cu and Nb on the microstructure and mechanical properties of the weld metal are discussed; the indication is that adding Cu−Nb increases the hardenability and grain size of the weld metal and thus deteriorates the toughness.
Research Article
Material flow behavior and microstructural evolution during refill friction stir spot welding of alclad 2A12-T4 aluminum alloy
Gao-hui Li, Li Zhou, Ling-yun Luo, Xi-ming Wu, and  Ning Guo
2021, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 131-141. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-1998-z
Abstract:
In this study, we used the stop-action technique to experimentally investigate the material flow and microstructural evolution of alclad 2A12-T4 aluminum alloy during refill friction stir spot welding. There are two material flow components, i.e., the inward- or outward-directed spiral flow on the horizontal plane and the upward- or downward-directed flow on the vertical plane. In the plunge stage, the flow of plasticized metal into the cavity is similar to that of a stack, whereby the upper layer is pushed upward by the lower layer. In the refill stage, this is process reversed. As such, there is no obvious vertical plasticized metal flow between adjacent layers. Welding leads to the coarsening of S (Al2CuMg) in the thermo-mechanically affected zone and the diminishing of S in the stir zone. Continuous dynamic recrystallization results in the formation of fine equiaxed grains in the stir zone, but this process becomes difficult in the thermo-mechanically affected zone due to the lower deformation rate and the pinning action of S precipitates on the dislocations and sub-grain boundaries, which leads to a high fraction of low-angle grain boundaries in this zone.
Research Article
Optimization of battery life and capacity by setting dense mesopores on the surface of nanosheets used as electrode
Yue-quan Su, Xin-yue Zhang, Li-meng Liu, Yi-ting Zhao, Fang Liu, and  Qing-song Huang
2021, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 142-149. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2088-y
Abstract:
Nanosheets with mesopores on the surface have been prepared using molybdenum trioxide (α-MoO3). The effect of mesopores on the performance of the electrode remains elusive. The MoO3 nanosheets obtained in this study exhibited great battery performance, including good capacity, prolonged recycling life cycles, and excellent rate performance; e.g., 780 mAh/g when charged under a super high current-density of 1000 mA/g. These nanosheets demonstrated excellent stability, maintaining a capacity of 1189 mAh/g after 20 cycles, and 1075 mAh/g after 50 cycles; thus preventing the capacity to decrease to values under the scanning rate of 100 mA/g. These high-purity MoO3 nanosheets are well-ordered and have dense mesopores on the surface; these micropores contribute to the excellent electrode performance of the host electrode materials; the performance parameters include prolonged battery life and capacity. Setting mesopores or active sites on the electrode surface can be an alternative way to obtain stable electrodes in the future.
Research Article
Sn/Sn3O4−x heterostructure rich in oxygen vacancies with enhanced visible light photocatalytic oxidation performance
Rui-qi Yang, Na Liang, Xuan-yu Chen, Long-wei Wang, Guo-xin Song, Yan-chen Ji, Na Ren, Ya-wei Lü, Jian Zhang, and  Xin Yu
2021, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 150-159. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2131-z
Abstract:
Sn3O4, a common two-dimensional semiconductor photocatalyst, can absorb visible light. However, owing to its rapid recombination of photogenerated electron−hole pairs, its absorption is not sufficient for practical application. In this work, a Sn nanoparticle/Sn3O4−x nanosheet heterostructure was prepared by in situ reduction of Sn3O4 under a H2 atmosphere. The Schottky junctions formed between Sn and Sn3O4−x can enhance the photogenerated carrier separation ability. During the hydrogenation process, a portion of the oxygen in the semiconductor can be extracted by hydrogen to form water, resulting in an increase in oxygen vacancies in the semiconductor. The heterostructure showed the ability to remove Rhodamine B. Cell cytocompatibility experiments proved that Sn/Sn3O4−x can significantly enhance cell compatibility and reduce harm to organisms. This work provides a new method for the fabrication of a Schottky junction composite photocatalyst rich in oxygen vacancies with enhanced photocatalytic performance.
Research Article
Fabrication of robust aluminum–carbon nanotube composites using ultrasonic assembly and rolling process
Shahab Shahsavar, Mostafa Ketabchi, and  Saeed Bagherzadeh
2021, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 160-167. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-1969-4
Abstract:
This study introduced a novel fabrication of aluminum–carbon nanotube (CNT) composites by employing bulk acoustic waves and accumulative roll bonding (ARB). In this method, CNT particles were aligned using ultrasonic standing wave in an aqueous media, and the arrayed particles were precipitated on the aluminum plate substrate. Then, the plates rolled on each other through the ARB process with four passes. Optical and scanning electron micrographs demonstrated the effective aligning of CNTs on the aluminum substrate with a negligible deviation of arrayed CNTs through the ARB process. The X-ray diffraction pattern of the developed composites showed no peaks for carbon and aluminum carbide. In addition, tensile tests showed that the longitudinal strength of the specimens processed with aligned CNTs was significantly greater than that of the specimens with common randomly dispersed particles. The proposed technique is beneficial for the fabrication of Al–CNT composites with directional mechanical strength.
Research Article
In vitro bioactivity and corrosion of PLGA/hardystonite composite-coated magnesium-based nanocomposite for implant applications
Mahmood Razzaghi, Masoud Kasiri-Asgarani, Hamid Reza Bakhsheshi-Rad, and  Hamid Ghayour
2021, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 168-178. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2072-6
Abstract:
A type of polymer/ceramic coating was introduced on a magnesium-based nanocomposite, and the nanocomposite was evaluated for implant applications. The microstructure, corrosion, and bioactivity of the coated and uncoated samples were assessed. Mechanical alloying followed by sintering was applied to fabricate the Mg–3Zn–0.5Ag–15NiTi nanocomposite substrate. Moreover, different contents of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) coatings were studied, and 10wt% of PLGA content was selected. The scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images of the bulk nanocomposite showed an acceptable homogenous dispersion of the NiTi nanoparticles (NPs) in the Mg-based matrix. In the in vitro bioactivity evaluation, following the immersion of the uncoated and coated samples in a simulated body fluid (SBF) solution, the Ca/P atomic ratio demonstrated that the apatite formation amount on the coated sample was greater than that on the uncoated nanocomposite. Furthermore, assessing the corrosion resistance indicated that the coatings on the Mg-based substrate led to a corrosion current density (icorr) that was considerably lower than that of the substrate. Such a condition revealed that the coating would provide an obstacle for the corrosion. Based on this study, the PLGA/hardystonite (HT) composite-coated Mg–3Zn–0.5Ag–15NiTi nanocomposite may be suitably applied as an orthopedic implant biomaterial.