Physics Colloquium: Characterization of Glasses Made Using Aerolevitation

This presentation will cover the formation and characterization of glasses using aerolevitation. In this method, spherical beads are levitated and melted in a containerless process, avoiding many of the pitfalls of traditional (crucible-based) glassmaking. Aerolevitation can attain high temperatures of up to 3000 degrees C, eliminate contamination, and inhibit heterogeneous crystallization. The talk will be a tutorial on all aspects of this technique, covering the basic physics, non-equilibrium conditions, stress-induced crystallization, and in situ characterization. On this last topic, we will cover ways to make thermophysical measurements of density, viscosity, and surface tension at high temperatures, as well as some of the nuances of such experiments. Finally, we will stray from glass science to discuss novel crystals that can also be made thru the use of this technique.
Time permitting, we will also cover some of the other, ongoing work taking place at the Center for the Study of Glass at Coe College.

Work supported by the United States National Science Foundation under grant numbers DMR-0904615, DMR-1262315, DMR-1746230, and MRI-0922924.

Prof. Mario Affatigato obtained his undergraduate degree from Coe College in 1989, followed by his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1995. He has developed a research effort primarily investigating the relationship between the optical properties and structure of glassy materials. He has worked with over 90 undergraduates in projects that include laser-induced modification and exotic manufacturing methods like aerolevitation. His research primarily deals with oxide glasses, especially vanadates, borates, and samples with heavy metals. Prof. Affatigato is a past recipient of the APS Prize for Research at an Undergraduate Institution, a PECASE award from the National Science Foundation (NSF), as well as other research grants from industry, NSF and the Research Corporation in support of his work. He is a fellow of the American Ceramic Society and the UK Society of Glass Technology, and a Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar. Currently he holds the Fran Allison and Francis Halpin Professorship at Coe College, and is the Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Applied Glass Science.