Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.M.E.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Cold spray is a unique additive manufacturing process, where a large number of ductile metal micro particles are deposited to create new surface coatings or free-standing structures. Metallic particles are accelerated through a gas stream, reaching velocities of over 1 km/s. Accelerated particles experience a high-strain-rate microscopic ballistic collisions against a target substrate. Large amounts of kinetic energy results in extreme plastic deformation of the particles and substrate. Though the cold spray process has been in use for decades, the extreme material science behind the deformation of particles has not been well understood due to experimental difficulties arising from the succinct spatial (10 μm) and temporal scales (10 ns). In this study, using a recently developed micro-ballistic method, the advanced laser induced projectile impact test (α-LIPIT), the dynamic behavior of micro-particles during the collision is precisely defined. We observe single aluminum 6061 alloy particles, approximately 20μm in diameter, impact and rebound off of a rigid target surface over a broad range of impact speeds, temperatures, and substrate oxide film thicknesses. Through observation of the collisions, we extract characteristic information of the dynamic response of particles as well as the relationship with various parameters (e.g. surrounding temperature, particle diameter, oxide thickness, and impact velocity). By impacting a polished aluminum 6061 alloy substrate we are able to mimic the collision events that occur during cold spray deposition. The connection between the temperature increase and the oxide thickness plays a role in theorizing the cause of unexpected phenomena, such as increased rebound energies at higher temperatures. Highly-controlled single particle impacts results, are provided to calibrate and improve computational simulations as well. This, in turn, can provide insight into the underlying material science behind the cold spray process.

First Advisor

Jae-Hwang Lee

Second Advisor

David Schmidt

Third Advisor

Jonathan Rothstein