Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Borg, John P.

Second Advisor

Rice, James

Third Advisor

Sullivan, Christopher


Yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ) is a broadly used ceramic due to its impeccable hardness and thermal stability. Limitations of the material, however, subsist within its fracture toughness. Literature indicates that shock consolidation may enable production of composite YSZ and graphene mixtures with improved fracture toughness and other material properties while maintaining the material’s nanostructure dimensionality. Therefore, investigation of the compaction phenomena at non-equilibrium states will provide informative results to be used in the fabrication of bulk graphene-YSZ composites. Computational molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and impact experiments are conducted to explore and characterize the dynamic response of the YSZ variants. Molecular dynamics simulations studied the non-porous dynamic behavior observed for various graphene and YSZ mixtures. Impact experiments compacted YSZ and graphene/YSZ variants at velocities spanning 315-586 m/s. Two distinct particle sizes of YSZ were investigated (micrometer and nanometer), as well as weight percentage of graphene added to the powdered YSZ (0%, 1%, 3%, 5%). Experimental results portray many physical mechanisms exhibited during the compaction/consolidation process, such as heterogeneity and porosity. Comparison of the MD and experimental results map the thermodynamic state of the materials, defining the non-equilibrium states exhibited by the specimens.