Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Computing, Engineering & Construction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. School of Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Stephen Stagon

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Eason

Third Advisor

Dr. Grant Bevill

Department Chair

Dr. Osama Jadaan

College Dean

Dr. William F. Klostermeyer


Amalgamations are a promising replacement for electronic solders, thermal interface materials, and other conductive joining materials. Amalgams are mechanically alloyed materials of a liquid constituent with a solid powder. Unlike traditional solders, these materials are processed at room temperature or slightly above, and can often operate at temperatures near, or beyond, their processing temperatures. Existing bonding processes require an excessive amount of heat, which may cause thermal stress to the electronic components and delaminate the attachment. Amalgams have promising characteristics for thermal interface materials (TIMs) due to being fully metallic, relatively easy of handling, and possessing metallic strength similar to solder or braze. Non-toxic gallium (Ga) based room temperature liquid metal alloys are a favorable material for structural amalgamations over conventional mercury (Hg). Unlike Hg amalgamations, Ga-based amalgamations have not been widely studied in the literature.

In this work, the authors investigate a novel Ga-based amalgamation, further detailing the fabrication process and characterize the physical structure, chemistry, and mechanical strength. Different packing ratios are examined, by weight, 2:1, 1:1, 4:3, and 4:1 of Galinstan, which is composed of 68wt% Ga, 22wt% indium (In), 10wt% tin (Sn), to copper (Cu) powder. These ratios are molded into three-dimensional (3D) printed tensile bars of the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard dimensions of a model that is per D638 TypeIV. The tensile bars are cured for 24-hours at three different temperatures (room temperature, 100°C, 200°C).

The 4:1 ratio was the only specimen that failed to solidify. After allowing 24-hours of undisturbed curing, the samples that solidified were tested for their ultimate tensile strength. The optimal strength was achieved with the 2:1 ratio cured at 100°C, reaching an average tensile strength of 32.0 MPa. A scanning electron microscope (SEM), equipped with energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), was then utilized to perform microstructural characterization and local chemical composition mapping of fractured and polished sample surfaces. It is concluded that, of the packing ratios that set, there is no statistically significant correlation between packing ratio and tensile strength. Further, the phases formed during curing at room temperature are the same for all packing ratios but are present at different dispersions. However, it is found that the tensile strength decreases with statistical significance as the cure temperature is increased to 200°C. This change can be attributed to the presence of new phases that occur when the sample is heated to 200°C vs. when cured at room temperature. In the room temperature sample, x-ray diffraction (XRD) revealed the existence of pure Cu, CuGa2, and In3Sn. At 200°C, XRD shows a decrease in pure Cu, the presence of CuGa2 and In3Sn, and the emergence of a new Cu2Ga phase. These different phases form different interfaces with different bond energies, resulting in a change in tensile strength.