Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Surojit Gupta


The Mn+1AXn (MAX) phases are thermodynamically stable nanolaminates which display

unusual, and in some cases unique, properties. There currently exist over 60 MAX phases

in the literature. These phases are named because they possess a Mn+1AXn chemistry,

where n is equal to 1, 2, or 3, M is an early transition metal element, A is an A-group

element, and X is carbon and/or nitrogen. MAX phases are layered hexagonal (space

group D4 6h-P63/mmc) with two formula units per unit cell. The MAX phase material

group has high damage tolerance, thermal shock resistance, resistant to creep, lubricious,

readily machinable, and has Vickers hardness values of 2-8 GPa which is anomalously

soft for transitional metal carbides and nitrides. Some of the MAX phases are also

oxidation resistant. The properties of the MAX phases make them very appealing to

scientists and engineers for many different structural applications.