Engineering: Fully Funded M2A MSc by Research Scholarship: Melting and atomisation optimisation of metal powder in advanced applications
Start date: October 2022
Expected interview date: March/April 2022
Academic supervisors: Professor Nicholas Lavery
Industrial supervisor: Dr Titou Minster
Sponsoring company: LSN Diffusion
Metal powder is used in high end applications from brazing to additive manufacturing and thermal spray coatings to HIP. A specific composition and Particle Size Distribution (PSD) is developed for each intended product in order to allow for handling and processing within the constraints of the manufacturing process whilst delivering the required properties for the final intended use.
Melting practice will influence the way some volatile elements may evolve or oxidise & form slags. Slag management is key in order to deliver a clean homogeneous powder as its entrainment can result in poor mechanical properties in the final application.
Powder atomising is a process where high-pressure gas or water medium is used to break down a stream of molten metal into a fine powder with a PSD that follows a gaussian distribution. Furthermore, the function of these processing parameters, the powder will have varying morphology and microstructures which may have an effect on customer applications. Various parameters including atomising medium flow/type/delivery, temperature, nozzle setup, and dry Vs wet cooling will affect the PSD, morphology, and microstructure.
Optimising the process in order to achieve high yields consistently is key for the business such that we are able to offer a competitively priced high quality product. Minimising of material losses and right first time is key in reducing waste and energy consumption throughout the plant.
The project aims are to optimise melting and atomising practices for improved cleanliness, greater yields, reduced process variation & increased right first time on plant. To improve understanding of the process and to gain further know how for the control of the process affects end-use. Close work with the existing technical & process team will ensure the experience will give the candidate a wholesome industrial experience with a healthy amount of laboratory-based work in the partner Universities. The student will be working between the manufacturing site in Ammanford, Swansea University and there is the potential for collaboration with Leeds University.