Engineering: Fully Funded M2A ENGD Scholarship: Weathering around the world: Discovering new market opportunities for sustainable organic coatings
Start date: October 2022
Expected interview date: May 2022
Academic supervisors: Dr Matthew Davies and Dr Matt Carnie
Industrial supervisors: Dr Peter Barker and Neil Metherell
Sponsoring company: TATA Steel
Tata Steel UK is one of the largest producers of pre-painted steel in Europe and produces top range products which are specified throughout Europe, primarily for use in the construction industry. To maintain this position, the organisation is constantly trying to improve the current product range and look for new market opportunities to support sales growth. These sales growth opportunities in new markets throughout the world sit outside our core markets; as a result, research is required to investigate the polymer performance and climatic conditions in these new markets to determine recommendations for product longevity in these markets. Through this research, recommendations can be given to the business relating to the viability of which products can be used, colour choice, opportunities, and associated product guarantees for new markets.
This is an exciting opportunity for a committed research student to work closely with the business, researching into new sustainable product opportunities, new markets, and new customers throughout the world.
- In conjunction with the business, look at new markets throughout the world and research typical climatic conditions. From this, establish the pre-finished steel performance for various construction applications
- Work with current products and future new products, providing recommendations for the business around product suitability per market
- Study materials that have been degraded via external and accelerated testing methods
- Use analytical techniques such as UV, ATR FTIR, and Raman spectroscopy to better clarify the mechanism and rates of organic coating degradation and erosion
- Understand how different climatic conditions affect the coating characteristics, using depth profile and surface analysis
- Further develop non-destructive techniques to evaluate performance of weathered samples, such as colour, gloss, blister formation, and creep measurement
- Provide guidance around the in-use performance for various pre-painted steel products connected to the new markets