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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number EP/P020755/1
Title Rapid Product Development through Process Innovation
Status Completed
Energy Categories Not Energy Related 80%;
Energy Efficiency(Industry) 20%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 50%;
Applied Research and Development 50%;
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Physics) 20%;
PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Metallurgy and Materials) 80%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Dr C Davis
No email address given
Metallurgy and Materials
University of Birmingham
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 20 March 2017
End Date 19 March 2022
Duration 60 months
Total Grant Value £900,955
Industrial Sectors Aerospace; Defence and Marine; Construction; Manufacturing
Region West Midlands
Programme Manufacturing : Manufacturing, NC : Engineering, NC : Infrastructure
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr C Davis , Metallurgy and Materials, University of Birmingham (99.992%)
  Other Investigator Dr GJ Gibbons , School of Engineering, University of Warwick (0.001%)
Dr BA Shollock , Materials, Imperial College London (0.001%)
Professor PA Thomas , Physics, University of Warwick (0.001%)
Professor S Seetharaman , Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick (0.001%)
Professor D Greenwood , Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick (0.001%)
Dr P Srirangam Venkata , Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick (0.001%)
Dr Z Li , Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick (0.001%)
Dr M Auinger , Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Tata Steel, India (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract Steel is the most used material in the world by value, one of the most recyclable materials and the only metal produced and consumed in volume in the UK. It is a foundation industry underpinning the economy, e.g. Tata Steel provides the most material for Nissan Leaf's lightweight body and in construction the UK is set to lead the growth rate at 2.8% (cf. EU average of 1.8%). However, the UK steel industry currently faces high energy and raw materials costs with some inefficient processes that are unable to produce advanced products. A strong research base is essential to support the UK steel industry, users of steel and steel-hybrid materials and to develop the skilled workforce needed to drive innovation. There is strong industrial need from the UK transportation and yellow goods industry for material innovation leading to lightweighting, superior performance and establishment of a UK supply chain for auto-bodies, transmissions, battery casings etc; and from the UK construction sector where half of construction demand will be in the residential sector by 2030. There is massive potential for novel steel-based solutions such as hybrid materials, which require detailed understanding and control of the steel surface properties during processing.To reduce lead-times for alloy innovation, and to ensure new alloys can be processed, rapid alloy design and high-throughput processing is required. Whilst combinatorial approaches for identifying an alloy for desired properties are available, the ability to rapidly simulate all the transient process steps critical for actual alloy manufacturing and its integration into structures and devices does not exist. Therefore a suite of new equipment is proposed that will identify and accelerate inventions for synthesizing alloys encompassing rapid processing, characterisation and modelling. The equipment will comprise a high throughput 3D ingot printer, drop furnace to assess liquid-environment reactions for solidification optimization, surface/bulk deformation rig to assess solid-environment reactions for hot process optimization, high throughput rolling to produce appropriate microstructures for subsequent testing, PVD deposition to enable co-development of compatible coatings and electro-thermal-mechanical testing for coating, welding and forming assessment. We will access existing characterisation (SEM and Raman/AFM) facilities off line to enable detailed assessment of bulk and surface structure of down selected systems. Alongside this will be modelling software for bridging the gaps from laboratory high-throughput experiments to manufacturing processes. The equipment requested was identified following extensive engagement and discussions with industrial partners, particularly Tata Steel who have made very significant commitments, and the Tata Steel network of supported UK academics.The facility will be managed by a dedicated test facilities engineer with a booking system for access for individual equipment items and as a through process assessment tool for new alloy systems. A Steering Group and Industrial Advisory Group will meet regularly to ensure that high quality scientific projects are prioritized, industrial use is encouraged and fair access is maintained. WMG has extensive experience of providing equipment support and user training and have strong links with industry through the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, co-location of the Tata Steel UK R&D centre and the new National Automotive Innovation Centre. Ongoing EPSRC projects have been identified that will immediately benefit from the facility with new research areas being developed in collaboration with industry and other academics. We feel that the development of this facility will be a critical element in developing an environment where the essential technologies needed for transforming the UK steel industry can be invented and implemented utilizing energy and raw material flexible processes and develop high value product
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 07/02/19