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Automatic Digital Twin for Critical Nuclear Island Components Through Novel Machining Data Acquisition


Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Sheffield United Kingdom Aerospace Engineering Civil Engineering Manufacturing Engineering Mechanical Engineering Materials Science

About the Project

In this project, you will work on a new technique to create digital twin data during machining. You will develop the technique further and work with multinational companies to apply it to critical components in the nuclear sector.

By measuring cutting forces during machining, it is possible to generate an incredibly data-rich digital twin of the microstructure and mechanical properties at the surface of a machined component. The process is unobtrusive to the manufacturing process so offers an excellent opportunity to generate serial number-specific materials data without destructive testing of components. The opportunities for application in any sector are numerous and developing this on the most arduous of safety-focussed industries will provide an example of what is achievable.

To date this technique has produced exceptional results on aero-engine components and materials weighing 10s kg, this programme will seek to achieve two goals specific to the nuclear sector:

1) Detailed measurements on dissimilar metal welds and associated heat affected zones which are common in nuclear plants and also pose the greatest concern in safety assessment; and

2) Scale up of the technique to the machining of large nuclear pressure vessel components weighing 100s tonnes; here the forces involved are an order of magnitude higher and the industrial environment presents challenges on the handling and transport of the large amounts of data created.

Initial trials and development will be at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Sheffield, developing bespoke equipment that will be deployed into an industrial environment while also of being of low impact to any existing set up. Materials characterisation will be undertaken in world-class facilities offered by the Henry Royce Institute and Sorby Centre at the University of Sheffield. You will explore and develop understanding of the implications of your findings on the safety assessment of these components.

This programme is in support of a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship and you will join a bespoke early career leadership and training programme developed by the Fellow with support from leading training organisations (Naked Scientists, ED&I Lead It and Live It, and ASF/Potential). Rolls-Royce Submarines and Sheffield Forgemasters will support this research programme so it is preferable, but not essential, that the successful candidate can obtain security clearance in the UK.


Funding Notes

This studentship will pay home tuition fees in full and a stipend for living expenses for 3.5 years. This stipend will be at the RCUK rate.

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