The CDT in Advanced Metallics is a partnership between the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester and the I-Form Advanced Manufacturing Centre, Dublin. CDT students undertake the CDT training programme at all three locations throughout the 4-year programme.
Fusion may play a critical role in meeting our future energy demands, but implementing this powerful technology requires advances in key areas of science and technology in order to build and run the power plants. Additive Manufacture shows promise for the creation of some critical components for fusion (such as Plasma Facing Materials, exposed to some of the most demanding conditions), both in regard to the complex shapes required and the processing of the high temperature materials likely to be used.
However, even with rapid advanced in AM technology the nature of the application means that is s likely to create sub-components (e.g. of a single material) only, and the bonding of these into devices and structures will be essential. Brazing offers a route to do this, offering the capability of forming a metallurgical (i.e. strong, temperature resistant and conductive) bond between dissimilar materials, without significant change of either part. However, filler metals for such applications are limited, and the reports of brazing of AM components are limited.
This project will build on work at Sheffield on Additive Manufacture and brazing alloys, using computational methods to design and then experimentally explore new filler metal compositions to bond likely materials for use in fusion. Consideration will also be given to adjusting the behaviour of the filler (e.g. melting temperature) to the operating conditions. The possibility to use the abilities of AM (such as shape control, inherent rough surface, etc) to design surfaces better adapted for joining by brazing will also be investigated, with the philosophy to develop both the filler metal and brazing and the AM process in parallel, within their respective envelopes.
This project provides opportunities to spend time on the Culham site, interacting with UKAEA staff and using their unique facilities for materials characterisation. The work also has significant scope for innovation, both in terms of the design of components in Additive Manufacture, and in the development of new brazing alloys. In both of these the work will use highly advanced materials at the cutting edge of technology.