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“Design by Science” – integrated computational materials engineering of welded powder-formed components

Project Description


Powder-based metallic manufacturing methods such as hot isostatic pressing show considerable promise for replacing conventional cast or forged components, particularly in industries where high quality and long life are required, such as aerospace and energy. It is important both to understand and to predict how the manufacturing process affects both the final material properties and how the component performs in service.

The Universities of Manchester and Birmingham are working together in a £1M project, “Design by Science”, that aims to develop an “Integrated Computational Materials Engineering” (ICME) framework for multi-scale modelling of the entire process, starting with thermo-mechanical processing of the metal powder, then welding the powder-formed component to conventionally processed steel, and finally putting the component into service.

To achieve this, we need to be able to apply a wide spectrum of advanced characterisation techniques at different size scales, including conventional and electron microscopy, innovative mechanical testing of small specimens, the fabrication and characterisation of large welded components, and the application of neutron and synchrotron diffraction techniques to understand those components. We then need to incorporate our new knowledge into computational models that can link microstructure development during processing to performance in service.

Design by Science is supported by a broad range of industry partners, including Rolls Royce, EDF, Areva, Sandvik and the NAMRC and MTC Catapults

The project

The student will join the “Design by Science” team at Manchester. They will undertake the fabrication and characterisation of small and large scale welded components made from HIP’d AISI 316L steel, and apply both detailed microscopy and a range of material properties testing techniques to understand how HiP’d material behaves during the welding process. The knowledge gained will be incorporated into microstructurally informed continuum computational models of stress and distortion development in engineering-scale components, which will in turn be validated using techniques such as neutron and synchrotron diffraction.

Funding Notes

Funding covers stipend and full tuition fees for home/EU students. Overseas students will need to identify additional funding to cover the difference in fees.

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