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Development and advanced characterisation of in situ superalloy composites for laser powder bed fusion


   Department of Materials Science and Engineering

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  Dr K Christofidou, Prof I Todd  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Eutectic superalloys utilise elevate concentrations of carbon to produce microstructures consisting of a γ matrix, high fractions (> 50%) of the strengthening γ’ phase with MC-type carbide fibres forming via a eutectic reaction. These in situ composites offer an unmatched combination of properties for high temperature service in safety critical structural applications in the aerospace industry. In addition, whilst conventional high γ’ fraction Ni-based superalloys have been difficult to process using additive manufacturing (AM), in situ superalloy composites offer an opportunity to realise the benefits of AM with alloys that due to their eutectic nature exhibit reduced cracking susceptibility [Christofidou et al. US2020/0131604 A1]. However, whilst the concept of AM processing of in situ superalloy composites has been demonstrated, a significant body of work is required to understand the microstructural evolution of these materials to allow compositional and process optimisation, as well as tailoring of the reinforcing phases for mechanical performance. This project aims to utilise the extensive AM facilities through Royce and MAPP to develop in situ superalloy composites the microstructure of which will be explored using advanced diffraction-based characterisation methods developed through the “Manufacturing by Design” international centre-to-centre collaboration at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility.

The proposed PhD project is aligned to the “Manufacturing by Design” EPSRC programme that will provide the necessary time required at the ESRF, as well as postdoctoral support, to develop experimental protocols for the in situ study of eutectic superalloys during AM deposition as well as under service-like conditions. These studies will enable the microstructural evolution of the material to be characterised fully hence leading to a holistic understanding of chemistry-manufacturing-microstructure-performance relationships in these materials. Additional experimental support will be provided through alignment with MAPP and the Royce Institute facilities on AM and advanced metals processing. 

Applications can be made using the information on this page https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/phd/apply/applying


Funding Notes

The project is funded for a UK student, with a stipend at the UKRI rate, and Home tuition fees, for a duration of 3.5 years.
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