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Development of Advanced High Modulus Steels for Automotive Applications

Project Description

Although there has been much activity in the automotive sector in the area of advanced high strength steels (AHSS), with the objective of achieving high strength while exhibiting high stretch formability, there is a new generation of steels under consideration for automotive applications (Fig. 1). These steels are predicated on achieving weight reduction while exhibiting a high modulus of elasticity as part of the design criteria, and such steels are referred to as high modulus steels (HMS). This project aims to develop high modulus, high ductility steels with reduced density that can be produced at an industrial scale. This is with the ultimate aim of opening up the lightweight design window to increase performance and efficiency of transport systems. One potential route to achieving this combination of properties is to create a composite microstructure by combining light and stiff particles with a strong a ductile metallic matrix. This research programme will examine potential in-situ composite systems based on TiB2, NbB2 and/or VB2 particles (e.g. Fig. 2) utilising conventional liquid casting methods in addition to powder production/consolidation methods.

A clear objective of the research is to establish the feasibility for the use of HMS in automotive components. This will be achieved by adopting a parallel processing approach 1. Produced using vacuum induction melting followed by thermomechanical processing (TMP), and 2. Produced using field assisted sintering technology (FAST) coupled with single stage TMP. All facilities for this testing will be performed in Sheffield as part of the Henry Royce Institute (HRI). Quantitative characterisation of the microstructures as a function of the various processing stages will be conducted for the HMS produced by both processing routes, in addition to full mechanical testing (tensile, impact) of the HMS as compared with the monolithic base steel composition properties.

Field Assisted Sintering, FAST (sometimes known as Spark Plasma Sintering) is a novel manufacturing technique used to rapidly consolidate powders and particulates. FAST is different from conventional sintering methods as a current flows through the powder to achieve a Joule heating effect instead of using an external heat source. This process enables the formation of in-situ composites at a much smaller length scales than conventional processing, offering the opportunity to develop components with the desired combination of stiffness and ductility.

The project aligns with the large scale manufacturing and characterisation equipment earmarked for the Henry Royce Institute and objectives of the EPSRC Future Manufacturing Hub MAPP (Manufacture using Advanced Powder Processes). For further information please contact Professor Eric Palmiere ().

Funding Notes

Current UKRI stipend plus a top-up of £2,500p.a. in year 1, and £3,500p.a. in Years 2, 3, and 4, for UK and eligible EU students.

How good is research at University of Sheffield in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials?
Materials Science and Engineering

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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