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Electrical Steels: Magnetic properties enhancement using alternative manufacturing processes

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, December 30, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Working with the AFRC’s Tier 1 Members this PhD proposal is a collaboration between Cogent-Power and AFRC on the development and advancement of electric steel (E-steel) technologies for electrical vehicles.

Tata-Steel spans across 5 continents and is recognised as one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of steel products. Cogent-Power, as a part of Tata-Steel business, focuses on electrical steels and its manufacturing processes.

Historically, Scotland was one of the world’s greatest steel producing nations. Scotland is also one of the world leaders in renewable power production. By building on these two capabilities and merging them, Scotland can take a significant step forward in leading E-steel technology and the advantages that are presented in this ever more technology focused world.

As technology has advanced, demand for electrical vehicles has grown significantly. This is in part due to strict emission policies and increased fuel prices as well as favourable stance from the government on electrification of vehicles. Therefore, there are strong drivers for working towards developing enhanced electrical motors to provide increased efficiency in electrical vehicles. Perusing this avenue of research in a rapidly growing technology field will create more opportunities for Scottish companies and research centres.

The winding core of electric motors is manufactured from a laminate of E-steel. This E-steel component is key in transforming electrical energy to mechanical torque. From a metallurgical-point-of-view, the microstructure/texture of the E-steel laminate, which controls the magnetic properties, has a great impact on the energy efficiency of the motors. The fundamental objective of the proposed PhD application is to investigate the effect of thermomechanical processing and annealing parameters on the final microstructure/texture of the manufactured part and consequently, on their magnetic properties. This proposal will target the final stages of cold/warm forming and annealing. To that end, a newly designed/manufactured testing rig for repetitive-bending-under-tension (R-BUT) and asymmetric-rolling will be used to apply plastic deformation in the E-steel sheets featuring a large shear strain to control their microstructure/texture. The recrystallization annealing of the deformed sheets will be studied using in-situ texture analysis during annealing by neutron-diffraction and the SEM/EBSD technique. In this work, two grades of low-Si (0.9%Si) and ultrahigh-Si E-steel (6.5%Si) will be considered. This proposal also addresses the industrial challenge of forming the 6.5%Si E-steel due to its poor mechanical properties. Furthermore, the effect of cut edge during stamping on the magnetic properties of the E-steel sheets will be investigated.

This proposal will address this major challenge and the key questions to be addressed are to:

- Develop and optimise thermomechanical processes on E-steel sheets
- Gain a comprehensive understanding of microstructure/texture evolution of E-steel during thermomechanical processes and final
annealing in order to establish a correlation between process parameters and development of microstructure/texture.
- Understand the influence of the cut-edges and coating of E-steel laminate on their magnetic properties during stamping process
- Suggest an alternative thermomechanical process on 6.5%Si to develop an appropriate texture during manufacturing. Due to the high
content of Si in this alloy, it possesses poor mechanical properties which makes plastic deformation using conventional processes on
this alloy difficult.
- Study the influence of chemical composition of E-steels on their magnetic properties.
- Conducting R-BUT and the alternative rolling process of ASR on E-steel sheets and optimize the process parameters.
- Conducting in-situ texture analysis to understand the recrystallization behaviour of E-steel.
- Study the stamping process of the E-steel laminate and its impacts on the magnetic properties
- Conducting warm R-BUT on ultrahigh-Si E-steel (6.5%Si) sheets up to 500⁰C to develop desired texture for magnetic applications

This would be the first collaborative research work between AFRC and Cogent-Power. In addition to AFRC, there are several other academics would help the PhD student along with the Cogent-Power. This new PhD project will give many opportunities to collaborate, bridging the gap between academia and industry.

This PhD proposal is a multidisciplinary project focussing on the development of a new manufacturing methodology for E-steel laminate with the goal of enhancing their magnetic properties. This is aligned with the national Scottish strategy for Power Electronics, Machines & Drives. According to the government’s statement, new conventional diesel and petrol vehicle sales will be banned by 2040 and the Scottish government have set a target to phase out the need for such vehicles by 2032. This illustrates that working towards enhancing electric motors is vital in Scotland.

Funding Notes

Applications are welcome from all who possess or are about to obtain a first class or 2.1 BEng (Hons), MEng or MSc degree, or equivalent EU/International qualification, in a relevant discipline. Applications from Home, Rest of UK and EU students will receive funding of the home fee and stipend.

International Students are welcome to apply but should be aware of the additional funding requirements and will have to provide evidence that they can pay the difference in fees of circa £16k per annum.

Please email Dr Dorothy Evans at , with the project title and attach your most up-to-date cv.

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