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Elucidating the Performance Envelope for Brass in Subterranean Environments

Project Description

Corrosion is an omnipresent concern in demanding engineering environments, and resulting failures are often costly in terms of both money and reputation. In this project, the focus will be on critical high-pressure valve assemblies fabricated from brass alloys, which are at risk of so-called stress corrosion cracking (SCC). This phenomenon is typically catastrophic, with little pre-warning. Given this scenario, rigorous materials selection is required in the design stage to minimise operational issues. Key to success in this endeavour is accurate mapping of a reliable performance envelope, which is the goal of this project. More specifically, the propensity of brass to suffer SSC will be explored as a function of both applied stress and environment chemistry. Concerning the latter, two vectors will be explored, namely ammonia and chloride concentration; interest in these species is motivated by their presence in aggressive subterranean environments.

Experiments using a novel in situ observation technique will be conducted, aiming to capture the earliest onset of SCC nucleation. This information is crucial for understanding component lifetime. At the end of the project, the ideal outcome will be the capability to reliably specify which brass alloy is required for a particular combination of stress, ammonia and chloride. Furthermore, details of SSC events will be characterised to determine if component engineering may be optimised.

Funding Notes

Applicants should have or expect to achieve at least a 2.1 honours degree in Physics, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or Materials Science.

This project is being considered for DTA funding. This would provide a full fee waiver and a EPSRC standard stipend. International applicants are welcome to apply but will require access to self-funding.

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

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.00

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

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