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EngD in Increasing the Use of Scrap Steel - Challenges and Opportunities

   Department of Materials Science and Engineering

About the Project

This project is based at the Department of Materials at the University of Sheffield, and is sponsored by Rolls Royce. We are seeking a UK national or candidate with Indefinate Leave to Remain in the UK, with a 2.1 or 1st class degree in a STEM discipline.

SUSTAIN (www.sustainsteel.ac.uk) is an exciting £35M collaborative project between the Universities of Swansea, Warwick and Sheffield working in partnership with the UK steel industry. This EngD project will link to the first grand challenge in the SUSTAIN Hub of ‘Zero Waste, Carbon Neutral Iron and Steelmaking’ with the aim of decarbonizing iron and steel manufacturing, and so aligns closely to the Advanced Metallics CDT.

​​Significantly increasing the use of steel scrap in steel production has become a strategic decision for the UK steel industry. This is driven by the government compulsory target of reducing CO2 emissions by 80% before 2050 for industry [1] and is motivated by the current over-supply of steel scrap and its projected growth in quantity into the 2020’s. Therefore strategies to increase the amount of scrap steel used in future steelmaking operations have attracted a good deal of research interest particularly in recent years, including significant current work within SUSTAIN and the UK steel industry and are a key part of the discussions around sustainability, net zero and materials circularity. 

This is a topic that is important not only to scrap based electric arc furnace based steelmakers, but also to integrated steelmakers, who are interested in increasing the use of scrap steel in both the blast furnace (BF) process used to make iron, and the basic oxygen process (BOF) used to make steel. In addition, many integrated steel makers are already exploring the requirements for the transition to more scrap based steelmaking operations in the future.

Therefore the need to understand some of the limitations and challenges, and solve some of the problems associated with the increased use of scrap will become even more crucial to the industry in the years ahead. This project would complement the portfolio of existing scrap projects within both the DTC and SUSTAIN and will approach the problem using both experimental techniques and life cycle thinking methodology.

The principal aims of this project are

  1. To understand more about the chemical nature and physical form of existing scrap streams, and how that affects the melting behaviour, heat transfer and chargeability of the scrap
  2. What changes would be required to these scrap streams in terms of physical form, quality and chemistry to allow for increased use of scrap within both the BOF and BF
  3. How these changes might affect product design for an electric steelmaking route compared with an integrated route and what would be required for the design of steel products to make the re-use, recovery and recycling of them at end of life much easier in terms of exploitation in the steelmaking processes. 
  4. To carry out an environmental assessment of scenarios involving the increased use of scrap in both basic oxygen and blast furnace ironmaking operations

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Metallic Systems is a partnership between industry and the Universities of Sheffield, Manchester and I-Form Advanced Manufacturing Centre, Dublin. CDT students undertake a 4-year doctorate with an in-depth compulsory technical and professional skills training programme. Please review our training programme, application process and full entry requirements at http://www.metallicscdt.co.uk.

Funding Notes

UKRI rate plus £4,000 per year top-up (£20,062 p.a. in 2022/23)

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