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Fully Funded M2A EngD Scholarship: Novel additions to enhance galvanic corrosion resistance of magnesium alloys


   College of Engineering


Swansea United Kingdom Chemical Engineering Manufacturing Engineering Materials Science

About the Project

Start date: October 2021

Academic supervisor: Professor Geraint Williams

Industrial supervisor: Dr Matthew Murphy

Sponsoring company: Luxfer MEL Technologies

Background:

This project provides an excellent opportunity to work with Luxfer MEL Technologies, a world leader in the design and manufacture of Magnesium Alloys for a range of industries, including aerospace, military, and biomedical industries. This project will involve fundamental studies aimed at developing and investigating novel, corrosion resistant magnesium alloys.

Magnesium alloys are the lightest structural metals (30% lighter than aluminium alloys) making them ideal candidates for light weighting in weight critical applications such as Formula 1, military, and aerospace applications. However, corrosion and corrosion protection remain challenges for magnesium and its alloys, due to its position on the galvanic series with respect to other metals.

This project involves designing novel, intrinsically corrosion resistant alloys based on 2 fundamental approaches:

  1. The use of alloying elements to modify the surface oxide layer of the magnesium alloy.
  2. The use of alloying elements to poison the cathodic activity within the alloy.

Project Aim:

This project aims to develop a step change in corrosion resistance of magnesium alloys. Alloys will be produced by Luxfer MEL Technologies with the guidance on ideas and concepts from Swansea university. The aim of the modified alloys will be to investigate the effectiveness of oxide film modification and cathodic site poisoning, in isolation and in combination, on general and galvanic corrosion.

The studies will be accompanied with comprehensive in- and ex-situ electrochemical characterization by means of scanning electrochemical techniques in combination with potentiodynamic measurements, amongst others. Surface chemical and structural characterization will be carried using a world class suite of instrumentation including X-ray-photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), glancing angle X-ray diffraction (XRD), and field emission gun scanning electron microscopy (FEG-SEM), based in the laboratories of the Swansea University corrosion research group.

Predicted Outcomes:

Realistic goals:

  1. Understanding of the effect of various elements on oxide formation/cathodic poisoning in Mg alloys.
  2. Understanding of the mechanisms by which these changes occur.

Ambitious goals:

  1. Demonstrate improved performance of a material with regards to galvanic corrosion compared with base line materials.
  2. Develop an understanding that can be applied to a new industrial material.

The Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) in the College of Engineering is a Swansea University initiative which provides postgraduate research training in partnership with industry, providing access to world-class laboratories and a wealth of academic and industry expertise. The M2A is committed to providing top quality research opportunities within an inclusive environment, funded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Swansea University and Industry partners.

Interwoven through the research study are business, technical and entrepreneurial courses, designed to support and prepare participants for a senior role in industry or academia, on completion of their studies. Research Engineers may participate in our career mentoring system, offering opportunity to engage with M2A alumni and other senior staff from across the University.

The Athena SWAN charter recognises work undertaken by institutions to advance gender equality. The College of Engineering is an Athena SWAN bronze award holder and is committee to addressing unequal gender representation. Applications from women are particularly welcomed.

Eligibility

We welcome applications from candidates with a degree (minimum level 2:1) in Materials Science and Engineering and/or Chemistry but will accept other physical sciences disciplines (Engineering, Physics), or equivalent relevant experience that would enable the candidate to fulfil the role.

  • Previous experience using some of the techniques mentioned above is desirable.
  • A basic understanding of corrosion or how materials may degrade is desirable.
  • Strong communication skills, both verbal and written, and keen to publish research and present at conferences.

We would normally expect candidates to have met the University’s English Language requirements (e.g. IELTS 6.5 overall with 5.5+ in each component) by point of application. 

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is not open to ‘International’ candidates.


Funding Notes

The scholarship covers the full cost of UK tuition fees, plus a tax free stipend of £20,000 p.a. for a period of four years.

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