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Large-scale additive manufacture using wire and arc technology aimed at high wear components in the mining sector PhD


   School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing (SATM)

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  Prof S Williams  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

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About the Project

This is a fully funded PhD opportunity sponsored by the Weir Group. The opportunity is in the field of large-scale additive manufacture using wire and arc technology and it will be focused on the development of materials and processes for high wear components in the mining sector.

This is a fully funded PhD study opportunity in large-scale additive manufacture. The project will be based in the Welding Engineering and Laser Processing Centre at Cranfield University and supported by Weir Group. The project will start in February 2022 and will be a duration of 3 years. All fees are paid and a bursary of £21k per annum will be provided.

This project addresses the urgent need for new materials which offer radically improved performance for the manufacture of critical components for slurry pumps. These pumps are used extensively in coal and mineral mining and processing and are subject to impact, wear, and corrosion. Current materials, typically white cast iron, are only able to provide some of the properties required in this extremely demanding environment, thus limiting the service life of parts, and increasing the risk of premature failure. In this project, novel solutions, based on combining and/or developing material formulations with impact, wear and corrosion resistance tailored to the specific service conditions and applied using WAAM (Wire and Arc Additive Manufacture) as the manufacturing approach will be investigated.

The WAAM process offers many advantages as compared to traditional manufacturing routes such as machining, casting, and forging. Some of these include shorter lead times, design flexibility and lower capital barriers to entry. However, due to the layer-by-layer nature of the process and the large thermal fields of the heat source used, metallic alloys will be exposed to multiple remelting and reheating cycles. This can create a complex combination of phases and microstructural features than can lead to defects such as porosities and cracking, or to undesirable anisotropic mechanical properties. Hence, the main scope of this project will be to understand the metallurgy of the alloys being deposited by WAAM and to develop hard wearing material formulations suitable for the WAAM process. Key process fundamentals will be identified/optimised so that a deposit with the desired mechanical and wear performance can be produced.

This position will be based at Cranfield University UK, within the Welding Engineering and Laser Processing Centre. The Centre is recognised for the impact of its research into advanced fusion methods on industry, through sponsored master’s and PhD research, and its rolling technology development programme on large-scale additive manufacturing. The WAAM programme aims to make the UK the leading technology provider in terms of transforming practice and creating a commercial option. This role will be sponsored by the Weir Group with opportunities for national and international travel. Weir locations in the UK are in Glasgow and Todmorden.

Weir Group's Purpose is to enable the sustainable and efficient delivery of the natural resources essential to create a better future for the world. One of Weir Group’s strategic priorities is to drive the development of new technologies and capabilities that will lead the market and help mining transform. Founded in Glasgow by brothers James and George Weir in 1871, over 150 years Weir has evolved into a focused, high quality mining technology business, providing mission-critical solutions for smarter, more efficient, and sustainable mining to a global customer base. Weir’s purpose is to “enable the sustainable and efficient delivery of the natural resources essential to create a better future for the world”. Weir’s innovative engineering provides solutions to critical challenges within the mining supply chain. It is the only provider of market-leading solutions from pit to processing. Its differentiated technology is used in highly abrasive from extraction to concentration and tailings management. Robust demand is expected for minerals essential for electricity transmission and storage, for electric vehicles, and for renewable energy plants. Metals such as copper, steel, lithium, and nickel are all vital to this transition to a clean energy economy. Meanwhile demand for raw materials such as iron ore, to support economic growth and infrastructure investment, is also expected to grow. As the mining industry seeks to meet this demand, the way these essential resources are produced needs to change, requiring a technology transformation in the industry to help it reduce its own emissions and operate more sustainably.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline as well as a masters degree. This project would suit a candidate with a strong background on materials science and materials characterization techniques. Previous experience with additive manufacturing processes is also desirable. The candidate should be proactive and have a hands-on attitude towards the experimental work.


Funding Notes

This is a funded PhD studentship. Students of any Fee Status (UK/EU & RoW) are eligible for the project which is funded by The Weir Group.
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