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Methods for Smart Sustainable Electrochemical Drilling

Project Description


The development of novel materials for the aerospace, and oil and gas industries requires the development of advanced and efficient manufacturing processes such as Electrochemical Machining (ECM). ECM is a non-conventional process which is able to machine specialised materials such as titanium, nickel, chrome, etc. with high precision and without the generation of a detrimental heat affected zone in the machined material. Despite its multiple advantages, currently, the use of ECM in industry is limited due to its associated drawbacks, e.g. high energy consumption and use of acid based electrolytes.

In the School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and under the framework of “Sustainability via Efficient Systems”, we aim to develop an ECM system which uses a sustainable electrolyte (non-acidic) for the high precision drilling of titanium alloys (in particular drilling of cooling holes in turbine blades). The definition of the machining parameters is planned to be done via Multiphysics simulation and machine learning algorithms. Non-traditional tool designs, such as vibrating tools, will be also explored. It is anticipated that this approach will improve the accuracy and energy efficiency of the new ECM process.

The main goal is to develop a smart, efficient, and sustainable ECM system which leverages, in a novel way, sustainable manufacturing processes and machine learning technologies. In reflection to the current and future trends in the aerospace and, oil and gas industries in Scotland and in the rest of the UK, the new approach aims to achieve high adaptability to these industries via its increased accuracy and high energy efficiency.

Funding Notes

The successful candidate will have a BEng(Hons) or MEng in Chemical/Mechanical/Manufacturing Engineering 2.i or better. Knowledge of computational tools (CAD, FEA, COMSOL) is essential.

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