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NSIRC239 PhD Studentship (Sponsored by Lloyds Register Foundation): Development of WAAM process to achieve consistent bead geometry and microstructure with optimised feedstock chemistry

Project Description

Additive manufacturing (AM) is a suite of processes which “join materials to make parts from 3D model data, usually layer upon layer”. AM is causing disruptive changes in manufacturing applications across the world, the advantages and benefits of which are becoming well understood. As metallic applications increase in size, wire and arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) which uses arc welding equipment and industrial manipulators as the basis of an AM system is becoming of increasing interest. WAAM has theoretically unlimited build envelope, reasonable resolution, accuracy and deposition rates, as well as the ability to deposit a wide range of materials. However, research into this process is showing that although it may appear simple, the interconnectivity between inputs such as the part design, feedstock material, deposition process variables and thermal history can result in unusual microstructures and mechanical properties. Understanding and monitoring the effects of inputs and how they affect the final part is felt to be a significant step in acceptance of the design and manufacture of large scale parts by WAAM. This is one of three projects planned to work closely together to generate knowledge not only for their respective areas, but to the interconnectivity between them and their applicability to AM. The output of these projects will make a significant contribution to moving WAAM towards industrial acceptance.

Project Outline
As knowledge and experience of WAAM grows, it is becoming understood that the approach to building parts is not simply stacking weld on weld. The interactions between geometrical features within layers, the methodology of bead placement within a layer and how separate layers interact with each other have all been shown to have an effect on the output of the process. The thermal field generated affects the cross section of the newly deposited bead and the evolution of the microstructure within it. Similarly, the welding world’s approach of using a fixed set of process parameters has also been shown to result in a variable output in terms of geometry, regularity and unusual microstructural evolution. For these reasons, it is felt that the future of WAAM will be as a digital process where the part and its properties requirements are processed through an integrated modelling, simulation and computer aided engineering (CAE) package and the manufacturing process in terms of feedstock chemistry, deposition path and deposition parameters is generated to take account of all the complexities of the physical process.
This project will develop knowledge of deposition process parameters and develop methods to place a consistent bead cross section during manufacture of complex geometric features using WAAM. Additionally, during processing, the process parameter effects and thermal fields will be measured and used to provide input to the linked microstructure project, other modelling and simulation efforts and the linked monitoring and non-destructive testing project.

Two main tasks will be performed:
Activity 1 – Development of critical deposition parameters and control methods;
Activity 2 – Deposition using developed variable input deposition process, including special chemistry feedstock and on-line monitoring and testing methods;

About Industrial Sponsor
The Lloyd’s Register Foundation funds the advancement of engineering-related education and research and supports work that enhances the safety of life at sea, on land and in the air, because life matters. Lloyd’s Register Foundation is partly funded by the profits of their trading arm Lloyd’s Register Group Limited, a global engineering, technical and business services organisation.

About Coventry University
Our research in Materials Engineering and Structural Integrity builds on our historical research strengths at Coventry and adds new research teams through investment and growth. We are part of the newly established University Research Institute for Future Transport and Cities. We aim to be the research partner of choice for key industry sectors including manufacturing, aerospace, and energy. We bring value to our partners by adding value, effecting knowledge transfer, generating intellectual property and fostering new technologies. This is underpinned by our expertise in Metrology, Advanced Experimentation, Residual Stress Analysis, Structural Integrity, and proven models of effective collaboration with academic peers and industrial partners from all over the world.
Our expertise lies in the successful delivery of research into materials and structural integrity for enhanced product performance. Our key research themes include:
• advanced analytical, modelling, and experimentation methods
• materials, mechanics and measurement
• non-destructive evaluation, material anomaly detection using evolutionary computing techniques
• residual stress measurement and stress engineering
• structural integrity methods for new materials made by advanced manufacturing processes

Funding Notes

This project is funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation, TWI and Coventry University. The studentship will provide successful Home/EU students with a stipend of £16k/year and will cover the cost of tuition fees. Overseas applicants are welcome to apply, with total funding capped at £20k/year.

Candidates should have a relevant degree at 2.1 minimum, or an equivalent overseas degree in Material Science, Metallurgy, Mechanical, Electrical/Electronics or Civil/Structural Engineering or Physics. Candidates with experience in experimental research, numerical modelling and / or applied industrial research are particularly encouraged to apply. Overseas applicants should also submit IELTS results (minimum 7.0) if applicable.

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