Can we characterise a steels microstructure, in real-time during industrial processing non-destructively (i.e. without the need to section and use microscopy) and use this information within microstructural development models? This will be the objective for the successful PhD candidate.
Strip steel is widely used in the construction, automotive, packaging and energy sectors and is produced to a range of thicknesses and compositions. Strip steel is processed using casting, reheating, hot rolling and coiling. Some strip grades are further processed using cold rolling and annealing. Controlling the cooling on the run-out table after hot rolling is important to achieve the desired microstructure. Continuous cooling diagrams and models exist to predict the microstructural development, however, during industrial processing the cooling is complex with multiple separately controlled cooling sections on the run-out table followed by slow cooling on the coil. In addition, the starting austenite grain size, at the end of hot deformation, is variable. Therefore, the models need to be optimised for a given steel composition and rolling schedule. Electromagnetic (EM) sensors have been developed that can directly characterise the microstructure during transformation; these sensors can be positioned in the run-out table to provide data on the state of transformation to compare to the mill models. This project will focus on the transformation model for the Port Talbot hot strip mill, initially assessing the predictability for different grades and then optimising the model. Activities will include working with the wider research team who have developed models for the grain size development during rolling, to provide improved input parameters to the transformation model, and considering how the EM sensor data can be used for model development and potentially for feedback for improved control in the mill.
This is an exciting opportunity to work as part of our Advanced Steel Research Centre (ASRC) at WMG, University of Warwick, an internationally leading centre for steel research. You will join a group of over 40 people (academic staff, research fellows and doctoral students) working on steel research and develop skills in electromagnetic and thermal finite element modelling, using state-of-the-art thermo-mechanical simulation and microstructure characterisation tool and also have the opportunity to collaborate with the industrial sponsors of the project, Tata Steel. It is anticipated that the project will include significant placement opportunities in the hot strip mill at Port Talbot.
Essential and desirable criteria
We are actively seeking an enthusiastic individual to join the Advanced Steel Research Centre at WMG, the University of Warwick with the following entry requirements and expectations:
- 1st or 2.1 degree in a relevant science or engineering subject, such as materials, physics, mechanical engineering, or maths.
Funding of £17,668 plus industrial for 4 years.
Funding is available to eligible Home fee status and UK domicile EU students.
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