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PhD in Novel Zirconium Refined Magnesium Alloys

   Department of Materials

  ,  Thursday, July 01, 2021  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The CDT in Advanced Metallics is a partnership between the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester and the I-Form Advanced Manufacturing Centre, Dublin. CDT students undertake the CDT training programme at all three locations throughout the 4-year programme.

Magnesium is the lightest structural metal. It is both recyclable and easily fabricated using standard metal production techniques. As such, magnesium alloys are highly attractive for lightweight applications in transport and other sectors. Magnesium has some unique characteristics compared to the more widely used engineering alloys such as steel or aluminium. In particular, grain refinement is critical to obtain the best performance in magnesium alloys. The most powerful grain refining effect is achieved by small additions of zirconium (Zr) but this can place limits on the other alloying additions used, since they may not be compatible with Zr.

To design improved magnesium alloys, it is necessary to better understand the interaction of Zr with candidate alloying additions. This project will use both modelling and experiment to predict the effect of joint additions of Zr and other potentially useful alloying additions in Mg-Zr-X systems (where X is a transition metal addition). In particular, a better understanding is needed of the interactions with Zr for elements that have potential to improve the corrosion performance.

The project will involve both computational modelling and experimental investigation of trial alloys. Modelling will be used to predict what phases are likely to form for given alloy compositions and identify compositions of interest. The most promising compositions will be produced and studied experimentally. Corrosion performance and microstructure will be evaluated, with the link between performance and microstructural features determined. Experimental methods will include electron microscopy to characterize microstructure, mechanical testing, and scanning kelvin probe to help understand corrosion performance.

The partner company, Luxfer MEL technologies is a UK based developer and producer of high-performance magnesium, credited with inventing more new alloys than any other company. The project will involve close collaboration with Luxfer MEL technologies researchers, based at their technology centre in Manchester. This will include the opportunity for secondment to Luxfer MEL to gain experience of undertaking research in an industrial setting.

For more information please contact Professor Joe Robson ).

Funding Notes

Funding would cover fees for the duration of the programme and UKRI stipend (£15,609 in 2021-22) plus £3,250 per year.
Candidates should have or be expected to achieve a strong degree (2.1 or higher) in a STEM discipline.

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