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PhD Opportunity Title Additive manufacturing of ultrafine-grained magnesium alloys with weak texture using selective laser melting


   Department of Materials Science and Engineering

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  Dr Dikai Guan  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Due to the strong explosiveness, high saturated vapour pressure, and low boiling point of magnesium powder, compared with other alloy systems, the research progress of magnesium alloy additive manufacturing is widely restricted. Nevertheless, selective laser melting (SLM) or laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) has been used to produce pure magnesium and its alloys. In these published papers, mechanical properties, corrosion rate and porosity are related to SLM processing parameters [2-5]. However, tailoring the texture and grain size/shape has not been intensively explored in AM Mg alloys, which is essential to develop high toughness Mg alloys with potential high corrosion resistance. For example, a fully equiaxed fine-grained Ti-Cu alloy produced by AM displayed high yield strength and uniform elongation [6].

This project aims to develop high-performance Mg alloy blocks produced

by the state-of-the-art SLM equipment in the Henry Royce Institute at TUoS

(https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/royce-institute). Four specific objectives are:

(1) Employ SLM to develop different series of samples using various processing parameters

(2) Evaluate the samples using micro-hardness, tensile test and immersion corrosion test as well as microstructure characterisation. Micro XCT will be used to investigate the porosity of the SLMed samples

(3) Correlate the cooling rate, grain size distribution, texture evolution with different processing parameters, and develop a model to optimise the process window.

(4) Based on the results, optimise the SLM processing parameters and develop high relative density Mg alloy samples (e.g., >99%) with ultrafine grains and weak texture. If necessary, HIP could be used to further densify the SLMed samples.

The outcome of this project will largely expand the applications of light Mg alloys with high toughness and corrosion resistance into industrial sectors where lightweight components are required, leading to increased fuel economy and reduced carbon emissions. In addition, Mg alloys produced by additive manufacturing can be used as biomaterials (e.g., implants) with complex geometries, significantly reducing the manufacturing time and cost for implants as multiple steps of conventional machining may be removed.

The primary supervisor is Dr Dikai Guan, a leading early-career researcher of Mg alloys in the UK and a current holder of the prestigious UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship. See his personal page for more information: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/materials/people/academic-staff/dikai-guan

The secondary supervisor is Prof Iain Todd, a world-leading scientist in additive manufacturing leading multiple large research grants (MAPP, Materials Made Smarter Research Centre, etc.). See his personal page for more information:

https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/materials/people/academic-staff/iain-todd

Besides standard PhD training, this project will provide training experience including 1) solid training in light alloy metallurgy, advanced electron microscope characterisation and microstructure analysis at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering; 2) close guidance from a group of additive manufacturing at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering; 3) part of the Advanced Metal Processing team and access to Henry Royce Institute at TUoS; 4) collaboration opportunities with our industry partners and academic collaborators.

We are looking to recruit a graduate with a first or high 2.1 class honours degrees with a background in materials science, mechanical engineering, or a related discipline. Knowledge and experience in additive manufacturing, light alloys processing are particularly beneficial.


Funding Notes

This studentship will pay home tuition fees in full and a stipend for living expenses for 3.5 years at the RCUK rate. Overseas students are welcome to apply for this studentship, but need to find other funding sources to pay the tuition difference between home and overseas students tuition fees (around £20,450 per year).

References

[1] M. Esmaily, et.al., Fundamentals and advances in magnesium alloy corrosion Prog. Mat. Sci., 89 (2017), 92-193
[2] M. Esmaily, et.al, A detailed microstructural and corrosion analysis of magnesium alloy WE43 manufactured by selective laser melting, Additive Manufacturing, 35 (2020), 101321
[3] Q. Deng, et. al., Microstructure evolution and mechanical properties of a high-strength Mg-10Gd-3Y–1Zn-0.4Zr alloy fabricated by laser powder bed fusion, Additive Manufacturing, 49 (2022), 102517
[4] S. Liu, et.al., Influence of hot isostatic pressing (HIP) on mechanical properties of magnesium alloy produced by selective laser melting (SLM) Mater. Lett., 265 (2020), 127463
[5] H. Hyer, et.al., Additive manufacturing of dense WE43 Mg alloy by laser powder bed fusion
Additive Manufacturing 33 (2020), 101123
[6] D. Zhang, et.al., Additive manufacturing of ultrafine-grained high-strength titanium alloys, Nature 576(2019) 91-95.
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