Free form welding-based additive manufacturing of nickel-based components for oil and gas service (Sponsor: BP; FULLY FUNDED)
This PhD is part of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in "Materials for Demanding Environments" [CDT in M4DE], is sponsored by BP plc through the BP International Centre for Advanced Materials (BP-ICAM) and will commence October 2017.
Additive manufacturing (AM) is a growing area of research for a number of industries. However, the oil and gas manufacturing sector has been performing additive manufacturing since the 1960s with the advent of weld overlaying and cladding techniques. Wire and arc AM (shape welding) approaches are demonstrably one of the most cost-effective techniques for free form fabrication of high surface area to volume components. Cold Metal Transfer (CMT), an advanced Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) process, has been identified as being one of the more recent promising techniques for cladding of corrosion-resistant overlays for both the nuclear and oil & gas sectors. This is because of the very low heat inputs which reduces dissolution of cladding material into the parent and decreases residual stresses significantly.
This project is aimed at identifying applications and developing demonstrator cases in the petrochemical value chain which could benefit from rapid manufacturing/repair via wire and arc based techniques. Employing a recently commissioned high speed, 6-axis robotic twin-wire CMT system, the primary focus will be on determining processing parameters for high value alloys. This will specifically cover comparative metallurgy, computational modelling and testing; relating processing inputs to mechanical performance. This project will both allow appreciable cost savings to employ this process for both manufacture and repair as well as develop fundamental processing information for cutting-edge cladding applications.
The research project is part of the prestigious BP International Centre for Advanced Materials (BP-ICAM) which is a multidisciplinary research consortium with the hub at the University of Manchester, and spokes at the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign [http://www.icam-online.org/]
Funding covers tuition fees and annual maintenance payments of £17,000. Students with a first class/2.1 degree (or equivalent) in Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Metallurgy, Physics or another aligned engineering subject are encouraged to apply. Applications will be reviewed as they are received until a candidate is selected; therefore candidates are encouraged to apply early.