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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N022998/1
Principal Investigator: Morgan, Professor MN
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Allen's Crankshafts Ltd Finishing Techniques Ltd Glass Technology Services Ltd GTS
Manufacturing Technology Centre Vibraglaz Uk Ltd
Department: General Engineering Research Institute
Organisation: Liverpool John Moores University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 July 2016 Ends: 30 November 2019 Value (£): 329,978
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Manufacturing Machine & Plant
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
09 Feb 2016 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 9 and 10 February 2016 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form

Mass finishing [MF] describes the numerous range of processes used to modify and enhance the surfaces of engineered parts by immersion in a fluidized circulatory flow of loose abrasive media. There are many different types of MF operations in use including: vibratory, tumbling and centrifugal disk which are responsible for material removal and the range of finishing actions from surface cleaning to deburring, often imparting a smooth, lustrous finish. The MF process is particularly suitable for irregular shaped parts and/or large batch sizes and is gaining widespread acceptance as a critical operation for super-finishing components in the fields of aerospace, auto-sport, biomedical and space industry engineering.

However, the process has attracted only little research and as a result the potential of the process is far from being fully exploited and current design practices tend to be empirical, strongly reliant on user experience and expertise. The aim of this study is to improve: (i) understanding of particle kinematics, (ii) process performance and capability, and (iii) evolution of surface finish thus adding a scientific basis, presently lacking.

This proposed research will be the first to include study of the highly efficient Drag finishing regime wherein a part is 'dragged' through static media at high speed. A major feature of the work will be the discrete element modelling programme, the outcomes of which will have strong generic relevance to the wider areas of fluidized and bulk particle/ granular flows.

Given the absence of any major UK or European research effort in this field, a key aim will to be to establish, at LJMU, a unit of expertise in MF that will act as a knowledge warehouse and a conduit for dissemination of best practice and which and will seek to contribute to regional and national strategic planning aimed at promoting and sustaining economic growth in manufacturing industry.

The aims of this research are as follows:

to secure and deliver to industry the necessary scientific grounding required to advance and exploit the MF process

to gain new understanding of impact, wear and surface evolution phenomenon in MF processes

to develop a tribological based abrasion model for mass finishing

to found a 3-D DEM capability for simulation of vibratory-fluidized flows

to establish at LJMU a demonstrator facility directed at key application areas

To achieve these goals a world class partnership of experts are brought together coupling manufacturing knowledge with academic and technical expertise including the high value manufacturing catapult, the MTC, and the rapidly progressing joint initiative: MTC@LJMU. Funding support from EPSRC will help ensure that UK industry and academia lead the world in this rapidly developing and important technology. The planned outreach programme will strengthen this action of dissemination to, and engagement with, industry, and serve to coordinate the knowledge transfer.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.livjm.ac.uk