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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/Y024974/1
Title: Advanced Alloy Development by High Performance Processing
Principal Investigator: Jones, Dr T
Other Investigators:
Lin, Professor P
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Rautomead Limited
Department: Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Organisation: University of Dundee
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 March 2024 Ends: 28 February 2027 Value (£): 584,250
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Manufacturing Machine & Plant Materials Processing
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
25 Jul 2023 EPSRC Interview panel A - Prosperity Partnership early-stage collaborations Announced
28 Jun 2023 Prosperity Partnerships: Early Stage Collaborations Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The production of high-value, high-quality alloys is typically within the remit of intermediate weight class (1 - 100 ton alloy weight output) continuous casting (CC) rigs which process metals from liquid to solid by cooling. CC rigs are typically limited by the types of alloys they can output owing to a chemical incompatibility between the alloy and the ceramic materials comprising the rig, or the maximum operational temperatures. To produce a single rig type which can output a wide range of alloys is not possible for these reasons, however this project shall address this representing a first of a kind offering.

A partnership shall be formed between the University of Dundee (UoD) and Ruatomead Ltd, combining 40 years of metallurgy experience at RM and advanced computational models at the UoD and materials analysis to address the research challenge: how to identify the correct heat transport properties and material compatibility of a CC rig design. The following will be considered.

The alloys to be processed through the developmental rig are applied in a wide range of useful, high value industries, such as power, transport and marine. In making alloy manufacturing a more efficient process this will reduce energy requirements for the casting process and can output to greater volumes alloy within these high value manufacturing areas. Computer models will provide insight into design optimisations which can be used to improve the cooling efficiency of the rig by alterations to contact surface areas and modifications to boundary flow.

Alterations to the CC rig can give rise to new properties within a cast alloy owing to its solidification conditions, such as the formation of precipitate strengthening phases within Cu-Cr-Zr generated under high cooling rates produced within the proposed setup, which can produce increased tensile strength. This is of particular use in reducing the numbers of costly post-casting processing required to form useful properties in cast alloys.

The alloy systems for consideration are base around copper, nickel, cobalt, aluminium steel and a newly developed material with interesting high strength properties referred to as a multicomponent alloy (Cantor, Co-Cr-Fe-Ni-Mn). The investigation of these alloys here is driven by an industrial demand such as the application of Cu-Cr-Zr for its previously mentioned strength, conductivity and corrosion resistance, which is being utilised as overhead power cabling for electric trains and to replace the current inferior Cu-Mg alloy system, for net-zero goals. Or, oxygen-free Cu rod used for its high electrical purity and conductivity in the transmission of power between wind turbines, the transmission of data within electric vehicles, or within electric motors fabrication.

The partnership shall produce a developmental CC rig capable of outputting the wide range of alloys mentioned and with different forms closer to customer requirements, which historically were not cast-able from one machine type and required multiple post-casting processing. The the formation of alloy rod of diameters less than the industry standard (8 mm), is closer to customer requirements and desirable for reducing processing costs. Its application is also for use as additive manufacturing feedstock.

The developed CC rig shall provide to materials scientists a facility to test new alloy forms and for interested industrial bodies, a means to develop a CC process. The partnership shall also lead to the development of an advanced computational model which will be able to predict casting conditions, to identify new solidification behaviours and to reduce the numbers of costly casting trials required for alloy casting evaluation. It will contribute to the economic development of the Dundee area and pin Dundee as a centre for alloy processing innovation.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.dundee.ac.uk