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Steels processing

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High temperature reactions

In-situ observation, detailed characterisation and advanced modelling of high temperature reactions during steel processing is essential to understand the underlying mechanisms. We use a range of modern techniques to characterise and quantify high temperature reactions, including high temperature confocal laser scanning microscopy, controlled atmosphere furnaces (operating under various flammable gases), O18 for oxidation tracking, droplet levitation furnace, high temperature viscometer, mass spectrometer and micro XCT. We use the latest modelling tools (e.g. thermodynamic, phase field modelling) to simulate high temperature reactions and steel manufacturing processes.

Casting and thermo mechanical processing

The ability to produce bespoke steel compositions and process them to strip, as well as investigate solidification and hot deformation phenomenon is a key strength in the ASRC. The research includes examination of the effect of composition and cooling rate on microstructural development during solidification using instrumented moulds and hot deformation simulation with controlled temperature, strain and strain rate. This aids the development of both new casting methods such as twin roll or belt casting, as well as the development of new (or improvement of) alloys.

Forming and joining

Warm or cold forming as well as joining are essential processes in the production of final component parts. We focus on examination of the role of the materials on processeability; for example local strain partitioning in dual phase steels using in-situ deformation in an SEM or formation of intermetallics in dissimilar weld joints using microscopy and tomography for 3D characterisation

Coatings and surface engineering

To ensure durability of engineered components coatings and surface modification are routinely applied. We work on development of new coatings and their inherent properties as well as understanding how both uncoated and coated materials perform in service, for example examining local corrosion behaviour and tribological behaviour.

Product and process characterisation

Characterisation is essential to develop understanding of behaviour and provide valuable data for modelling approaches. Our extensive characterisation facilities allows measurement of process parameters such as viscosity and phase stability, whilst microscopy can provide texture information at high temperature, compositional mapping, high resolution imaging and localised hardness tests. Modelling is carried out using in-house developed code or commercial software packages.

EM sensors

It is desirable to be able to characterise steel microstructures in a non-destructive manner, particularly in-situ during steel processing. Electromagnetic (EM) sensors are sensitive to differences in magnetic and electrical properties of steel, which are primarily in turn controlled by the microstructure. Our research provides an insight into the fundamental relationship between EM signals and microstructure using laboratory sensor systems, commercial sensor systems and advanced magnetic domain imaging techniques as well as modelling the behaviour at different scales.

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