WMG is undertaking research aimed at addressing key issues for steel manufacturing, in association with our industry partners, Tata Steel. A key aspect of this will be the work of the new Advanced Steel Research Centre.
The focus of the activities will be on the physical-chemistry aspects, i.e. thermodynamic criteria and kinetics of reactions and precipitations including mass and heat transfer, properties of melt and how these impact processes. However, reactions and transformations occur on surfaces, interfaces and in bulk materials and are influenced by the structures at various scales. Therefore, a strong link will be established between the fields of Physical Chemistry of Metals Processing (Chemical Metallurgy) and Materials Characterisation (Physical Metallurgy).
The properties of steel are strongly influenced by its microstructure, therefore it is essential to understand, predict and monitor the development of microstructure during steel processing. Research into microstructure and thermo-mechanical processing is led by Professor Claire Davis.
The research group works on understanding the role of casting and reheating, when used, on microstructure development, with microalloying element segregation and grain growth being of particular interest. Consideration of the hot deformation processes, for example thermo-mechanical controlled rolling and forging, through the role of alloy content, strain and temperature on recrystallisation and grain size development, are major research activities. In alloy steels heat treatment and precipitation reactions after hot deformation are also important in controlling the final mechanical properties, with thermo-dynamic and kinetic models being used to predict precipitation.
A complementary activity within the research group is the development of non-contact, non-destructive evaluation techniques for steel microstructure characterisation. Electro-magnetic (EM) sensors can monitor changes in magnetic permeability and electrical resistivity, which are sensitive to changes in microstructure in ferro-magnetic materials. Researchers in the group are interested in understanding the relationships between EM sensor signals and steel microstructural parameters for a range of potential applications. This work is carried out in collaboration with researchers at the University of Manchester, developing new EM sensors, with the work having resulted in systems being installed in steel mills and being trialed for steel product characterisation.
The group also undertakes research into coatings for steel. Applications for steels can range from advanced functional coatings to industrial coatings, such as those used for galvanising and electroplating sheet steels or for lamination-coating electrical steels. Research in this area is led by Professor Barbara Shollock and has focussed on coatings such as aluminium, titanium and nickel alloys.
The research investigates the relationship between microstructure, processing and properties in alloys. Engineering steels and alloys operate in challenging conditions, often under extreme temperatures while under load. Research includes understanding not only how the surface of the alloy degrades, by processes such as oxidation, but also how these changes alter the underlying microstructure which can affect the overall steel performance. Current studies examine the behaviour of alloys in reducing and oxidizing environments as well as extending the observations to dwell fatigue and fretting. In order to understand the mechanisms of oxidation, including anion and cation fluxes, isotopic tracers and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) is used alongside electron microscopy techniques.
Key research findings have included elucidation of oxygen and hydrogen transport during oxidation of superalloys and zirconium, the role of rare earth elements in oxidation, and the development of novel methodologies combining electron and ion-based analysis techniques.
Current Research Projects
Current Steels Processing research projects include:
- Non-destructive evaluation of steel microstructures using electromagnetic sensors
- Product uniformity control
- The role of annealing conditions on crack depth of Zinc-coated Boron Steels
- Simulation of the rapid solidification rates seen in thin slab and strip casting of steel
- Phase transformation and precipitation of carbides in duplex and austenitic steels
More about Steels Processing Research Projects>>
A dot Davletsina dot 1 at warwick dot ac dot uk