Metals and ceramics design and processing
Alloy forming technologies
Many existing forming technologies are relatively expensive due to the costs of capital equipment or the energy/time requirements of the process.
Our multidisciplinary research team is focused on developing cost effective processes to form existing alloys and also to develop new alloys with enhanced physical properties that are optimised for a specific forming process.
Once these processes have been developed, their outputs (alloy material or formed product) are examined and the processes tested at a range of scales to ensure industrial robustness.
Near-net shape forming of sheet and foil
Near-net shape forming is a cost-effective forming technique used to produce a sheet or foil product that requires minimal post processing. Our focus in this area is on rapid solidification of a melt directly to the desired form, a technique that can be used to enhance the strength and ductility of sheet and foils.
By applying our understanding of these technologies to new alloys, we have identified opportunities to enhance alloy properties above and beyond initial performance requirements.
This has also expanded the range of applications for existing alloys, in some cases creating opportunities for the alloy to be used in new industries.
One such example is an alloy system initially created for use in low-load (that is lower working temperatures) car engines. Once subjected to rapid solidification, the alloy displayed superior thermal stability performance at high working temperatures, expanding its applicability to include high-load engines used in the transport industry.
High-temperature metallic and metal-composite processing
It is difficult to produce products of consistent quality using high-temperature processing due to factors including:
- accurate control of the high temperatures involved
- difficulty in containing the molten state of the high-temperature metals
- oxidation and contamination within the material.
We offer industry significant experience in material preparation and process development for high-temperature processing. This experience, combined with a range of high-temperature facilities, enables us to work with high-temperature alloys and to produce products including foils at a range of dimensions.
Understanding solid state transformation
An understanding of phase transformations within metallic materials and how these behave during deformation is essential for improving the materials and the processes used to produce them.
Micro-focus x-ray, a technique that produces multiple-dimensional images of strain and stress distribution in and between the grains at micrometre scale, allows us to study in-situ the behaviour of grains during deformation including the influence of grain boundaries, twinning phenomena and the presence of secondary particles.
Through a fundamental understanding of the deformation mechanisms involved we are able to better predict the macroscopic forming behaviour and identify opportunities to improve the material and or process to achieve desired performance outcomes.