Fully funded PhD Studentship

University of Sheffield - Department of Mechanical Engineering

Title: Manufacturing process optimisation for high performance electrical steels for low emission advanced electric drivetrains in automotive applications PhD scholarship on developing advanced models for future energy and power generation technologies

A 4 year PhD studentship (EPSRC industrial CASE award, co-funded by Cogent Power a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Steel UK) which aims to optimise the manufacturing process for high silicon electrical steel hot rolled coils produced by a thick slab route.

Silicon (Si) is one of the main alloying elements in steels used to promote magnetic properties in electrical steels. The high Si content and the thin sheets with thicknesses as low as 0.1 mm, provide the highest magnetic quality final products. There are many unknowns about micromechanical properties of high Si content electrical steels. Several challenges are involved in the production of these steels grades as the presence of Si leads to a reduced formability that makes the material prone to unexpected brittle fracture at several stages during the production.

This project aims to develop a manufacturing methodology for Cogent Power to convert electrical steels with 3.2% Si content, produced by Tata Steel hot strip rolling mill at Port Talbot, into highest quality electrical steels with a thickness of about 0.1 millimetres.

Understanding the mechanical and metallurgical properties at different conditions is the first step to predict their deformation behaviour during a manufacturing process and develop required predictive models. Bespoke experimental setups will be designed to investigate and determine the deformation and damage mechanics/mechanisms involved in the hot and subsequent cold rolling operations of the selected material. Multi-scale mechanical tests will be performed to measure microstructural deformation during hot rolling process.

The hot rolling process will be experimentally simulated to get a better insight into micro-mechanism of deformation and microstructural evolution during hot rolling of 3.2% Si electrical steel. Thermo-mechanically coupled Finite Element models will be developed to predict formability and damage initiation/evolution in the selected material for different stage of manufacturing operations to be used in Tata’s Port Talbot site. The developed models will be validated using laboratory rolling experiments at Tata’s facilities within the UK and Europe.

Entry requirements:

Available to candidates with the equivalent of a first class or upper second class degree in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Technology (Metallurgy) Engineering. Skills in mechanics of materials (design and data analysis in mechanical testing), metallurgy of metallic materials, Finite Element analysis (preferably using ABAQUS package and programming with Fortran/C++) are desirable. Relevant research background in fracture/damage mechanics is favourable.

The student should be willing to actively engage with the experimental design and conducting experiments within the university’s laboratories and using Tata Steel facilities. They are expected to present the research outcomes for the industrial/academic audience regularly within the UK and Europe. They will occasionally travel to visit Tata Steel production sites in the UK and Europe. 

How to apply:

For further information and informal discussion please contact Dr H. Ghadbeigi: h.ghadbeigi@sheffield.ac.uk. To apply, please use our on-line PhD application form, including your CV and references indicating that you are replying to this advert. Short listed candidates will be interviewed at the final stage.

The student ship is open to UK/EU nationals (EPSRC eligibility criteria)

Includes 3 month placement at Tata Steel Port Talbot, Cogent Power (South Wales) and Surahammar in Sweden.

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