EngD: Advancing tool material and cutting technology for near net shape manufacture of titanium alloy components - sponsored by Seco & Element Six

University of Sheffield - Seco Tools, Element Six & EPSRC

Partners: Seco Tools, Element Six & EPSRC
Start date: 3 September 2018
Duration: 4 years
Stipend: Tax free stipend of £18,000 per year, plus all tuition fees paid at UK/EU rates.
Applications deadline: 30 November 2017 

Please check eligibility requirements before applying.

Project Description

A significant amount of titanium alloys are currently used in the airframe and aeroengine components. The manufacturing route to process these alloys often requires conventional forging with a high buy-to-fly ratio thus requiring substantial amount of machining operations.

With the introduction of near net shape (NNS) manufacturing technologies (e.g. additive layer manufacturing, high precision casting, etc.) alternatives to conventional methods for manufacturing titanium materials have emerged and as a consequence, the implementation of cost-effective NNS technologies into the aerospace segment has become less formidable.

However the subsequent machining of NNS parts require the development of high performance tooling solutions and machining technologies with a clear focus on high speed finishing operations.

Superhard polycrystalline, diamond (PCD) and boron nitride (PCBN) tools have been successfully applied in automotive high speed machining applications (e.g aluminium, cast iron) delivering substantial increases in productivity and part quality over conventional cemented carbide tools.

In order to take advantage of the extreme durability of superhard cutting tools in the context of NNS machining of titanium alloys, critical issues of the cutting tool/workpiece chemical reaction, chip flow behaviour, excessive cutting temperatures in the zone of contact and their impact on surface integrity needs to be further investigated.

The research program will focus on the following activities:

  • Review of the state of the art in NNS machining of Ti alloys.

  • Establish a feature based machining approach to conduct machining trials on a selected titanium alloy

  • Conduct a detailed investigation of the degradation/wear mechanisms of diamond based/cubic boron nitride based tool materials

  • Investigate the impact of cutting tool material design, geometry and tooling system (fluid delivery) on the machining performance and surface integrity of NNS parts.

  • Demonstrate the capability of ultra-hard cutting tool/tooling system solution on a selected NNS component.

Entry requirements and eligibility
Due to EPSRC residency requirements, this project is open only to UK and EU applicants who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years immediately preceding the start of the course (see How to Apply section).

Applicants must have, or expect to get, a good Masters-level degree (e.g. 1st or 2.i MEng degree or MSc with Merit) or an exceptional BEng, in a relevant science or engineering subject such as applied mathematics, statistics, physics, electrical and electronic engineering, systems and control engineering, mechanical engineering, materials science and engineering, or computer science.

Candidates must also be able show that their English language proficiency is at a level which allows them to successfully complete the EngD. All applicants require an English language qualification, typically a GCSE or an IELTS test (a score of 7 or above is required, with a minimum of 6 in each component).

If in doubt about any aspect of Eligibility, please email idc-machining-science@sheffield.ac.uk for clarification.
Industrial Doctoral Centre | Sheffield | EPSRC IDC Machining Science | seco element six

How to Apply

For an informal discussion, in the first instance please contact the IDC Centre Team via idc-machining-science@sheffield.ac.uk.

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