Funded EngD Scholarship: Creating Bright Scratch Resistant Tinplate Products

Swansea University - Engineering

Start date: October 2018

Sponsoring Company: Tata Steel Packaging

In packaging steel products, for example popular 5L beer kegs, the gloss and surface appearance of the tin coated steel is a key product differentiator. Surfaces can be matt or highly reflective like a mirror. At Tata Steel we continuously try to improve our steels and steel coating processes to achieve the best product appearance for our packaging customers. Surface appearance is extremely important; for example in China the gloss of European baby food cans makes consumers decide whether the product may be fake. On the other hand the damage tolerance of tin plated products is important in order to deliver a perfect glossy scratch free tin plate surface to the customer. This shows the importance and value of high quality packaging materials.

Project Aims:
Tin coating weight is varied to increase corrosion resistance and the visual appearance. However, the more tin is applied on the steel substrate the more scratch sensitive the tinplate product will become. In fact, every type of tinplate with corresponding roughness, has an optimum tin coating weight with respect to scratch sensitivity and surface appearance.

Challenge is to design a steel substrate roughness that is "forgiving" for a large range of tin coating weights.

The project aims:

  1. To determine and model the relationship between the process parameters: substrate roughness, tin coating weight and tin-iron alloy layer thickness on the final product properties: corrosion resistance, visual appearance and scratch resistivity.
  2. To validate the developed model by analysing production samples obtained with varying process settings from Tata Steel tinplate production lines.

Candidates should hold an Engineering or Physical Sciences degree with a minimum classification level of 2:1 or equivalent relevant experience. This project would be suitable for someone with a degree in chemistry, physics, or materials engineering.

Please visit our website for more information.

Additional Funding Information
The scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a tax free stipend of £20,000 p.a.

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