IMPULSE - Advanced Industrial Manufacture of Next-Generation MARBN Steel for Cleaner Fossil Plant

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Metallurgy and Materials


IMPULSE will work with novel "MARBN" high temperature steel, recently developed in TSB project "IMPACT" and shown to
offer capability for an increase in steam power plant temperature of 25 K. IMPULSE, whose consortium includes most
IMPACT members together with new pipe, welding and innovative research partners, will take MARBN from the laboratory
on to full-scale industrial manufacture of ingot castings, pipework, and weldments. This will improve efficiency and reliability
of current and future steel-based steam power plant, and thus increase security of supply and reduce cost and carbon
emissions. MARBN 8-tonne ingot casting technology will be developed, and following high temperature (to 1250
degreesC+) testing and manufacturing simulation, two full-scale pipe extrusion trials will be undertaken, with product
validation by testing and electron metallography. Matching welding consumables will also be developed, qualified and
tested. Long term creep and creep-fatigue data generation will feed into performance validation, materials standardisation,
and pressure vessel design codes. Interaction with the KMM-VIN collaboration will enable constructive interchange with
parallel European projects.
The Birmingham team will characterise the grain structure and pinning particles in billet to be pierced and extruded into
pipe. A Gleeble thermo-mechanical simulator will compress samples representing this range of structures to varying strains
at temperatures and strain rates suitable for hot extrusion to determine the flow stress behaviour and resulting grain sizes
will be measured. Additionally, ring-shaped samples will be compressed (same temperatures and rates) between
instrumented tools to determine heat transfer and friction coefficients. These data will be used in an FE-based model to
simulate the extrusion process so that process parameters (temperature, strain and strain rate) to develop the correct
microstructure after welding and heat treatment can be determined.

Planned Impact

The proposed project will enable industrial partners, Doosan Babcock, Wyman-Gordon, Goodwin Steel Castings, Alstom
Power, Metrode Products and E.ON Technologies and their supply chains to gain market share on behalf of UK plc. in a
growing global energy market, where the need exists for larger and more efficient coal fired plant. In order to deliver
technology solutions, it is necessary to gain improved knowledge about materials' performance during processing and
subsequent service, together with new processing routes for component manufacture and consumable design for the
welding of large scale components. The project will also further develop collaborations between industry, research
organisations and academia - a vital mix for market success.
In the most general sense, the UK population and economy will benefit from this research programme in that it will enable
the UK combustion power generation sector to maintain a cost-competitive, environmentally-acceptable generation option.
It will also create and safeguard a significant number of UK jobs in the manufacturing sector.
The research will also contribute to meeting nationally and internationally agreed targets for CO2 emissions. For next
generation power plant with carbon capture and storage technologies (CCS), better materials performance is the key to
improved efficiency, and in turn to both cost and emissions savings. The use of MARBN has the potential to increase
operating temperature of plant by up to 25 degrees C. This 25 degrees C uprating will increase efficiency by approximately
1%, reducing costs by at least 2%, and could save 1M tonnes of carbon p.a. in the UK alone, even if CCS is not fitted.
Flexible, abated fossil plant will enable supply security as the process of decarbonisation progresses.
Results will be disseminated as appropriate to UK industrialists and academics through fora such as the Materials UK -
Energy Materials group, and the Advanced Power Generation Technology Forum; in Europe through the Materials for
Energy network within KMM-VIN; and worldwide via international conferences, workshops, and international
standardisation committees.
The elevated temperature property data and grain development behaviour determined at Birmingham, coupled with a
validated model for hot extrusion of spatially varying materials will enable more rapid and robust optimisation of pipe
forming parameters for MARBN. This will facilitate the industrial production of a range of pipework dimensions more readily
ensuring that these develop appropriate grain structures for subsequent processing and operation leading to more rapid
implementation of these components. Extension to other hot forming process industries and researchers will arise from
dissemination of the general approach of modelling hot deformation of materials with inhomogeneous grains structures.


10 25 50
Title High temperature flow stress data 
Description The high temperature flow stress data for cast, forged and heat treated MARBN has been determined and related to starting structure. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Comparison of data with other power generation steels is facilitating design processing schedules for this new grade by the commercial partners in this project. 
Title Segregation simulation 
Description The casting parameters and bulk composition of MARBN has been used to predict the spatial and composition scale of segregation resulting ing as-cast ingot. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The simulation has been used to devise homogenisation schedules to optimise subsequent processing operations by the commercial partners. 
Description InnovateUK Energy Catalyst Showcase networking event, Royal College of Surgeons, 25/01/17 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Manned stand for IMPULSE project at InnovateUK Energy Catalyst Showcase networking event, Royal College of Surgeons, 25/01/17. Several contacts made regarding use of MARBN in energy generation applications. Other links related to the characterisation and simulation activities involved in IMPULSE and initial contacts (3 -4) were made, which could lead to new collaborative projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017