MAST: Modelling of advanced materials for simulation of transformative manufacturing processes

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Wolfson Sch of Mech, Elec & Manufac Eng


A transition to the next step in high-value manufacturing in the 21st century requires the development of innovative processes to (i) reduce cycle times and costs so that productivity and higher profitability are maximised, and (ii) enhance performance and quality whilst reducing environmental impact. To achieve this, the required development and intensification of modern manufacturing necessitates a broader use of higher temperatures, forces, deformations and loading rates. In practice, the development and application of modelling and simulation tools are the only practical way in which these challenges will be met, particularly for new transformative manufacturing processes. Traditionally, processes such as rolling and forging have been the mainstay of emerging economies, e.g. in India, China. These processes, with low deformation rates are well understood. The proposed research relates to processes at the other end of the deformation-rate spectrum characterised by exceptionally high magnitudes - which are innovative, potentially transformative and much less well understood. Material-removing processes such as ultrasonically-assisted machining and solid-state joining processes such as linear friction welding as well as novel finishing process are in this class; these will be emphasised in the present project. In this loading regime, one faces significant challenges. First, since processing is very fast it is difficult or impossible to interrupt for diagnostic purposes; this fact emphasises the importance of mathematical modelling for the analysis of the physical factors determining best practice and optimisation of it. Second, experimental validation - which is a vital part of the mathematical modelling exercise - must proceed by techniques such as high-speed photography/videography. Third, accurate modelling requires the constitutive behaviour of the material to be well understood at deformation rates representative of the process. This is not yet the case for novel, high grade alloy systems such as nickel-based superalloys, titanium and magnesium alloys, so that novel research of the type proposed - using an augmented split Hopkinson pressure bar technique, for example - is required. Finally, temperature gradients in the high strain-rate regime are significant; these cause large thermal stresses and therefore the possibility of cracking, fissuring etc. It is a significant challenge to model these accurately but this must be done if realistic manufacturing simulations are to be produced.
The proposed research addresses specific challenges of process simulations for transformative manufacture with advanced materials with industrially-relevant case studies and applications. In order to manage the project effectively, the programme of work is split into seven work packages, covering modelling of (i) materials behaviour; (ii) modelling of continuum behaviour and process zone; (iii) materials characterisation; (iv) process characterisation & manufacturing parameters; (v) optimisation studies; (vi) analysis of industrial feedback and (vii) management and dissemination.

Planned Impact

The proposed research will make state-of-the-art advances in the field of modelling and simulation which is now one of the key factors in driving productivity, product and process improvement in manufacturing.
The impact plan will be realised with the help of a thoroughly thought-through program of actions. This plan will be managed by the project's PI and Project Manager together with our industrial partners at Thompson Friction Welding, the MTC and Goindi group, who will form the Collaborative Partner Organisation (CPO). The main elements of the plan are:
1. Public Events:
(i) A series of public lectures will be organised at the second half of the project to disseminate knowledge both at India and in the UK;
(ii) Organise an International Symposium 'Modelling of advanced materials and simulation of transformative manufacturing processes' in Delhi. We will prepare comprehensive documentation of the computational tools and experimental techniques used;
(iii) maintain a project website to disseminate results
2. Academic Communications: The project outcomes will be presented at leading international conferences and published in high-impact-factor scientific journals.
3. Industrial Impact: CPO will disseminate new technology to wider industry
4. Policy: The research will enhance and improve Indo-UK relations
5. Skills & Training:
(i) The project will train 6 (PD)RA and 9 PhD students to acquire advanced theoretical, numerical and/or experimental skills necessary to study, optimise and apply advanced hybrid machining techniques.
(ii) Other PhD students and researchers (more than 200) from all academic partner institutes will benefit from the knowledge gained and shared.
(iii) Several MSc and Final Year projects will be suggested to support the proposed research

The international dimension of these activities will be underpinned by an extensive exchange programme. During the reciprocal visits, Indian and British researchers will organise a broad range of events, involving various groups of people - from undergraduate students (through lectures within the advanced courses for future engineers) to R & D staff of companies (including those outside direct collaboration) to academics at universities and research institutions (through a series of lectures and seminars). A special plan of such events will be developed and placed at the project web-site.


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Description The project provided significant new knowledge in understanding of materials' mechanical behaviour and response to extreme conditions observed in modern transformative technological processes, namely, high strains, high strain rates, high temperature as well as their spatial and temporal gradients. Most materials experience much harsher environments in manufacture than any loading and environmental conditions in-service. This understanding allowed optimization of modern processes, preparing their introduction into industries.
Exploitation Route The obtained results are important for bot academic and non-academic sectors. Academics will benefit from this new understanding of mechanics of materials and processes as well as numerical simulation algorithms and tools developed to model them. There are potential benefits for multiple industrial applications, especially in high-end components and structures used in aerospace and energy systems. This research is now continued both at the fundamental level and translating it to different industries.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Energy

Description H2 Manufacturing
Amount £977,368 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P027555/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2017 
End 11/2020
Description Manufacture with Pulsed-Electric Mechano-Vibratory Machining
Amount £250,463 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/T005041/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2019 
End 09/2021