Series production of Lightweight parts by Isostatic pressing of Metal powders to give Material and Energy Reduction (SLIMMER)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Mechanical Engineering


A novel, sequential, net-shape process will be developed to enable complex, light-weight components to be created with minimum waste capable of supporting a wide range of production volumes. Metal powders are encapsulated in a complex-geometry reusable rubber tool and isostatically pressed. The resulting compacts are fully densified using a novel hot isostatic pressing (HIP) method that enables the densification of multiple green compacts into full density. Key innovations include novel tooling method to produce partially consolidated complex compacts and novel processing route to simultaneously consolidate multiple components to full density.

Planned Impact

The proposed research is timely, especially with the increasing use of high-value materials and the need for resource
efficiency by reducing the amount of material waste. In addition, for instance in the case of transport structures, weight
reduction improves the fuel economy. Specifically, there are environmental, legal, and economic pressures on the
automotive manufacturers to produce high strength-to-weight ratio structures with high fuel efficiency, and to minimise the
amount of waste produced during advanced material processing.

In the UK, the metals processing sector is worth approximately £1.3 trillion. With the recent push for reviving the
manufacturing sector in the UK, research in advanced manufacturing will speed up this revival and will increase the
competitiveness of the UK manufacturing sector. This project is led by the one of Centres for High Value Manufacturing
(Catapult Centres), the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), where the University of Birmingham (UoB) is a founding
research partner. We are currently involved in a number of projects with the MTC that benefit junior researchers and
doctoral students to acquire new skills of relevance to the manufacturing sectors. As such, these projects act as training
opportunities for the future manufacturing engineers.

The EPSRC, TSB, Materials KTN, and other research centres have recently published a number of reports that call for a radical development in the manufacturing sector in the UK, by adopting more resource-efficient technologies. This project is
aimed at understanding and underpinning resource efficient powder production and the industrial use of alloys that lead to
resource-efficient operation.


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Description Although we apply isostatic pressure on the tooling, the pressure transmitted to the powder is not isostatic due to the difference in the tooling stiffness.
This explains the non uniform deformation and distortion found in densified components made by hot isostatic pressing. The tap density is not uniform and has a significant effect on powder densification and shape change. The optimum HIP cycle to successfully brantub 316l components has been obtained.
Exploitation Route The findings can help in the tooling design for complicated parts. It also indicated what is the right pressure, temperature and time that should be used to achieve the fully dense condition of a given material
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport

Description To design a tooling for nickel based superalloy aerospace engine casing. That casing used to be fabricated by machining as such the by to fly ration was over 20. Being made by hot isostatic pressing, the by to fly ratio is reduced to 1.2. This shall lead to environmental impact by reducing material waste and carbon foot print as well as economical impact by reducing the manufacturing cost of aerospace casings
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine
Impact Types Societal,Economic

Description EU-China RTD Cooperation UK
Amount € 455,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Commission 
Department Horizon 2020
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 04/2016 
End 03/2018
Title Finite Element Modelling of Hot Isostatic Pressing Process 
Description Finite element model for Hot Isostatic Pressing using different materials models which include Gurson Porous Plasticity, Clay material model and Vicous Drucker Prager material model. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The work has been used to design a tooling for IN718 aerospace engine casing 
Description Subcontracting Research Activity in EPSRC Funded Project 
Organisation University of Manchester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Develop finite element models for hot isostatic pressing of stainless steel powder. Find the optimum HIP cycle to get fully dense componet
Collaborator Contribution Provide powder, material properties and samples for charactrisation
Impact - A report shows the effect of HIP cycle on the densification of stainless steel powder - Journal papers will be produced from the obtained results
Start Year 2015
Description Invited Speaker in King Saud University, Saudi 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I gave one hour presentation about the work I have been doing about the numerical modelling of powder hot isostatic pressing and the impact of my work on the UK and EU aerospace industry. The talk was well attended by undergraduate, postgraduate, academic staff and policy makers in King Saud University. This followed by 30 minutes of open questions. A further collaboration was discussed and agreed after this talk
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
Description Invited speaker in "2nd Mexican Workshop on Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I gave 30 minutes presentation about the research I have been doing in the area of additive manufacturing and hot isostatic pressing. The workshop was well attended by research scientist, public audience as well as industry. The presentation was followed by 10 minutes of open questions. A FARO Laser Scanner Arm was bough as a result of this event
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015