Innovative surface treatment and coatings for thermal power plant components

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering


The UK was the first major economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050. This ambitious target towards zero net emissions, or "carbon neutrality", will be pursued in this 30 years timespan through promoting reforestation, carbon capture and storage, but also by transitioning to renewable energy while enhancing current power plants efficiency.

The transition towards renewable energy leads an overall lower demand to existing power plants, but at the same time this demand is concentrated within shorter and intermitted time frames, due to the intermittent nature of for instance solar and wind energy supply. Therefore, power plants which were designed to operate continuously are being demanded increased flexibility in intermittent operation, posing some parts to unexpectedly frequent thermal cycling leading to parts failure.

The goal of this PhD project is to improve the performance and life span of components used in power plants by means of surface treatment and coatings to understand the failure mechanisms induced by thermal cycling, corrosion and wear. This project will focus on developing and testing a range of suitable surface treatments by advanced coating deposition through a novel suspension plasma spray for high temperature components including valves, heat exchangers and boiler parts.

The project will involve the commissioning of testing rigs, requiring design, assembling and computer controlling of the necessary components. The test rig will allow us to understand coating performance under real service operating conditions as informed by BF2RA industrial partners. Material characterisation will include advanced techniques as high-resolution scanning and transmission electron microscopy and Raman spectroscopy.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S022996/1 30/09/2019 30/03/2028
2449875 Studentship EP/S022996/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Irim Fiaz