Solid, near-net shape components can be made from metal powders. This approach offers reduced machining operations and associated costs. Consolidation, by sintering, is performed at well below the melting point of the metal powders and therefore offers the possibility of shaping materials with high melting points which would otherwise be difficult to manufacture. Liquid phases, either transient or permanent, can also be employed to aid the consolidation of such materials.
Research is currently looking atreducing sintering temperatures and developing corrosion resistance through alloy design, reactive sintering strategies and novel sintering strategies, characterisation and accurate machining in green state with a view to understanding how hard materials might be accurately machined.
Cellular materials and metal foams
Cellular materials and metallic foams have a wide range of novel properties, both functional and structural in nature, including lightweight and excellent energy absorption capabilities. Such materials can also be used as the foundation for the production of composites if the open porosity is filled with another material.
Research is currently looking at:
- the production of closed cell metal foams from aluminium powders
- development of a new, low cost method for manufacturing closed cell foams from molten aluminium
- the infiltration of open cell ceramic foams with molten aluminium to produce novel interpenetrating metal matrix composites
- the production of porous structures from biomaterials, for the production of medical devices
Nano, micro and meso porous structure
The research group also has experience in fabrication and scale up of metal organic frameworks, LDHs, COFs and ZIFs for a wide range of applications in the energy sector.