James Pepper

Position:
PhD Student

Research Area:
FAST-forge

I graduated from my BSc in Physics from the University of Bristol in 2016 where my final year project focused on Raman Spectroscopy of Thermal Barrier Coatings commonly utilised on turbine blades, carried out with the Interface Analysis Centre (IAC) at the university.

In 2018 I also obtained an MSc in Fusion Energy from the University of York. This led me to the Advanced Metallics Systems CDT at the University of Sheffield where I am carrying out a PhD sponsored by DSTL under the supervision of Prof. Martin Jackson.

Current Research

We know from other research that Field Assisted Sintering Technology (FAST) gives great results in terms of properties, but we are unsure of much that goes on in the 'black box' between the powder and solid stages. This is an especially difficult region to analyse experimentally as it takes place in a sealed vacuum chamber within opaque graphite tooling and moulds. In an attempt to overcome this issue, my PhD focuses on the use of Finite Element Modelling (FEM) modelling to try and provide an accurate simulated view of what is happening inside the sample and tooling during this sintering process. The results of these simulations will then be validated experimentally in an effort to create a robust model with a wide array of potential input variables. In creating this model I also hope to develop a greater understanding of the effects of current, sample geometry and the densification mechanisms themselves, which will allow for optimisations in prototyping and reduce the number of test runs required to design and fabricate new components in the future.