Simon Graham

Position:
EngD Student

Research Area:
Alloy Development

I graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2017 with an MChem after studying Chemistry for four years. My masters project was researching the effect of external pressure on the formation of polyurethane foams with Professor Tony Ryan. This, alongside work experience at Tekmar, a supplier of polyurethane offshore cable protection systems, gave me an interest in pursuing research in materials science.

I have since been working towards an EngD with the Advanced Metallic Systems Centre for Doctoral Training at the University of Sheffield.

Current Research

My research focusses on using novel extraction and processing technologies to reduce the cost of titanium components. This also includes developing new titanium alloys and composites, with particular interest in using iron as an alloying element.

 

1. Co-reducing synthetic rutile and iron oxide via the FFC process

The FFC process is an electrolytic extraction method allows for relatively simple conversion of a wide range of metal oxides into their base metals. It is flexible in terms of feedstock, allowing for use of mixed metal oxides to produce a wide range of alloys. For this work, synthetic rutile and iron oxide mixtures are reduced to produce a range of Ti-Fe alloys. The alloy powders are consolidated using Field Assisted Sintering Technology (FAST), an efficient and effective sintering technique, to then assess their mechanical properties.

 

2. Solid state alloying of blended elemental Ti and Fe powders using FAST

This work aims to use FAST to consolidate mixtures of Ti and Fe powders, producing homogeneous Ti-Fe alloys. Fe is a cheaper alloying addition than commonly used V and Mo and is also a stronger β phase stabiliser. Fe is not heavily used in Ti alloys however, due to formation of intermetallic phases and poor segregation during conventional melting. Solid state alloying via FAST can prevent these issues, with Fe able to fully diffuse into the Ti matrix.

 

3. Ti-TiB metal matrix composite (MMC) produced using FAST

Using FAST to create a MMC from Ti and TiB2 powders. During sintering, the reaction between Ti and TiB2 occurs to form needle shaped TiB, which improves the strength of the material. These composite materials could be used in applications where a high stiffness is required, whilst keeping the low weight and corrosion resistance of Ti.