I decided to undertake a PhD following my Masters primerily from a desire to continue the challenges and forfilment I felt through undergraduate projects, while also pushing myself to learn new techniques and create new knowledge.
As part of my studies I have been able to get familiar with a range of equipment within the School of Engineering including:
- Renishaw AM250 Laser Powder Bed Fusion machine
- DMG Mori Lasertec 40 Laser Milling centre
- Sensofar SMart 3D optical profilometer
Very quickly after beginning my PhD studies I joind the PGR Student Staff Panel as the High Value Manfacturing Representative, and subsiquently agreed to chair the pannel for the 2021/2022 session.
As part of my work I had to develop a strategy to effectively, and reliably measure the surfaces of AM components for roughness evaluation. This proved to be a very interesting task, with very little existing information available in literature.
Likewise, to develop a strategy to smooth the additively manufactured aluminium surfaces of interest, I was essentially starting from zero. While there is a good range of research available, the majority is focussed on Steel or Titanium alloys, with only a handful looking at Aluminium. Compounding this issue, of the available literature looking at laser post-processing Aluminium, only a couple used comparable laser technologies. The process of developing the strategy was very rewarding, during which I came up with further questions that demand their own research.
I have been fortunate tobe trusted with the following Teaching / demonstrating roles over the course of my PhD studies. It is always rewarding to help students understand and apply new techniques that can be so fundamental as we progress as engineers
- First Year Solidworks CAD teaching (EN1038)
- Second Year ANSYS FEA teaching (EN2604)
- Second year Laboritory Demonstrating (Heat Treatment of Steel)
I have also been able to assist with a number of 3rd year undergraduate projects around the themes of Additive Manufacture, Laser Polishing, and Surface Profilometry.
Evaluation of the interrelation between key process parameters and product/material properties in hybrid additive-subtractive process chains
My research is based around Additive Manufacture of Aluminium (how the manufacturing parameters influence the resulting parts) and Laser post-processing of those parts (how those parameters affect the part). I am workign to establish if there is a link between the desired manufacturing parameters, and post-processing parameters for a given output.
For example, to get the smoothest surface possible, do we want to optimize the manufacturing for the smoothest surface, or allow it to be a little rougher so the laser post-processing has more material to act upon?
The key techniques involved (and that I have been trained to carry out) include:
- Additive Manufacture of Aluminium parts
- Laser Polishing of AM Aluminium parts
- Thermal modelling of the Laser - part interactions
- Tensile Testing
- Hardness Testing
- Mettalographic evaluations
- Surface Roughness Measurements