Current bulk materials processing methods are nearing their limit in terms of ability to produce innovative materials with compositional and structural consistency.
The aim of this ambitious project is to remove barriers to materials development, by researching novel methods for the processing of engineering materials, using advanced non-equilibrium plasma systems, to achieve a paradigm shift in the field of materials synthesis. These new processes have the potential to overcome the constraints of existing methods and also be environmentally friendly and produce novel materials with enhanced properties (mechanical, chemical and physical).
The research will utilise plasmas in ways not used before (in bulk materials synthesis rather than thin film formation) and it will investigate different types of plasmas (vacuum, atmospheric and electrolytic), to ensure optimisation of the processing routes across the whole range of material types (including metals, ceramics and composites).
The materials synthesised will have benefits for products across key applications sectors, including energy, healthcare and aerospace. The processes will avoid harmful chemicals and will make optimum use of scarce material resources.
This interdisciplinary project (involving engineers, physicists, chemists and modellers) has fundamental “blue skies” and transformative aspects. It is also high-risk due to the aim to produce “bulk” materials at adequate rates and with consistent uniform structures, compositions and phases (and therefore properties) throughout the material. There are many challenges to overcome, relating to the study of the plasma systems and materials produced; these aspects will be pursued using empirical and modelling approaches. The research will pursue new lines of enquiry using an unconventional synthesis approach whilst operating at the interface with more established discipline areas of plasma physics, materials chemistry, process diagnostics, modelling and control.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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