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APESA Report Summary

Project ID: 643159
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - APESA (Advanced Pump Engineering for Severe Applications)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2017-05-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

APESA, Advanced Pump Engineering for Severe Applications, is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions European Industrial Doctorate programme in which five Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) are researching the effects and mitigation of aggressive environments on the operating life of industrial pumps. Project beneficiaries are Weir Minerals Netherlands (WMNL) and the University of Strathclyde (UofS), UK.

WMNL design and manufacture a range of pumps for the minerals processing sector that are used in bulk transportation of aggressive liquids and slurries. Degradation of the pump material arises from various chemical and mechanical mechanisms and processes that combine to different degrees across pumping applications. The main mechanisms are corrosion, erosion and fatigue. The combined damage from these can greatly decrease the working life of pumps and pump components. The objective of the APESA project is to develop; better quantitative understanding of the effect of damage mechanisms in field conditions and to investigate methods to improve performance through advanced design, material selection and manufacture.

Five APESA ESRs have been recruited from diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Marta Morgantini, an Aerospace Engineer from Italy joined from the Universitè de Bordeaux. Volodymyr Okorokov, an Engineering Researcher from Ukraine with a background in Computer Mechanics and Plasticity Theory. Francesco Rizutto, a Manufacturing Engineer from Italy, joined from GE Avio Aero. Blazej Polakiewicz, a Metallurgist from Poland, joined from Richemont International in Switzerland. Evripidis Tsergas, a Mechanical Engineer from Greece, joined with two years postgraduate experience in the engineering sector. The five researchers form a collaborative cohort to deliver the project objectives with the support of their supervisory team.

Individual ESR training programmes integrate academic research in materials science, structural integrity and fluid flow with business imperatives and industry focus, to equip the researchers with scientific, engineering, business and transferable skills matching public and private sector needs. Each project has its own focus, but they combine to deliver the end goals of better understanding, better design and commercial advantage.

As the Earth’s natural resources become scarcer, the challenging working environments addressed in APESA will become more common and potentially more extreme. The knowledge gained in this project will be transferable across a number of industries to improve the safe and effective working life of critical equipment operating in harsh environments.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Initially, the researchers were based at UofS. Each ESR has two academic supervisors at UofS and an industry supervisor at WMNL. All ESRs have made induction visits to WMNL to understand the scale and complexity of the applications of their research. WMNL staff also visited UofS to meet with researchers and give a range of industry and product related presentations. Each ESR has transitioned from the UofS academic base to be co-located in WMNL Venlo with their Industrial Supervisors across the period from July 17 to March 18. Regular teleconference meetings of ESRs and supervisory team ensure each project maintains a balance of academic requirements and industry relevance. There is significant interaction across individual projects and results from all are shared and analysed collectively.

Marta’s focus (Project 1) is on experimental investigation of the fatigue life of carbon steel material under different stress cycles. Research has included corrosion fatigue testing, microscopy and 3D surface measurement and has delivered new outcomes in terms of quantitative corrosion fatigue properties of carbon steel under a variety of different types of load cycle (mean and alternating stress) in the form of SN curves. Selected research outcomes have been disseminated in a paper accepted for the 7th Fatigue Design conference, France, November 2017.

Volodymyr’s focus (Project 2) is on experimental investigation of the effect of compressive stress on the fatigue life of low carbon steel in corrosive environments. A theoretical model has been developed and implemented for computational analysis. The research to date has led to the development and implementation of plasticity material models and initial development of a new fracture mechanics approach to the problem. Selected outcomes have been disseminated in Fatigue 2017 Conference proceedings, the 2nd International Conference on Structural Integrity, September 2017, Portugal and 7th International Conference on Fatigue Design, November 2017, France.

Francesco’s (Project 3) initial investigations of fluid flow showed that a one-dimensional Computational Fluid Dynamics models offer a good balance between accuracy and time/computing requirements for WMNL pump design applications. The research has subsequently focused on flow fundamentals and implementation of a computational solver to simulate shock wave propagation in the pump system. A three cylinder model has been implemented and a model of wave propagation is in development.

Blazej’s joined the project recently and is continuing the research program based around failure examination of out-of-service and new GEHO pump valves and consideration of candidate materials and coating for future study (Project 4) as started by a previous researcher.

Evripidis’ focus (Project 5) is on experimental investigation of systems providing protection from corrosion, design of an environmental test system and a programme of corrosion fatigue tests. Initial erosion and corrosion tests were conducted. A corrosion-fatigue test system incorporating cathodic protection was designed and tests performed for two stress levels at different salinity environments. Testing demonstrated that cathodic protection is significantly affected by flow conditions and can have a significant impact on corrosion fatigue life.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Marta’s new material data for corrosion fatigue properties of carbon steel under a variety of load forms have been presented in the form of fatigue stress-life curves commonly used in engineering design and the identification of significant features of the corrosion-fatigue mechanism.

Volodymyr has obtained and disseminated new cyclic stress-strain curves for low carbon steel. A new form of plasticity material model has been proposed and a rate-independent version experimentally verified. These research outcomes will have significant cyclic plasticity applications outside the present field of application. A new numerical/experimental extension of the fracture and fatigue theory of critical distances to corrosion fatigue has been proposed.

Francesco’s and Blazej’s projects are at a relatively early stage and have not yet progressed beyond the state of the art and benchmarking experiments but have significant potential.

Evripidis’ new experimental evidence of the beneficial effect of cathodic protection in mitigation of corrosion fatigue failure has been demonstrated and quantified for specific corrosion fatigue environments.
Combined these projects are changing the design environment for the WMNL Pump Engineers, delivering better understanding of the pump operation and failure criteria, delivering better analytical tools for design and ultimately leading to commercial advantage for WMNL and the pump user.

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