James MacDonald, PhD student in the Advanced Materials and Processing lab, School of Metallurgy and Materials and funded by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), has won the Best Poster Prize at the International Conference on Hot Isostatic Pressing Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, attended by over 170 guests from 21 countries.

James’ research focuses on the development of Powder Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIPping) Technology for High Temperature Nickel Superalloys. The poster James presented highlighted his work investigating powder HIPping of nickel based superalloys for high temperature applications for future military grade aero-engine casing components with increased temperature capability in excess of 700˚C. 

James explained: “The HIPping process involves consolidation of powder with the simultaneous application of temperature (below the melting point of the material, meaning solidification issues like elemental segregation can be avoided) and pressure. The aim is to optimise the HIPping process with nickel superalloys to allow high temperature components to be manufactured via netshape HIPping – a process that can produce large, complex designs to near netshape in a single processing step, allowing significant reductions in cost, lead time and environmental impact, whilst potentially yielding superior properties over traditional processing routes. 

“The demand for increased operating temperature capability, however, brings strict property requirements meaning that certain microstructural issues with HIPping of nickel superalloys e.g. the precipitation of phases at prior particle boundaries, thermally induced porosity and non-metallic inclusions (which can all lead to premature failure) require addressing. Research done has attempted to address these issues and optimise the HIPping process for nickel superalloys to enable the netshape capability of HIPping to be utilised for such high temperature components.” 

Commenting on the award, James adds: “I am honoured to receive the award for best student paper from the international HIP ’14 conference committee. I am working as part of the AMPlab on hot isostatic pressing of nickel superalloys and would like to acknowledge my supervisors Dr. Moataz Attallah, Dr. Raja Khan & Professor Mike Loretto for their invaluable support & guidance, making it possible for me to win this award.”