AccMet (Accelerated metallurgy – The accelerated discovery of alloy formulations using combinatorial principles) was a project aimed at fast development of new ternary and higher-level alloy compositions. It implemented a new synthesis method called Suspended Droplet Alloying. This automated, wire based version of direct laser fabrication could produce small samples of alloys with precise composition by mixing elemental wires, and it was 1000x faster than conventional methods. Suspended Droplet Alloying was used with combinatorial synthesis to focus on certain promising element combinations.
After synthesis, the samples produced underwent automated standardised tests to determine their properties. All the information was recorded in a Virtual Alloy Library, which was used alongside computer modelling to map the trends occurring in the alloys in order to predict properties of new alloy compositions.
The most promising alloy compositions were then implemented and further tested by 20 end users from a wide range of sectors, such as automotive (CRFI, ArcelorMittal), aerospace (AIRB, Norsk Titanium, AVIO, Rolls Royce) and energy (CCFE, BEAS). A successful scale-up was demonstrated for selected alloys. The project also lead to over 74 scientific publications, 23 external presentations over 26 documented exploitable results and 4 patents.
The result of the project was an Integrated Combinatorial Facility (ICF), which was integrated with the Virtual Alloy Library to allow fully automated alloy synthesis, planning new formulations to be synthesised, uploading of the complete sample history and archiving libraries of samples using a robot sample handling system.
Co-ordinated by the European Space Agency (ESA), 31 partners:
Rolls Royce Plc, Centro Ricerche Fiat Scpa Avio S.P.A ,Eads Deutschland Gmbh, Bruker Eas Gmbh United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, Ocas – Onderzoekscentrum Voor Aanwending Van Staal N.V. (Arcelor), Norsk Titanium Components As, Johnson Matthey Plc. Magnesium Elektron Limited, Aktsiaselts Silmet , Tls Technik Gmbh & Co. Spezialpulver Kg, Renishaw plc, Granta Design Ltd, Avantys Engineering Gmbh & Co. Kg, Stiftelsen Sintef , Flamac, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Zur Foerderung Der Angewandten Forschung E.V , Installation Europeenne De Rayonnement Synchrotron (ESRF), Institut Max Von Laue – Paul Langevin (ILL), Cardiff University, Universitaet Ulm, Universita Degli Studi Di Torino, Universite De Rouen, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (Riso), The University of Sheffield, The University of Cambridge, Akademia Gorniczo-Hutnicza Im. Stanislawa Staszica W Krakowie, The University of Birmingham
Income to University of Birmingham: €1,172,760
Total project budget: €21,952,868
|Research team members
Prof. Paul Bowen, Dr Moataz Attallah, Dr Nick Adkins, Dr Steve McCain, Bastian Hauptstein (Dept. Of Chemistry), Tian Li (Dept.of Mechanical Engineering), Shichao Liu