Programme 2019/2020

Details of the new programme of talks are shown below.

All talks, unless otherwise stated, will be in the lecture theatre GC13 and will begin with a buffet at 6pm followed by the talk which begins at 6:30pm. Presentations are normally about 45 minutes long followed by a short question and answer question.

Thursday 10/10/2019

Presidential Address “ Research in the School of Metallurgy and Materials. Alison Davenport – Professor of Corrosion Science and Head of School of Metallurgy and materials.

We will be using the main lecture theatre in the School, GC13, and refreshments will be available in the foyer from 5:30pm

The AGM will begin at 6:00 pm followed by the talk at 6:30 pm.

The talk will focus on key areas of research in the School, including advanced manufacturing of turbine blades at the High Temperature Research Centre, which is joint with Rolls-Royce, the development of battery technologies, and a major focus on recycling of both lithium batteries and rare earth magnets.  These activities are underpinned by advanced characterisation both through our partnership with Diamond Light Source and in the School’s Centre for Electron Microscopy, and advanced modelling and simulation. 

Thursday 24/10/2019

Oh, thats not good!” – How two airports were brought to a standstill by metal misbehaviour. Bob Vickery- Senior Investigator of Air Accidents- Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).

An illustration of the work of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) as shown by two accidents where metallurgy is the major causal factor.  In the first case, by a seemingly insignificant event in the history of a component made from 4340M steel which led to its eventual catastrophic failure.  It shows how a metallic structure can be adversely affected by the smallest deviation or error in a manufacturing or overhaul process.   The second case, where a small quantity of a highly reactive metal was caused to release its latent energy over a very short period of time leading to the near loss of a 180 ton airliner.  In both cases the immediate aftermath of the accident brought two major UK airports to a standstill. 

Thursday 07/11/2019

“Munition shell composition development in World War 1” Sue Parker – Cleveland Institute of Engineers.

The talk starts with some background to WW1 to place it in context, with an explanation of trench warfare, and the stalemate that was the Western Front. The rules governing the composition of shells had, it seems, been drawn up quite arbitrarily, and used a restrictive acid steelmaking practice with strict Sulphur and Phosphorous levels. Only 6 suppliers were accredited to make shell steels, and the S and P restrictions meant that British iron ore could not be used. Importing ores in a war situation was an added degree of difficulty. Dr John Stead, perhaps the most significant chemist-metallurgist in British 19th century iron and steelmaking, analysed some fragments of German shells that fell on the North East Coast, and discovered that they were shelling us with steel we considered unfit to drop on them. The concern from the MoD was that shells would compress under the firing load, jam in the gun, and maybe explode, killing our own soldiers, and rendering the gun useless. Stead devised a drop weight test to examine the compressibility of various compositions, made in Middlesbrough using the Basic Bessemer process, and British Iron Ore. This practice would have increased the supply of shells at a time when there was a shortage, and reduced the price. Correspondence from the National Archives at Kew details his dealings with the MoD, and the resistance to change. It took 15 months to get Dr Stead’s recommendations implemented.

Thursday 21/11/2019

“UK Steel: the bright future of recycling” André Cabrera Serrenho- Senior Research Fellow- University of Cambridge

UK consumers currently demand around 15 million tonnes of steel per year in final goods. Although the British steel production has fallen to well below this figure, the UK largely exports its steel products and manufactured steel goods at low value, while importing most high-value final good containing steel. Only one sixth of UK final consumption of steel goods is currently made with steel produced in the UK. However, domestic scrap availability is expected to increase, which creates a strategic opportunity to transform the UK steel industry from using imported iron ore to recycling national scrap. The UK has a significant advantage in developing technologies for high-quality, high-volume production from scrap to allow a more complete substitution with primary steel. This transition creates opportunities for technology innovation and is environmentally attractive, reducing the greenhouse gas emissions in producing steel to less than half of those from primary production.

Thursday 05/12/2019

“Christmas Quiz. An evening of Christmas merriment hosted by our friendly and infamous Quiz Master. A chance to win an accolade and admiration.

Details to follow.

Thursday 23/01/2020

“Bcc Superalloys: from phase diagrams to jet engines and fusion reactors.” Sandy Knowles-UOB.

The high temperature applications of gas turbines and nuclear reactors require a wide array of advanced materials. In order to further increase efficiencies and performance, material improvements are demanded that enable yet higher operating temperatures. Reinforcement with ordered intermetallic precipitates is a potent strategy for the development of high temperature strength alongside damage tolerance and is central to the success of current fcc nickel-based superalloys. Such a strategy is equally of interest within bcc-based systems for their increased melting point and acceptable cost. However, only limited studies have been made on bcc refractory metal (RM) or beta titanium based alloys strengthened by intermetallic precipitates that adopt an ordered-bcc structure (e.g. B2 or L21) of the bcc matrix within which they reside. What such Œbcc- superalloy¹ systems exist? In this talk, opportunities for refractory-metal-based bcc-superalloys will be discussed.

Thursday 06/02/2020

“4D imaging and simulation: application to solidification and glass foaming.” Biao Cai-(Metallurgy & Materials) UOB

This talk will present our recent research focusing on utilizing synchrotron based high-speed X-ray tomography to map time-resolved microstructure evolution as a form of 3D movies.  I will also demonstrate that when the mega tomographic data is coupled with numerical simulations, sometimes fairly simple models, we can derive new understanding from our data and drive innovation in materials manufacturing and recycling. Two examples will be covered in the talk: one on solidification under external temperature and magnetic fields, and another on bubbling of glass. 

Thursday 20/02/2020

Young Persons Lecture Competition.

We warmly invite young people to get involved with the Young Persons Lecture Competition. The BMetA local heat will take place on Thursday 20th February 2020.

Details and  a downloadable copy of the entrance form and judging criteria can be found by clicking here. Please note that abstracts should be no longer than 150 words. The completed entrance form and abstract should be submitted to no later than Monday 17th February. 2020

Thursday 05/03/2020- CANCELLED

“The rise, fall and future of sustainable mining in the West Midlands (with a focus on ironstone).” Paul Anderson-School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science— UOB

The natural resources of the West Midlands are diverse and have been sought after throughout historical times.  One of the key resources in this region is ironstone, which is found within the local sedimentary rocks of the Coal Measures, alongside significant coal deposits.  Smelting of ironstone from rocks like these to produce metallic iron began in the Bronze Age, becoming prominent in the succeeding Iron Age.  During the Medieval Period ironstone was extracted within the West Midlands to provide construction materials for Dudley Castle, as well as armour and weaponry.  It was also used in the blacksmith trade for production of domestic items such as keys, nails and door knobs.  The smelting of ironstone to produce iron for these purposes relied on coal as a fuel, hence the two resources were often extracted together.  During the Industrial Revolution coal and ironstone from the West Midlands gained global significance due to their use in blast furnaces, construction and powering machinery.  These resources were consistently mined from the area to the west of Birmingham termed the “Black Country”.  In the nineteenth century many small-scale mines in this area expanded to become collieries, incorporating factories within which the mined material could be processed.  At the peak of extraction, in the mid-nineteenth century, there were over 300 collieries in operation within the Black Country.  The early twentieth century recorded a decline in most forms of extraction within the West Midlands, including coal and ironstone.  By the late twentieth century extraction of ironstone in the UK had entirely ceased.  Extensive ironstone deposits remain beneath large parts of the region, however these are insignificant and of poor quality in relation to vast deposits of iron ore in other parts of the world.  Extraction in the West Midlands has now shifted to focus on superficial sand and gravel deposits for use in construction.  In stark contrast to former mining operations, current extraction requires extensive restoration planning, which has undoubtedly made operations more sustainable.  If ironstone extraction in the UK were to take place again in the future, there would be many lessons to be learned from its crude, unsustainable extraction in the past.  

Thursday 19/03/2020 POSTPONED.

Can the UK Produce Lithium as Part of a Sustainable Supply Chain?

By CP Broadbent-Research Director – Wardell Armstrong International Ltd Project Co-ordinator – Li4UK

In response to the concerns over greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from internal combustion engines there is a growing demand to de-carbonise fuels used for vehicles.  One way of meeting this challenge is to adopt electric Vehicles (EV’s) with the sales of either fully electric or hybrid EV’s predicted to rise significantly over the next decade.  By October 2019 one in ten new cars sold in the UK was a hybrid or EV.

The European automobile industry is an important component of the European economy which in 2018 accounted for 4% of EU28 GDP, was responsible for >13 Million direct and indirect jobs and realised a trade surplus of >€90 Million to the EU.  At present Europe is totally reliant upon the importance of lithium compounds used in the production of Lithium Ion Batteries (LIB’s).  Europe sources virtually all the lithium compounds (principally lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide) used in LIB’s from China.

Lithium extraction is dominated by Australia, where lithium is extracted from hard rock pegmatites containing principally spodumene as the main lithium bearing mineral, and South America where lithium is extracted from brines in the so-called lithium triangle (Chile – Bolivia – Argentina).  In 2018 slightly more than 50% of the World lithium supply was from hard rock sources (pegmatites) with ore mined in Australia and subsequently processed to lithium carbonate (or equivalent) in China.  In 2018 Europe produced virtually no lithium apart from a small amount used in the ceramics industry andproduced in Portugal, and no battery quality lithium compounds were produced from European sources.

European geology hosts a number of lithium bearing minerals that could be considered to represent lithium ores.  Indeed, the first commercial production of lithium in the World occurred in Europe in 1922 at the German village of Zinnwald where tailings from tin-tungsten production were re-worked to separate the lithium bearing mica zinnwaldite.  With the increasing demand for EV’s and the predicted increase in the use of lithium there has been significant re-evaluation of European potential to supply lithium.  This has included a strategic review of the lithium potential in the UK, the lithium enrichment of the Cornish granites was relatively well known but until recently there has been little systematic evaluation of both the potential resource or its geo-metallurgy.  Other lithiumbearing rocks outcrop in Scotland (pegmatites), Wales (lithium bearing sedimentary rocks) and Northern Ireland (pegmatites).  Lithium enriched ground waters (brine) are knownfrom Cornwall and NE England.

Recognising the importance of the automobile industry to the UK the Government launched the Faraday Battery Challenge in 2018 as part of their Industrial Strategy to help ensure that the UK remained at the forefront of battery technology and estimated that the battery market would be worth £50 Billion to Europe by 2025.  Li4UK Project is an ambitious ‘feasibility study’ funded as part of the Faraday Battery Challenge and aims to systematically assess the potential to produce, in a sustainable manner, battery quality lithium compounds from UK source(s).  The Project commenced on 1 May 2019 and is due to present its findings in the summer of 2020.  This presentation explores the results of Li4UK obtained to date providing a preliminary view on the question as to whether the UK sources can be part of a sustainable lithium supply chain.

If you have any queries or require further information, please email us