Enhance aluminium recirculation by improving tolerance to impurity elements.

Aluminium manufacturing is directly responsible for approximately 2% of global CO2 emissions and increasing the recycling rate is urgently needed to accelerate its decarbonization. However, current aluminium recycling processes are not capable of dealing with low-grade 'dirty' scrap and heavily rely on energy intensive primary metal to tightly constrain impurity levels, which otherwise would downgrade the material performance. The studentship will establish a manufacturing science for 'dirty' alloys to promote the production of high-performance, fully recyclable products that are tolerant of extreme impurity levels. Our vision is to develop a microstructure focused approach for metal recycling which overcomes many of the inefficiencies of current composition-based strategies. Control over the material properties will be achieved by manipulating microstructures during the initial solidification stage and not by fine tuning the concentration of individual elements.

Within the group we have developed an experimental methodology, which combines both in-situ technique such as X-ray imaging and ex-situ electron microscopy and XCT, to investigate the role of impurities on the formation of IMCs and how to manipulate them The work will investigate the efficacy of novel methods to manipulate the morphology of secondary phases during the initial casting step to engineer the microstructure build on an experimental methodology we have been developed within the group to characterise. Several techniques will be used to evaluate the relationship.


X-ray images showing the modifying effect of Ti on Al13Fe4

Synchrotron radiographs showing (a) Al-Fe intermetallics in the original needle-like (plate-like in 3-D) morphology, and (b) Ti modified intermetallics adopting highly branched morphology (note the difference in length scale)


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