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Blue Skies, Green Future Webinar: Professor Mark Rainforth – Designing Alloys for Resource Efficiency

The ‘Blue skies, green future’ webinar series presents ideas to spark discussion on the topic of transformation and innovation within the foundation industries.

This session was presented by Professor Mark Rainforth, discussing the impact of alloy design on sustainability and resource efficiency within the metals sector, including examples from a wide range of metal alloys, including ultra-high strength, low alloy and nanostructured steel, titanium alloys and magnesium alloys.

The manufacturing and processing of metals to form components is one of the largest industrial sectors. Material security concerns the access to raw materials to ensure economic sufficiency. The sector faces major future challenges as key elements will be increasingly in short supply with consequent price volatility. Equally, many materials rely on strategic elements for which supply is not guaranteed, with rare earth elements being the prime example. Addressing resource efficiency in metals production and use requires that new metal alloys be developed specifically to reduce reliance on strategic and scarce elements, for recycling and for disruptive manufacturing technologies that minimise waste. The Designing Alloys for Resource Efficiency (DARE) consortium have used basic science to come to an understanding of the role of strategically important elements, to design new alloys with greater resource efficiency and to optimise the processing route for the new alloys to give supply chain compression. This talk will take examples from a wide range of metal alloys, including ultra-high strength, low alloy and nanostructured steel, titanium alloys and magnesium alloys.

Speaker profile

After obtaining a 1st Class Honours degree from the University of Sheffield, Professor Mark Rainforth initially followed an industrial career. He later joined the Department from the University of Leeds in 1989 and rapidly established state-of-the-art facilities in electron microscopy and tribology. Mark is currently a Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield.

Professor Rainforth’s research centres on the high resolution characterisation of microstructures, in particular interfaces and surfaces. His research programmes are broadly based and cover metals, ceramics and coatings, including:

– Aberration corrected electron microscopy to determine atomic structure and local bonding state, particularly at interfaces in, for example, nanoscale multilayer coatings or functional ceramics

– Understanding the dynamic microstructural changes that occur as a result of frictional contact, to thereby develop superior materials, for example, next generation hip arthroplasties

– Surface degeneration phenomena, such as oxidation of metals (including during hot rolling) and hydrothermal degradation of zirconia ceramics

– Microstructural evolution during the processing of metals, particularly Ti, Mg and steels, aimed at developing new higher strength materials

Published: June 15th, 2021
Posted in Resources

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