Published on 09/01/2024
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Aston University scientists to develop mathematical model to improve liquid metal casting
credit: Shestakov Dmytro

•    Mathematical modelling to help improve liquid metal casting
•    New method will address issue of lightweight aluminium alloys corroding when first exposed to air
•    Could improve the emerging processes related to 3D printing and additive manufacturing of light metals.

A new project at Aston University has been set up to develop a mathematical model to improve liquid metal casting.

The method will be used to help prevent lightweight aluminium alloys corroding - or oxidating - very quickly when first exposed to air. A better knowledge of this could improve the emerging processes related to 3D printing and additive manufacturing of light metals.

Within the transportation sector, steel is gradually being replaced by lighter alloys. Although they don’t rust like steel does, they oxidise very quickly when first exposed to external ambient conditions which affects their quality and lifespan.

Dr Paul Griffiths, senior lecturer in applied mathematics, will be conducting a 12-month project which will focus on the thin oxide films that develop on alloys which affect the casting process. 

He has been awarded £80,000 from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for the study ‘Developing an accurate non-Newtonian surface rheology model’.

Dr Griffiths, who is based in the University’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, said: “The aim of this investigation is to develop a mathematical model that accurately captures the two-way coupling between a liquid metal flow and the oxide layer above, with the latter behaving as a non-Newtonian liquid/gas interface.

“The objective of this project is to describe both the surface characteristics - velocity and shear profiles - as well as the important effects of surface curvature.

“The benefit of a more appropriate mechanical model for the oxidised surface of a melted metal flow would lead to a better understanding of the encapsulation process which affects the alloy.”

The research is twinned with a project partner in Grenoble, France.

Notes to editors

About Aston University
For over a century, Aston University’s enduring purpose has been to make our world a better place through education, research and innovation, by enabling our students to succeed in work and life, and by supporting our communities to thrive economically, socially and culturally.
Aston University’s history has been intertwined with the history of Birmingham, a remarkable city that once was the heartland of the Industrial Revolution and the manufacturing powerhouse of the world.
Born out of the First Industrial Revolution, Aston University has a proud and distinct heritage dating back to our formation as the School of Metallurgy in 1875, the first UK College of Technology in 1951, gaining university status by Royal Charter in 1966, and becoming The Guardian University of the Year in 2020.
Building on our outstanding past, we are now defining our place and role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (and beyond) within a rapidly changing world.
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