Using Rapid Alloy Prototyping to understand the effects of Tramp elements in increased Scrap Steel Recycling

Key Information

In Tata Steel’s integrated steel plant in Port Talbot, melts are produced at a scale of 300t. For product development – going through numerous industrial trial iterations of 300t melts is economically unfeasible, therefore the majority of product development iterations are first carried out on pilot-scale trials of 25kg. After isolating a sensible alloying route, trials are progressed to full-scale trials.

The rapid alloy prototyping (RAP) technique available in MACH1 in Swansea University is a 20g induction melting route to create synthetic steels. The advantage of using this type of RAP is that numerous iterations of incremental alloying compositions can be produced to screen and down-select winning compositions and optimise processing windows for subsequent use in 25kg & 300t full-scale trials. This presents the opportunity of not only improving the understanding of the alloy systems but also to increase the ‘right first time’ developments.  

One of the challenges is to develop testing techniques on RAP samples (composition, microstructure, mechanical properties) which are representative of the same compositions as-processed through larger scale and industrial-scale routes.

One of the applications of RAP is to improve the understanding in synergistic effects of tramp elements in various steel grades and associated applications. By systematically adding the levels of tramp elements one can de-convolute their effect on the alloy systems.

This is important because, on average, every half hour 60t of scrap steel are used as coolant in the Basic Oxygen Steelmaking converter in Port Talbot – leading to the introduction of tramp elements in the steel. Using more scrap in steel presents a cost saving of ~£20 per tonne thus the output of this work may result in significant financial benefits to Tata Steel. Increasing the use of scrap also has significant environmental benefits as every tonne of recycled steel reduces ore consumption by 1.5 tonnes and reduces CO2 emissions by 80%.

Project Aims

1.       To grasp through-process understanding on plant and the ins and outs of RAP

2.       Develop simplified RAP characterisation techniques which give sensible trends on 20g samples and are benchmarked against 25kg and 300t routes

3.       Understand the effects of various tramp alloying elements on exemplar alloys

4.       Challenge the current tramp element limits in secondary steelmaking

Suitable candidate 

The candidate will have a degree in Materials Science, Physics, Chemistry or other Engineering/Science discipline and have excellent communication skills both verbal & written.

Must have own means of transport and will be expected to spend some time in various operational sites in order to broaden horizons and improve understanding of the Tata Steel product range.


Academic Supervisor:

Dr Nicholas P Lavery


Sponsoring Company Tata Steel

Candidates should hold an Engineering or Physical Sciences degree with a minimum classification level of 2:1 or equivalent relevant experience. 

 Our funders require applicants to also meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You must be a UK or EU citizen (i.e. eligible for ‘home’ tuition fees at the University) and have the right to work in Wales at the end of your studies.
  • You must be resident in West Wales and the Valleys at the point of enrolment and throughout the duration of your studies.
  • You must not be financially able to participate without the award of grant funding.

Further information regarding eligibility criteria can be found at: http://www.materials-academy.co.uk/eligibility

The Athena SWAN Charter recognises work undertaken by institutions to advance gender equality. The College of Engineering is an Athena SWAN bronze award holder and is committed to addressing unequal gender representation.


The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a tax free stipend of £20,000 p.a.

Closing Date 28 February 2018

Start Date October 2018

Apply Now

Informal enquiries about this studentship are welcome and may be directed by email to: M2A@swansea.ac.uk