M2A

Optimising mobility behavior of polymer-coated packaging steel, Protact (Understanding, Measure, Improve)

Key Information

Steel food and beverage cans are generally coated with a lacquer to provide improved food preservation.  These “epoxy-type” lacquers, until recently mainly based on bisphenol A (BPA), applied to tinplate have been used very successfully for many years. However, due to recent (food) safety concerns about the use of BPA lacquers, legislation has been introduced in Europe banning its use in cans.  Obviously, the result  of the new legislation and public sentiments is that brand owners are demanding cans with a BPA-free coating.

Project Aims
Polyester laminates (like Tata’s Protact material) are uniquely suited to solve all current (BPA) and future food safety issues. Next to these aspects, Protact also has a strongly positive effect on VOC emissions, water usage and CO2 footprint at the canmaker. With large new investments being realised at Tata Steel, the understanding of material properties is essential for Tata Steel to support the use of Protact in the market. The theme of this proposal is to optimize performance of Protact during processing at customers in processes such as cutting and stacking. Due to the different friction and surface properties of Protact compared to the classic materials, the mobility of the sheets is different and sheets of Protact tend to stick together resulting in sub-optimized stacking behavior of the sheets and/or bad de-stacking when the sheets are further fed to presses, to be converted into final product. This effect could be related to the actual interaction between the sheets, but also effects like static loading can play a role. Once the mechanism is understood and a suitable measuring method developed, also formulation and optimization of the coating would be part of the project.

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.

Sponsoring Company Tata Steel
Eligibility

Candidates should hold an Engineering or Physical Sciences degree with a minimum classification level of 2:1 or equivalent relevant experience. The candidate should hold a degree in materials science, (polymer) chemistry, engineering, physics, or similar technical discipline and be willing to develop and apply his/her knowledge, know-how and skill to the fundamental understanding of polymer coated Packaging Steel. Students will be working closely together with the Packaging business of Tata Steel as well as their R&D group. Occasional travel to various sites in UK and the Netherlands will be part of the role.

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

Funding

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

Closing Date 21 July 2017

Start Date October 2017


Apply Now

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