Creating bright scratch resistant tinplate products

Key Information

In packaging steel products, for example popular 5L beer kegs, the gloss and surface appearance of the tin coated steel is a key product differentiator. Surfaces can be matt or highly reflective like a mirror. At Tata Steel we continuously try to improve our steels and steel coating processes to achieve the best product appearance for our packaging customers. Surface appearance is extremely important; for example in China the gloss of European baby food cans makes consumers decide whether the product may be fake. On the other hand the damage tolerance of tin plated products is important in order to deliver a perfect glossy scratch free tin plate surface to the customer. This shows the importance and value of high quality packaging materials.

Project Aims

Tin coating weight is varied to increase corrosion resistance and the visual appearance. However, the more tin is applied on the steel substrate the more scratch sensitive the tinplate product will become.  In fact, every type of tinplate with corresponding roughness, has an optimum tin coating weight with respect to scratch sensitivity and surface appearance.

Challenge is to design a steel substrate roughness that is "forgiving" for a large  range of tin coating weights.

The project aims to:

1. To determine and model the relationship between the process parameters: substrate roughness, tin coating weight and tin-iron alloy layer thickness on the final product properties: corrosion resistance, visual appearance and scratch resistivity.

2. To validate the developed model by analysing production samples obtained with varying process settings from Tata Steel tinplate production lines.

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 Packaging

Candidates should hold an Engineering or Physical Sciences degree with a minimum classification level of 2:1 or equivalent relevant experience. This project would be suitable for someone with a degree in chemistry, physics, or materials engineering.

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

Closing Date 9 September 2018

Start Date September 2018

Apply Now

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