Development of electrical steel coating and annealing simulator

Key Information

Grain oriented electrical steels utilise a multilayer coating, nominally constituted of a Forsterite base layer and aluminium phosphate top layer, to provide electrical resistance between sheets in the cores of electrical machines.  This insulation is critical to the overall efficiency of all electrical conversion devices as it limits the circulation of harmful eddy currents.  These coatings are also engineered to improve the magnetic properties of the steel substrate as well as provide resistance to manufacturing and operational stress through a mechanical interaction between the coating and substrate.

Development of new coatings in collaborations between Cogent Power, Cardiff University and Tata Steel have concentrated on laboratory trials.  However, baseline characterisation of the laboratory coating process could not replicate the performance gains achieved through the production process.  The laboratory coating process duplicates the coating application method of the on-line coater however, the curing and thermal flattening process are not accurately simulated.  In order to properly characterise new coatings, and gain further understanding of the optimisation of the final process line, it is necessary to simulate the important elements of the process which could include:

  • Variable strip tension
  • Controlled heating cooling rates
  • Accurate atmosphere control
  • Controlled strip curvature

Project Aims

This programme would follow from previous collaborations between the same partners on coating characterisation, thermal flattening simulation, and coating development.  The project would also benefit from parallel projects on domain refinement and coating optimisation within the Schools of Engineering and Chemistry at Cardiff University.  Expertise and facilities will also be utilised from collaborators at Swansea University, SPECIFIC and Sheffield Hallam University together with those at Cogent and Tata R&D.

The main objectives of the project would be:

·       Review current and previous work on coating modelling

·       Characterise the current coating and thermal flattening process

·       Investigate static and continuous methods of simulating all elements of coating and thermal flattening

·       Design, commission and validate a new coating simulation method.

Suitable candidate 

Graduate in mechanical or electrical/electronic engineering with an interest in materials.

Academic Supervisors:

 Phil Anderson, Mark Eaton (Engineering, Cardiff), Phil Davies (Chemistry Cardiff)

Sponsoring Company Cogent Power Ltd. (Tata Steel) Newport

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