Development of Cr free rolls for steel production to meet new environmental challenges.

Key Information

Supervisor: Prof P Holliman.

In the cold rolling process, the final surface finish of the strip is dependent upon conditions in the roll bite of the last rolling stand, principally the roughness of the roll performing the reduction, and the lubrication conditions. To maintain these conditions, rolls are chromium plated. New environmental legislation will result in this chrome plating process being banned, and so the search is on for alternative surfaces that can achieve the same result.

This is a key consideration for Tata Steel in Europe and is already an area of significant exploratory work.

The Research Engineer will:

  • Review literature and current best practice within the industry on roll finish.
  • Develop a theoretical understanding of the demands of the surface, and the complimentary lubrication conditions required. These conditions result in differing outcomes, either with effects on strip cleanliness with iron deposits as a result of roll wear, through slipping and skidding of the strip within the roll bite resulting from lost friction.
  • Conduct trial work around possible alternatives. Many alternatives are hard materials that will maintain their surface roughness, but this brings difficulties in grinding the required profile into the roll between its uses in the mill.
  • To progress understanding of the options, or to propose a solution to the problem, applicable to all rolling mills across Europe affected by this legislation.

Swansea university is a top 30 UK institution for research excellence (Research Excellence Framework 2014) and has been named Welsh University of the Year 2017 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.

The Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) in the College of Engineering is a Swansea University initiative which provides postgraduate research training in partnership with industry; providing access to world-class laboratories and a wealth of academic and industry expertise. The M2A is committed to delivering high quality collaborative research opportunities within an inclusive environment, funded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Swansea University and Industry partners. 

Interwoven through the research study are business, technical and entrepreneurial courses, designed to support and prepare participants for a senior role in industry or academia, on completion of their studies. Research Engineers may participate in our career mentoring system, offering opportunities to engage with M2A alumni and other senior staff from across the University.  

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 committee to addressing unequal gender representation.

Applications from women are particularly welcomed. As a positive action to address gender imbalance, female undergraduates considering a career in research are invited to join our two-day laboratory taster session and learn about a typical day in the life of a research engineer.

Sponsoring Company Tata Steel

We welcome applications from candidates with an Engineering or Physical Science degree (minimum level 2:1), or a combination of degree and equivalent relevant experience to the same level to join the M2A community of research engineers.

To be eligible for WEFO funding, applicants should:

  • Be a UK or EU citizen (eligible for home tuition fees at Swansea University) and have the right to work in Wales at the end of their studies.
  • Be resident within West Wales and the Valleys at the time of enrolment and for the duration of the candidature.
  • Must not be financially able to participate in study for a postgraduate research degree without the award of this funding


To be eligible for EPSRC funding, applicants should:

  • Be eligible for home tuition fees at Swansea University.
  • Have settled status in the UK, meaning no restrictions on the length of stay in the UK; and be ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the grant, apart from temporary or occasional absences.
  • Not have been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. This does not apply to UK nationals and EU nationals who were ordinarily resident in the EU immediately before the period of full-time education.

Full fees at Home/EU rate for a period of four academic years.

Maintenance stipend at £20K per annum for a period of four years.

Closing Date 15 March 2019

Start Date October 2019

Apply Now

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