Effects of residual elements from scraps on steel processing and service properties of typical strip steel products

Key Information

Significantly increasing the use of steel scrap in steel production has become a strategic movement for the UK steel industry (including Tata Steel UK). This is driven by the EU/UK government compulsory target of reducing emissions by 80% before 2050 for industry and is motivated by the current over-supply of steel scrap and its projected growth in quantity into the 2020’s.

The biggest challenge for the increased use of steel scrap is the residual elements (e.g. Cu, Sn, Zn, Co) inherited from the steel scraps that influence the steel processing and service properties of steel products. The most problematic scrap is obsolete scrap, consisting of discarded steel products after their service life (e.g. passenger cars, steel cans, electric appliances) and municipal incinerator scrap. Its chemical composition fluctuates widely depending on its origin and degree of processing.

The residual elements can influence the processing conditions of steel, from ladle treatment through casting and thermal treatment (e.g. annealing) to coating, and may exist in steel in the forms of solid solution, precipitation, intergranular segregation and surface segregation. All these directly and indirectly affect the quality and service properties of steel products.

This project aims to advance the understanding of the effects of residual elements on steel processing and service properties, and consequently create optimized through-process parameters for effectively controlling the effects of residual elements, i.e. substantially increasing the use of high residual scraps without sacrificing the steel processing performance and service properties.

The work will be carried out by using the world leading research facilities (at up to 10 kg scale) at the Advanced Steel Research Centre in WMG, the University of Warwick and at Swansea University. The proposed research will simulate the steel manufacturing process in laboratory from melting (with intentionally added residual elements), casting, hot rolling, annealing, to coating, aided by property measurement and advanced characterisation. It will reveal the link between the amount of residual elements (individual and or combined) and the steel processing performance and the properties for the selected key strip steel products.

Project Aims

1.       Critical assessment of the state-of-art of the residual element effects on steel processing and service properties.

2.       To investigate in laboratory the effect of residual elements (individual and combined) on processing – hot rolling, hot shortness, surface quality, etc for the selected key products.

3.       To investigate the effect of residual elements (individual and combined) on properties (strength, ductility) of end products for the selected key products.

4.       To recommend through-process parameters for the substantially increased use of high residual scraps without sacrificing service properties of steel products.

Suitable candidate 

The candidate should have a minimum of an upper second (2.1) honour degree in Materials Science (including Metallurgy, Ceramics), Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, or other related Engineering/Science discipline. Excellent communications skills (both verbal and written) are essential.

The successful candidate will be expected to spend some time in various sites – Swansea University, University of Warwick and Tata Steel UK operational sites.

Academic Supervisor:

Dr Zushu Li (University of Warwick / Swansea University)

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