Melting and Atomisation Optimisation of Metal Powder in Advanced Applications

Key Information

Academic supervisor: Professor Nicholas Lavery – Swansea University

Industrial supervisor: Dr Titou Minster

Expected Interview Date: May 2022

Background: & Project Aims:

Metal powder is used in high end applications from brazing to additive manufacturing and thermal spray coatings to HIP. A specific composition and Particle Size Distribution (PSD) is developed for each intended product in order to allow for handling and processing within the constraints of the manufacturing process whilst delivering the required properties for the final intended use.

Melting practice will influence the way some volatile elements may evolve or oxidise & form slags. Slag management is key in order to deliver a clean homogeneous powder as its entrainment can result in poor mechanical properties in the final application.

Powder atomising is a process where high-pressure gas or water medium is used to break down a stream of molten metal into a fine powder with a PSD that follows a gaussian distribution. Furthermore, the function of these processing parameters, the powder will have varying morphology and microstructures which may have an effect on customer applications. Various parameters including atomising medium flow/type/delivery, temperature, nozzle setup, and dry Vs wet cooling will affect the PSD, morphology, and microstructure.

Optimising the process in order to achieve high yields consistently is key for the business such that we are able to offer a competitively priced high quality product. Minimising of material losses and right first time is key in reducing waste and energy consumption throughout the plant.  

Project Aims:

The project aims are to optimise melting and atomising practices for improved cleanliness, greater yields, reduced process variation & increased right first time on plant. To improve understanding of the process and to gain further know how for the control of the process affects end-use. Close work with the existing technical & process team will ensure the experience will give the candidate a wholesome industrial experience with a healthy amount of laboratory-based work in the partner Universities. The student will be working between the manufacturing site in Ammanford, Swansea University and there is the potential for collaboration with Leeds University.  

COATED M2A recognises applicants have a variety of backgrounds with different educational and research experiences. We do not expect applicants to be proficient users of any techniques /equipment mentioned, at the time of application. Our focus is to upskill our participants and training will be provided.  

COATED M2A in the Faculty of Science and 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 providing top quality 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.

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. Applications from women and other under-represented groups are particularly welcomed. All applications will be anonymised prior to short listing. 

Are you considering making an application and have questions you’d like answered? Come and have a 1-2-1 chat with us at our applicant surgeries (Link). We encourage all applicants to review our hints and tips document found here.

Sponsoring Company: LSN Diffusion


Candidates must normally hold a minimum undergraduate degree at 2.1 level (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University), or a combination of degree and equivalent experience to the same level.

Normally, we would expect candidates to have met the University’s English Language requirements (e.g., IELTS 6.5 overall with 5.5+ in each component) by point of application. 

Full eligibility can be found at


Fees at UK rate and Stipend of £12,500, both for the period of one year. 

For full details on funding eligibility, please refer to the Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) Website. Student Eligibility | M2A (  

Candidates must have the legal right to live/work in the UK at the start of their studies (student visas do not qualify).

Closing Date: 3rd April 2022

Start Date: October 2022 

Applications and informal enquiries about this studentship should be directed by email to:

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