Home Research & Education Scientists develop mathematical model to improve 3D printing of light metals

Scientists develop mathematical model to improve 3D printing of light metals

Aston University has launched a new project to develop a mathematical model to improve liquid metal casting.

In the transportation sector, there is a gradual move away from steel towards lighter alloys. Although, unlike steel, these do not rust, they oxidize very quickly when they first come into contact with external environmental conditions, which affects their quality and service life.

Dr. Paul Griffiths, Senior Lecturer in Applied Mathematics, is leading this 12-month project focusing on the thin oxide films that form on alloys and affect the casting process. He has been awarded £80,000 from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for this study, entitled ‘Developing an accurate non-Newtonian surface rheology model’.

Dr Griffiths, who is based in the University’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, said: “The aim of this investigation is to develop a mathematical model that accurately captures the two-way coupling between a liquid metal flow and the oxide layer above, with the latter behaving as a non-Newtonian liquid/gas interface. The objective of this project is to describe both the surface characteristics – velocity and shear profiles – as well as the important effects of surface curvature. The benefit of a more appropriate mechanical model for the oxidised surface of a melted metal flow would lead to a better understanding of the encapsulation process which affects the alloy.”

A better mechanical model for the oxidized surface of a molten metal flow could lead to a deeper understanding of the encapsulation process that affects the alloy. This research is complemented by a project partnership in Grenoble, France, and could have far-reaching implications for additive manufacturing and 3D printing of light metals.

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