UltraMat: Materials processing using power ultrasound during solidifying phase
UltraMAT ultrasonic processing system is intended to answer some of the needs coming from industrials dealing with materials in their manufacturing processes:
- improved processing to reduce the risks of the occurrence of defects that are likely to occur throughout the entire volume of structures rather than localised
- Further step increases over the mechanical performance of existing aerospace grade materials are desirable on the already stated energy and emission reduction grounds and are possible through the use of graphene (G) and carbon nanotube (CNT) fillers.
The main objective of the UltrsMat project is to develop a novel generic technology for the ultrasonic processing of materials during fluid and semi fluid phases, that are widely used in manufacturing (laser welding of aluminium alloys and nano-enhanced composite laminates).
Novel materials processing techniques nowadays allow the production of parts with high mechanical properties that were beyond those of previous techniques. However, the quality of those parts produced with manufacturing processes involving a solidification phase requires further improvement, mainly regarding the size of the grains, the poor distribution of the particles, the agglomeration of certain additives, etc.
The use of power ultrasounds during the liquid phase has shown high potential for solving this, as it helps to homogenise the material, refine grains and improve the mechanical properties.
BIC has tested and validated this technology applied to two manufacturing processes: Laser welding of aluminium alloys and manufacturing of composite laminates.
Brunel Innovation Centre's Role
- Numerical modelling: FEA models of ultrasonic wave propagation in Aluminium and GLARE composites ,completed and validated via experiments (3D laser vibrometry).
- Ultrasonic power generator: Brunel designed, developed and built, in collaboration with a 4-channel power amplifier to drive high power ultrasonic transducers.
- Integration of Ultrasonic processing into manufacturing processes: Ultrasonic power amplifiers were integrated and tested (Carrs and KWSP facilities).
- Testing and results: Brunel University achieved SEM microscopy to evaluate the grain structure of the samples manufactured under this new technology.
For more information, please visit the UltraMAT website.
Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project
Professor Tat-Hean Gan
- Professional Qualifications - CEng. IntPE (UK), Eur Ing, BEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronics Engg (Uni of Nottingham), MSc in Advanced Mechanical Engineering (University of Warwick), MBA in International Business (University of Birmingham), PhD in Engineering (University of Warwick), Languages - English, Malaysian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Professional Bodies - Fellow of the British Institute of NDT, Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Tat-Hean Gan has 10 years of experience in Non-Destructive Testing (NDT), Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) and Condition Monitoring of rotating machineries in various industries namely nuclear, renewable energy (eg Wind, Wave ad Tidal), Oil and Gas, Petrochemical, Construction and Infrastructure, Aerospace and Automotive. He is the Director of BIC, leading activities varying from Research and development to commercialisation in the areas of novel technique development, sensor applications, signal and image processing, numerical modelling and electronics hardware. His experience is also in Collaborative funding (EC FP7 and UK TSB), project management and technology commercialisation.