A Postgraduate Training Partnership (PTP) between TWI and the University of Cambridge is one of eight similar ventures set up by the DTI and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The PTP has the twin objectives of research training of postgraduates and the transfer of new skills and knowledge to industry.
Research carried out by James Hearley, a postgraduate student, demonstrates just how useful to industry these partnerships can be.
Hearley has been looking into ways of prolonging the service life of engineering components which work in aggressive environments. The research primarily concerns High Velocity Oxy-Fuel (HVOF) thermal spraying, a process which applies low porosity, strongly adhering coatings to protect against high temperature oxidation and corrosion.
In his research, James has found that it is possible to use HVOF to deposit nickel-aluminide (NiAl) as a high quality coating onto vulnerable parts in gas turbine and waste incinerator plant. The behaviour of the coating has been assessed in a range of hostile conditions, and initial results suggest that it provides superior protection to traditional coatings. Although still at the research stage, Hearley’s findings would appear to offer very real benefits to industry in the form of reduced costs and increased servicibility.