West of England metals and materials association

IOM3—Young persons lecture competition—2021—WEMMA heat—Zoom meeting

This is the WEMMA heat of the lecture competition which is open to those aged up to 28 in the fields of materials, minerals and mining. The IOM3 offers cash prizes and an opportunity to compete at the national final.


Start time is 19:00

Wednesday 17 Feb 2021

Entry is free. Members and non-members are welcome.

Join the Zoom meeting using these details :

Location : Link to Zoom meeting

Meeting ID : 892 5604 6733

Passcode : 472304


Siqi HE—Novel microscopy approaches to evaluate creep cavities

Grain boundary creep cavitation is an important degradation mechanism for determining creep life for components operated at an elevated temperature such as boiler header in Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor. The formation of creep cavities is strongly related with stress, temperature as well as the associated local microstructure. The evolution of precipitation at grain boundaries, and the properties of the grain boundaries themselves both play roles on the cavitation damage. The characterisation and quantification of creep cavities and local microstructural environment are essential to better understand the cavity formation mechanisms and to help improve the related modelling works. In this work, an extensively creep cavitated ex-service AISI type 316H stainless steel boiler header was characterised by a combination of correlative EBSD and stitched high-resolution SEM enabling a direct visualisation of creep cavities on EBSD map and related grain boundary properties. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), can provide information of morphology, size, distribution, etc, of creep cavities in a short acquisition time, but is limited in characterising large areas and lacks crystallographic knowledge. The crystallography can however be gained through electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD). However, if both techniques can be applied together on the same location, we can obtain substantially more information about the material.

Tom WALLACE-SMITH—Diamond; the nuclear energy storage material of the future

What makes diamond special and why does it have the potential to become the most sustainable, long-life micro-energy source of the future? Throughout history this material has captured the imaginations of kings, queens, poets and natural scientists alike. With the advent of new and advanced manufacturing methods, diamond now has real potential as the bedrock of a groundbreaking sustainable micro-energy product cycle. Through my talk I hope to provide a glimpse into how future energy systems are designed to be sustainable from the outset and far, far into the future.

Pooja NAIR—Carbon capture cementitious materials using sol-gel technology

Cement is the second most-consumed material after water, and the use is irrefutable in the construction world. However, the alarming CO2 emissions by cement production, which is 5% of the total anthropogenic emissions, has urged an emerging need for ways to develop sustainable reductions. Over the years, several approaches have been taken to reduce the carbon footprint through mix design optimisation, and utilisation of CO2 within the cement-based matrix. Several innovative approaches are sought to be a part of the latter strategy offering an upcycling solution. CO2 sequestration within the cement matrix has revealed an improvement in the performance. Capturing of CO2 within the cement binding system is done mainly via mixing or curing in a carbonation chamber of freshly hydrating cement. Sol-gel technology is an emerging in the cement world. Furthermore, sol-gel technology has shown its success in CO2 fixation by mineral carbonation of calcium silicates. Researches showed that calcium silicate minerals, when encapsulated in a sol-gel porous matrix, enabled efficient carbonation reaction. Research findings have shown that sol-gel-based composites accelerate the carbonation kinetics enormously. The sol-gel composites create an encapsulation that prevents agglomeration of powder which in the case of cement would be the anhydrous clinker and thus increases the surface area of reaction. The sol-gel based CO2 capture technique would also inhibit the formation of the passivation layer that reduces the carbonate formation efficiency. Possibilities of sol-gel technology to embed grains of sequestering agents like cement and cementitious materials into a silica matrix can also avoid sintering with high carbonation efficiency. Sol-gel technology helps to tailor the material rather than working on the CO2 environmental conditions. This may thus unfold a better perspective of carbonation reaction mechanisms which is yet to be verified. This research aims to study the possibilities of integrating the sol-gel technology of CO2 sequestration by the calcium silicate minerals(clinker) within the cement system during carbon curing.

Phil SMITH—Thin out the competition

Climate change is an extraordinary threat to our way of life. It is advancing at a rate which means that without rapid development in technology the global community won’t have the tools to restrict heating to the 1.5 °C limit set by the Paris Agreement in 2015. Nuclear energy is currently the most effective way to produce powerful, carbon-free electricity, and is crucial for governments trying to wean themselves off fossil fuels. However, nuclear is not without its disadvantages. The disaster at the Fukashima Daiichi plant in 2011 highlighted a need for Accident Tolerant Fuels (ATF) as well as improved ways to study them. Typically, nuclear research occurs via complex simulations, but the advancement of thin films allows for the collection of experimental data in an area of research usually heavily- restricted by radioactivity. The surface sensitivity of thin films allows measurement of surface morphology in reactor conditions at the Ångstrom-length scale. If we are successful then ATF fuels could improve performance, duration and safety in current and future nuclear power plants.