Based at BCAST, Brunel University London, the Future LiME Hub continues on the success of the EPSRC Centre – LiME, which was established in February 2010. The Future LiME Hub aims to establish the scientific basis, technological approach and industrial strategy for full metal circulation demonstrated through closed-loop recycling of light metals (please see our vision for further information).
From the EPSRC Centre – LiME to the Future LiME Hub: what is different?
• The Hub vision has evolved from an aspiration to establish a sustainable metallurgical industry to a clear vision for full metal circulation, which in turn has generated an ambitious and integrated programme.
• The academic team has been rearranged and strengthened to include Leeds, Manchester and Imperial to complete the skills and expertise required by the Hub. In addition, two of the new investigators and spokes have been drawn into the Hub through successful feasibility studies funded by the previous EPSRC Centre – LiME.
• Fundamental research has moved on from establishing a framework for, to the delivery of a nucleation centred solidification science.
• Applied research now strongly features the development of recycling-friendly metallic materials.
• The industrial collaborators: the Hub has significantly expanded the strategic industrial partners and the associated significant financial investment in our long-term plans, including a new Jaguar Land Rover Development Foundry, the Constellium University Technology Centre and the Grainger Worrall Research Department.
• Translation infrastructure: the Hub can benefit enormously from co-location with the new £18M Advanced Metal Casting Centre that hosts national scale-up facilities for metal casting; this was not in existence for the EPSRC Centre – LiME.
The Future LiME Hub will be an international leader in liquid metal engineering. We will conduct fundamental research to deliver a nucleation centred solidification science; we will undertake applied research to develop and exploit advanced materials and sustainable metal processing technologies to support the UK manufacturing industry and its supply chain; we will reach out to potential stakeholders to deliver the widest impact of the Hub’s research; we will embed CDT-LiME within the Hub to train the future leaders in liquid metal engineering.
The long-term vision of the Hub is full metal circulation, in which the global demand for metallic materials is met by a full circulation of secondary metals (with only limited addition of primary metals each year) through reduced usage, reuse, remanufacture, closed-loop recycling and effective recovery and refining of secondary metals (as illustrated below). This represents a paradigm shift for metallurgical science, manufacturing technology and the industrial landscape. This vision is shared by both our academic spokes and our industrial collaborators. The Future LiME Hub will lay down a solid foundation for full metal circulation.
The specific scientific and technological objectives of the platform research are:
• To understand atomic ordering at the liquid/inclusion interface at temperatures above the liquidus.
• To understand the mechanisms of heterogeneous nucleation of both primary alpha-Al and IMCs.
• To understand adsorption at the liquid/inclusion interface and its effect on heterogeneous nucleation.
• To understand the competition for nucleation between different inclusions during solidification.
• To understand the formation dynamics of IMCs during solidification of recycled alloys.
• To develop practical approaches to control the chemical and physical nature of IMCs.
• To develop a multi-purpose liquid metal treatment process for removing excess inclusions, impurity and hydrogen in secondary Al-alloys.
• To develop a multistage high shear pump to condition liquid metal prior to shape casting processes.
• To develop innovative continuous and shape casting processes for producing components/feedstock with fine and uniform microstructure, uniform chemistry and free of casting defects.
• To develop recycling-friendly high performance light alloys for specific industrial applications.