Facilities

The Future LiME Hub, continues to focus on developing fundamental understanding of solidification, and modern, revolutionary techniques and advanced devices for metals processing. Meeting the demands of our industrial partners, the Hub continues to deliver more efficient, less expensive technological solutions for large scale metals production.

The Hub brings together the impressive facilities for solidification research at Brunel University London and our four spokes at the University of Manchester, University of Leeds, University of Oxford and Imperial College London, including: state of the art analytical modelling and molecular dynamic simulation; a range of innovative casting processes; technologies for the engineering and assessment of liquid metals; and an extensive suite of tools for microstructural characterization.

 

Hub facilities

Some highlights:

• Pilot and industrial scale casting facilities including high pressure die casting, low pressure die casting, direct-chill casting, twin roll casting, squeeze casting, investment casting and spray forming.

• Intensive melt shearing and ultrasonic technologies for enhanced nucleation and grain refinement.

  • • Small scale extrusion and rolling facilities for downstream thermomechanical processing.

• X-ray diffraction of molten alloys under shear, and advanced liquid metal viscometry.

• A range of techniques for the control and measurement of the quality of molten alloys including optical emission spectroscopy, rotary degassing, hydrogen measurement, reduced pressure testing and pressurised filtration.

• Internationally leading electron microscopy.

 

With £17.4 million of support from the EPSRC, Brunel University London and industry, we opened the Advanced Metals Casting Centre (AMCC) on Brunel’s campus in Uxbridge in April 2016. Housing pilot and commercial metals processing equipment in a 1,500 m2 purpose-built building, the AMCC acts as a national scale-up facility to bridge the gap between fundamental, laboratory-scale research and full-scale industrial trials. For more information on the AMCC and AMPC please see below.

AMCC and AMPC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With £17.4 million of support from the EPSRC, Brunel University London and industry, we opened the Advanced Metals Casting Centre (AMCC) on Brunel’s campus in Uxbridge in April 2016. Housing pilot and commercial metals processing equipment in a 1,500 m2 purpose-built building, the AMCC acts as a national scale-up facility to bridge the gap between fundamental, laboratory-scale research and full-scale industrial trials.

The Advanced Metal Processing Centre (a further 1500 m2) will house additional equipment to further expand our capability in the application of new technology to full scale industrial evaluation. Our latest building is due for completion in March 2017 and will contain advanced joining, measurement and characterisation technology.

In support of its industrial partners – Jaguar Land Rover, Constellium and a number of companies in the supply chain – the AMCC will initially serve the automotive industry, but the longer term aim is to make the facilities available to partners in the aerospace and other engineering sectors. Industrial partners will continue to work with the Future LiME Hub for long term basic research, and then through the AMCC/AMPC to scale laboratory developed technologies up to the production demonstrator scale thus shortening the time to bring laboratory discoveries to market.

This is important as technologies often do not progress across the so-called “valley of death” between fundamental research and industrial application. Our facility enables a gated process of evaluation across Technology Readiness Levels (TRL’s). This risk managed process allows only scale-optimised and understood technologies to reach industrial manufacturing processes.

The major equipment installation comprises:

Casting Capability
• 450 tonne vacuum assisted HPDC
• 1600 tonne vacuum assisted HPDC
• 600kg aluminium dosing furnace
• 500kg magnesium dosing furnace
• 24 tonne LPDC machine
• Gravity die casting system
• Sand casting line
• Direct Chill casting unit capable casting billets with 205 mm diameter and 2m length
• 1 TRC unit for Al strip
• 2 TRC units for Mg thin strip

Processing Capability
• 350 tonne extrusion press
• 1600 tonne extrusion line
• 3D Freeform bending machine
• Cold Metal Transfer Welding
• Electro-magnetic pulse forming-welding machine
• Micro and Macro CT Scanning Equipment
• GOM Metrology System
• Heat treatment furnaces
• Machining facilities: CNC, CMM

 

To view the development of the AMPC please view our flickr album.

Spoke facilities

Imperial College London

Casting and Crystal Growth Facilities:
•             Arc melting, induction melting, resistance melting
•             Directional Solidification (Bridgman growth to 1800°C)

Materials Characterisation:
•             Electron Microscopy (SEM and TEM) including SEM based EBSD and EDX
•             Ion-beam Microscopy (FIB-SIMS, tof-SIMS LEIS, and FIB-SEM tomography)
•             Thermal Analysis (DSC, dilatometry, and cooling curve analysis)
•             Synchrotron radiography based at SPring-8, Japan.

Within the Imperial spoke there is a focus on the development of computational tools for experimental data analysis including: EBSD datasets, synchrotron radiograph sequences, and tomography datasets.