Samuel A McDonald and Philip J Withers

samuel-mcdonaldFor their paper: ‘Combining X-ray microtomography and three-dimensional digital volume correlation to track microstructure evolution during sintering of copper powder’, published in the Institution’s journal, The Journal of Strain Analysis for Engineering Design, Vol 49(4), pp 257–269.

Using 3D X-ray imaging to follow the evolution of particle microstructure during sintering of copper powder in real time, the authors have analysed how a powder assembly deforms during sintering. They have produced 3D image sequences of the microstructure showing local densification during consolidation, and can measure heterogeneities in the internal strain associated with significant changes in local densification or shrinkage and, therefore, predict where shrinkage cracking may occur.

The innovative study combines X-ray imaging and digital volume correlation techniques to measure and quantify the local strains, and the findings will aid development and provide validation of numerical models of the sintering process, thus helping to optimise the manufacture, and ultimately the mechanical performance, of powder-processed engineering components.

Sam McDonald believes that engineering can have a significant impact on people’s lives. “Energy resources are an increasingly important issue in everyday life. The optimisation of materials performance and the design of new and advanced materials will make an important contribution to the big challenges faced by the energy sector regards safety, reliability, performance and clean energy production.”

“I am delighted to win this award, and proud to be recognised for making a contribution of interest to the engineering community,” Sam says. “Winning an award is really motivating and encourages you to push the boundaries further with more intensive and innovative research efforts.”

Find out more about the George Stephenson Gold Medal Award.

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