Optimising hydraulic descaling and water spray cooling during hot rolling at Tata Port Talbot.

Key Information

Supervisors: Prof P Nithiarasu and Dr Vladimir Basabe.

During hot rolling of steel strip, scales can generate surface defects. Hydraulic descaling is utilised to remove scales, to prevent defects and ensure the quality of the final product. In general, three types of scales grow through hot rolling mill operations:

Primary Scale of 2-3mm thickness is formed during slab reheating and is subsequently removed in the first descaling operation.

Secondary Scale is formed after the first descaling and grows fast in the roughing mill. Secondary scale is removed by high pressure water jets during the reversing roughing mill or before the strip enters the finishing mill.

Tertiary Scale is formed between the finishing mill descaler and the first finishing stand, between stands in the finishing strip mill and also after the stock exits the last stand of the finishing strip mill.

Inefficient removal of oxides during descaling operations and / or poor water spray cooling can result in thick tertiary scales, which in turn can generate surface defects during hot rolling.

Considerable research has been conducted relating hydraulic descaling to scale thickness, descaling systems, steel temperature, steel composition and scale morphology. However, there are knowledge gaps on how above combined process parameters coupled with water spray cooling and roll cooling influence surface quality.

The Research Engineer will:

  • Design an experiment to evaluate heat transfer between roll and steel during hot rolling.
  • Develop a method of measuring impinging pressure and cooling rate for spray nozzles.
  • Evaluate relationship between spray impact pressure and cooling rate.
  • Conduct hydraulic descaling experiments of primary and secondary scales.
  • Create models of: Temperature profile of the work roll (in each stand of seven finishing stands in the finishing strip mill in Port Talbot) and, strip surface temperature. To include the effect of heat transfer coefficient at roll bite, strip temperature, water cooling, nozzle parameters, residual scale, tertiary scale, blistering of oxide films, strip speed, gauge and reductions.
  • To consider how outcomes might be utilised to support reduction of surface defects at Port Talbot.

Swansea university is a top 30 UK institution for research excellence (Research Excellence Framework 2014) and has been named Welsh University of the Year 2017 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.

The Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) in the College of Engineering is a Swansea University initiative which provides postgraduate research training in partnership with industry; providing access to world-class laboratories and a wealth of academic and industry expertise. The M2A is committed to delivering high quality collaborative research opportunities within an inclusive environment, funded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Swansea University and Industry partners. 

Interwoven through the research study are business, technical and entrepreneurial courses, designed to support and prepare participants for a senior role in industry or academia, on completion of their studies. Research Engineers may participate in our career mentoring system, offering opportunities to engage with M2A alumni and other senior staff from across the University.  

The Athena SWAN charter recognises work undertaken by institutions to advance gender equality. The College of Engineering is an Athena SWAN bronze award holder and is committee to addressing unequal gender representation.

Applications from women are particularly welcomed. As a positive action to address gender imbalance, female undergraduates considering a career in research are invited to join our two-day laboratory taster session and learn about a typical day in the life of a research engineer.


Sponsoring Company Tata Steel

We welcome applications from candidates with an Engineering or Physical Science degree (minimum level 2:1), or a combination of degree and equivalent relevant experience to the same level to join the M2A community of research engineers.

To be eligible for WEFO funding, applicants should:

  • Be a UK or EU citizen (eligible for home tuition fees at Swansea University) and have the right to work in Wales at the end of their studies.
  • Be resident within West Wales and the Valleys at the time of enrolment and for the duration of the candidature.
  • Must not be financially able to participate in study for a postgraduate research degree without the award of this funding. 

To be eligible for EPSRC funding, applicants should:

  • Be eligible for home tuition fees at Swansea University.
  • Have settled status in the UK, meaning no restrictions on the length of stay in the UK; and be ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the grant, apart from temporary or occasional absences.
  • Not have been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. This does not apply to UK nationals and EU nationals who were ordinarily resident in the EU immediately before the period of full-time education.

Full fees at Home/EU rate for a period of four academic years.

Maintenance stipend at £20K per annum for a period of four years.

Closing Date 15 March 2019

Start Date October 2019

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Informal enquiries about this studentship are welcome and may be directed by email to: M2A@swansea.ac.uk