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Optimisation of Next Generation Galvanising Pot Hardware

Key Information

Please note that this project is a PhD, and is not an EngD project.


Academic: Prof David Penney

Industrial: Dr Rhys Faulkner

Project Brief:

Continuous Galvanising (CG) is an incredibly important manufacturing process used to make car panels, building cladding, white goods and much more. It involves the heat treatment and dipping of strip steel into a bath of molten zinc alloy at speeds of up to 180m/min. Modern automotive grade galvanising lines are increasingly focused on optimising galvanising line hardware to deliver increasing production yields whilst maintain very stringent quality requirements.

A series of submerged rolls guide the strip steel in and out of the molten metal bath. These rolls have to survive in this challenging environment and operate with minimal vibrations, which is detrimental to the galvanised coating quality. The galvanising line is able to continually operate for up to a five-week period, after which the hardware must be replaced. Therefore, the pot hardware itself can be considered a bottleneck to production and quality; if the operational capacity of hardware components were increased the financial incentive and hardware lifetime increases would be significant.

This project will consider the next generation of materials, both metallic and ceramic for use as submerged hardware components in Tata Steel Europe’s galvanising baths. The project aims to develop pot hardware which will use the latest generation of materials that minimise reactivity with the molten metal spelter. The key learning objectives for the project will be to understand the fundamental reactions between materials and the liquid metal, and to try and suppress these reactions to the point of virtual inertness. This will create a material suitable for novel hardware and roll bearing designs and other hardware coating applications in the galvanising pot.

Research activities will focus primarily on experimental testing of prospective materials with static immersion testing inside molten zinc. The project will also involve full scale dynamic wear testing of components using Swansea University’s bespoke new wear testing equipment. For both static immersion and dynamic wear testing, the project will conduct material characterisation to analyse materials and interactions.

The project is a research collaboration between Swansea University’s College of Engineering and Tata Steel research and development. The primary location of the research will be on Swansea University's Bay Campus, with additional opportunity for larger scale work at the nearby Steels and Metals Institute based on Singleton Campus.

Potential students will be expected to work closely with the industrial partner, making use of Tata’s laboratory capabilities where required in the project, and to engage with Tata’s ZODIAC galvanising lines in Newport, South Wales. There will be an opportunity to attend international conferences and an expectation of publications in international journals.

Before submitting an application for the project, please see our Hints & Tips document which can be found here.

Please note that this project can begin either in January 2021, or at the earlier date of October 2020 provided prompt submission of your application and successful interview.

Sponsoring Company Tata Steel Europe
Company Website Eligibility

Candidates should hold a minimum of an upper second class (2:1) honours degree (or its equivalent) in Materials Engineering or similar discipline.

We would normally expect the academic and English Language requirements (IELTS 6.5 overall with 5.5+ in each component) to be met by point of application. For details on the University’s English Language entry requirements, please visit – http://www.swansea.ac.uk/admissions/english-language-requirements/

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to UK/EU candidates only (EU nationals are required to be ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the scholarship).


This scholarship is funded by EPSRC iCASE Award and TATA Steel, which covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of £15,285.

There will be additional funds available for research expenses.

Closing Date 19 October 2020

Start Date January 2021

Apply Now

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