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X-rays and neutrons entering the metals and manufacturing industries

Laboratory facilities ready for the metal industry.
Laboratory facilities within Lund University and Chalmers University will be used to prepare experiments using X-rays or neutrons. Picture from the PME-lab at Lund University. Courtesy of Jan-Eric Ståhl.

Researchers from the two Strategic Research Areas NanoLund and SPI (Sustainable Production Initiative, Chalmers and Lund University) have joined forces in a new collaboration together with major Swedish companies from the metals and manufacturing industries. The project aims to facilitate and improve the industry’s use of MAX IV and ESS through direct collaborations between industrial and academic researchers.

The societal demand for metals is continuously increasing. So is the crucial need – from a sustainability perspective – to develop new products that are lighter, more energy efficient, last longer and can eventually be recycled.

The unique capabilities of MAX IV and ESS represent a huge leap forward in our ability to study important scientific questions concerning properties of different materials. This can give novel insights into fundamental industrial challenges. However, integrating these new methods into the research and development cycle of the companies is a challenge, as it involves bridging all technical readiness levels (TRLs) from basic science to industrial utilization.

Increasing customer satisfaction

One of the partners in the project – which was launched in early March – is Sandvik SRP, a leader in manufacturing manganese wear parts designed to withstand excessive loading and harsh environmental conditions in mining and construction sites. Sandvik is specifically interested in developing high wear resistant materials and hence increase the lifetime of the wear parts. 

“Our participation in this project will allow us to investigate closely the material behavior and the different mechanisms which take place during operation. The knowledge gained will help us to improve both composition and design of our inhouse materials and increase our customer satisfaction,” says Latifa Melk, PhD, Materials Development Expert at Sandvik SRP.

Academic research and hands-on experience – a powerful collaboration

The project, which runs for four years, aims to tackle fundamental research challenges identified together with the industry partners within areas such as next generation cutting tools, combining materials (brazing and soldering), control of surface properties, and new materials for additive manufacturing. It will include research and collaboration between researchers and industry on the complete production process: from project design, implementation, analysis to impacts on products.

“Hands-on experience from addressing hands-on problems is a powerful way to demonstrate how companies can access large-scale research facilities through collaborations with academic research”, says the project coordinator Professor Anders Mikkelsen.

Knowledge and lessons learned from the project will be communicated in collaboration with Jernkontoret, Big Science Sweden, LINXS and the industrial liaison offices of MAX IV and ESS.

The project Metals and manufacturing @ next generation sources: Bridging the gap from basic science to production for the metals and manufacturing industry is funded by the Swedish Research Council.

The Swedish Research Council