17 April 2023

Ferrous Metallurgy Symposium continues to thrive

On Tuesday 28 February Armourers Hall, London, played host to the 6th Annual Postgraduate Research Symposium on Ferrous Metallurgy.

Jonathan Hale and Anna Tholen © Materials Processing Institute


The event, organised by the Materials Processing Institute in collaboration with the Armourers and Brasiers’ Company and our own IOM3 Iron and Steel Group, provides the perfect opportunity for postgraduate students from industry and academia to showcase their research.

The poster and presentation sessions were over-subscribed again this year and the Hall hosted a full-house of enthusiastic folk that were keen to find out about the latest developments in steel research. After a brief welcome from Jon Bolton, Chairman of the Materials Processing Institute, the first session, ably chaired by Dr Richard Thackray MIMMM of the University of Sheffield, commenced. The session focussed on the development of products and applications and featured three presentations from students from the universities of Warwick, Swansea and Loughborough covering the development of a segregation-neutralised dual phase steel for improved formability, the effect of antimony additions on the microstructure and performance of automotive Zn-Al-Mg steel coatings, and evaluation of metallurgical risk factors in post-test, advanced 9% Cr creep strength enhanced ferritic steel. 

After a drink and the first opportunity to take a look at the posters and speak to their creators, the second session began. Gill Thornton, R&D Manager, at Liberty Powder Metals Ltd, chaired the session on process development. Presenters from the universities of Warwick, Leicester and Swansea informed the audience of their research into the effect of high FeOx-containing material dissolution in HIsarna steel, the effects of deep cryogenic treatment on a PVD-TiN coated M2 high speed steel, and the road to net-zero – the testing of a new hybrid fuel for sintering.

Over a delightful lunch delegates had the opportunity to network and have a further look at the poster presentations.  This year there were twenty one posters on display, the highest number to date, and it was great to see such a wealth of topics covered from every stage of the steel life cycle. It was also good to see a number of projects focussing on circularity within the industry. Before the final session commenced, Chris Pilgrim, Knowledge Transfer Manager – Materials, at Innovate UK gave a fascinating talk on how early career professionals can help transform industry for a better future.

The final session presentation session focussed on the development of techniques and fundamental knowledge. The Chair, Professor Hongbaio Dong FREng CEng FIMMM of the University of Leicester, introduced presentations on a rapid CCT predictor for low alloy steels and its application to compositionally heterogeneous material, oxidation of a dual phase steel during rapid alloy prototyping, gigacycle fatigue performance of steel welds, and the avoidance of hydrogen-assisted cold cracking in multi-pass weld metal from students studying at Manchester, Swansea, Strathclyde and Leicester respectively. 

After a final chance to view the posters, Dr Laura Baker CEng FIMMM Chair of the IOM3 Iron and Steel Group, announced the winners of the 2022 IOM3 Personal Achievement Awards relating to ferrous metallurgy. The Dowding Medal & Prize was presented to Stuart Leflay, the Stokoweic Medal & Prize was presented to Cathy Bell, and the Tom Colclough Medal & Prize was presented to Dr Philp Kirkwood. Sadly, Dr Sara Hornby CEng FIMMM was unable to attend to collect the Hadfield Metal & Prize, but Bob Ruddlestone a previous Chairman of the Materials Processing Institute kindly stepped in to collect it on her behalf. The presentation of awards concluded with a virtual handover of the prestigious Bessemer Gold Medal to Professor Robertus Boon CEng FIMMM who proceeded to give his Bessemer Lecture entitled ‘Collaboration to boost evolution and revolution in iron and steelmaking’; IOM3 President, Dr Kate Thornton CEng CSci FIMMM followed this with a formal vote of thanks.

The formal proceedings for the day concluded with the presentation of prizes. Jon Bolton presented the Millman Scholarship to Lauren Skidmore who is currently studying Civil Engineering at Teesside University and the Ashok Kumar Fellowship, run by the Materials Processing Institute in conjunction with the IChemE and Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), to Josh Fearns who recently graduated from the University of Surrey with an MEng in Chemical and Petroleum Engineering.

Finally, Jonathan Hale, Master of the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers presented the best poster prize to Anna Tholen from Loughborough University for her poster entitled ‘In-situ tempering to improve the metallurgy of additively manufactured tool steel components’, and the runner up presentation prize to Andrew England from the University of Strathclyde for his talk on ‘Gigacycle fatigue performance of steel welds’. 

The best presentation prize was awarded to Joshua Collins from the University of Manchester for his presentation on ‘A rapid CCT predictor for low alloy steels and its application to compositionally heterogeneous material’. The judges, Professor Bill Bonfield of the University of Cambridge, and a past master and past chair of the Materials Science Committee at the Armourers Company, Dr Mike Goulette, also a past master and past chair of the Materials Science Committee, Dr Diane Aston, Head of Education and Professional Development here at IOM3, and Dr Stuart Millman a retired Principal Researcher at the Materials Processing Institute, agreed that Josh managed to convey a very challenging technical topic in an engaging and accessible way, but thanked all the contributors for their excellent submissions.

The organisers would like to thank the sponsors, Tata Steel, M2A Coated, the UKRI Interdisciplinary Centre for Cast Metals, Sheffield Forgemasters, UK Metals Council, the Cast Metals Federation, and the Henry Royce Centre at The University of Sheffield for their support of the event, and the staff at Armourers Hall for their incredible hospitality. Registrations and sponsorship opportunities for the 7th Ferrous Metallurgy Symposium on 27 February 2024 will open shortly and researchers are invited to submit applications to present a presentation or poster. For more information contact [email protected] or visit mpiuk.com/postgraduate-research-symposium.htm.

Dr Diane Aston FIMMM
Head of Education & Professional Development