Electroforming of Large Scale Nickel Structures for Leading Edge Energy, Aerospace and Marine Applications

Academic Institution: University of Strathclyde

Academic Supervisor: Professor Sudipta Roy

Industry Partner: Doncasters Bramah

PhD Student: Eleni Andreou

Start Date: Jan ‘19

Abstract

Electroforming is a chemical method of additive manufacturing. In this process clean electricity is used to grow a metallic product on a mandrel – hence this is classified as electrochemical additive manufacturing. The strengths of this process is high energy and resource efficiency coupled with low power consumption. Current techniques rely on traditional chemistry and processing methods, which restricts its exploitation. This project aims to push the boundaries electroformed parts through leading edge electrochemical engineering. The work will examine and optimise electrolyte chemistry and electrochemical reactors and couple them with latest modelling methods to develop bespoke parts which have until now never been manufactured using this process.

Experimental investigation of solution chemistries will provide information on key parameters which can influence a formed product; these data will be used to optimise reactor design enabling the formation of “impossible to manufacture parts”. State-of-the-art modelling techniques (COMSOL-electrodeposition), will be combined with experimental data to validate models. Furthermore, a mask-less microfabrication technique will be used to manufacture parts with high precision.

SRPe