School of Mechanical & Mining Engineering

Kinetic metallization system (cold spray)

Kinetic metallization (KM) is the most recent and the most promising cold spraying technique that can be performed in the temperature range from room temperature to 350°C.  KM technology is different from conventional cold spray in two respects.  Firstly, KM uses a sonic nozzle, while cold spray uses a supersonic nozzle with velocity in the range 500 to 1600 m/s.  The lower spray speed ensures a uniform coating rate and uniform distribution in the coating layer.  KM generates dense, porosity-free and highly bonded coating on all types of metal substrate with improved surface durability.

Plasma arc melting system

This is the most advanced melting facility allowing fast melting of almost all metals, including titanium alloys, magnesium alloys, steels and even tungsten.  Melting treatment and casting can be conducted in an enclosed chamber with protection of inert gas.  It can be used to development of new alloys and new casting processes.

Surface nanocrystallization system

The surface mechanical attrition treatment (SMAT) system enables generation of thick nanostructured layers on metals with significantly improved surface properties, such as wear resistance and corrosion resistance.  It can also be used as pre-treatment for low temperature surface alloying process.  The basic principle of SMAT is the generation of plastic deformation in the surface layer of a bulk material by means of the repeated, multidirectional, impact of flying stainless steel balls on the sample surface. The plastic deformation in the surface layer and the high strain rate results in a progressive refinement of coarse grains into the nanometre scale.

Advanced transmission electron microscopy (TEM) specimen preparation facilities

The laboratories within this group are equipped with a number of advanced TEM specimen preparation facilities.  This includes the precision ion polishing system (PIPS), twin-jet polisher, precious diamond cutting machine and dimple grinder.