The Centre for Doctoral Training in Innovative Metal Processing (IMPaCT) is a CDT that is supported by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) which is part of UK Research and Innovation.

IMPaCT is a consortium between 3 universities within the midlands. The lead institution is the University of Leicester and its partners include the University of Birmingham and the University of Nottingham.

As well as the support from EPSRC, IMPaCT also has support from various industrial sponsors, more information on these can be found here

Further information on IMPaCT can be found below, along with links to information on themes within the centre, information on directors, current students and information on each of the universities.

Research Themes
Current Students

The metals industry accounts for 46% of all EU manufacturing value and 11% of the EU’s total GDP. This equates to an added value of about €1.3 trillion annually, or €3.5 billion per day in the EU*.

In addition to economic value, the metals industry provides a significant contribution to a number of the future challenges facing society, e.g. the modernisation and energy efficiency of transport systems, the promotion of security and consumer safety for energy generation.

It has been pointed out by many companies in the UK, however, that the lack of well-trained metals engineers remains a major concern for high-value manufacturing industry, e.g. aero-space, power generation, gas and oil, offshore engineering sectors.

IMPaCT is born out of our recognition of a national and strategic need for training future leaders who are able to fully exploit and deploy innovative metal processing techniques in industry.

IMPaCT brings together world-class metals research teams from the universities of Leicester, Birmingham and Nottingham along with industrial and international partners. The Centre has secured significant financial support from EPSRC, the three universities and our industrial partners including Alstom Power, Doncasters Group, Rolls-Royce, ESI Group, STFC, Tata Steel, TWI and Welding Alloys.

IMPaCT is part of a £350 million initiative to train post graduate students in engineering and physical sciences, announced by the UK Universities and Science Minister in November 2013. Training in the Centre will has a broad coverage of metal processing themes, such as single crystal casting, dissimilar welding, net-shape forming, surface engineering and nanomaterial synthesis.

The first year includes Master level training modules hosted across the three Universities and affiliate research facilities, along with the start of professional development training that will continue throughout the course.

The next 3 years follow a research PhD within one of the themes working along side our industry partners, with IMPaCT providing academic supervision and continued training in transferable skills.

Beyond this, there are an array of student-led events organised by IMPaCT, e.g. mini-symposia, workshops and summer schools, where you can form interdisciplinary networks and collaborations.

The strategic vision of IMPACT is to train the future technical leaders in metal processing with the required combination of experimental, analytical, computational and professional skills that are needed to lead innovation.

This multi-disciplinary training programme aims to provide students from different disciplines with coherent knowledge of a range of metal processing technologies and develop their expertise in solving industrially relevant problems, to enable the UK manufacturing industry to remain the most innovative and greatest value added globally.

IMPACT will provide PhD students with an intensive four-year postgraduate training and prepare future research leaders to tackle the challenges in the metal processing industry.

The centre is key to the UK’s and EPSRC’s strategic investment in manufacturing for aerospace and energy industry, to maintain the UK as a world leader in aerospace and energy generation by increasing competitiveness.

As mentioned about the CDT is a consortium between the University of Leicester, the University of Birmingham and the University of Nottingham.

Each university has a respective director. Information on each director can be found below.

The operations director is based at the lead institution and is responsible for the day to day running of the CDT, and is also responsible for their host institution, the other two directors are responsible for their institutions and the three work closely together to run the consortium.

The scientific director is responsible for the overall CDT and its strategic vision with industry.

Links to individual directors are below:

Simon Gill
Hongbiao Dong
Hanshan Dong
Katy Voisey

Dr Gill’s work is concerned with the development and application of novel numerical techniques for modelling the mechanics and evolution of material systems.

He has strong interdisciplinary research interests in mechanics, applied maths, structural materials and condensed matter physics. His research interests cover a range of academic and applied activities.

Work on the fundamental understanding of microstructural processes in structural materials includes formation of electrodeposited, hard alloy coatings; evolution of porous structures in nuclear materials and diffusive crack growth in structural ceramics.

He has collaborated with many industrial partners, including Alstom Power, National Physics Laboratory, QinetiQ, Doosan Babcock, E.On and the National Tribology Centre. This industrially-led work included modelling of phase transformations; analysis of the fatigue tolerance; and the development of constitutive models, mainly for nickel-based superalloys.

He is also interested in the mechanics and morphology of nanostructures, especially under the influence of elastic strain. He teaches two core IMPaCT modules in semester one: EG7101 Thermodynamics and Phase Diagrams and EG7102 Kinetics and Microstructure Modelling.

Further Info

Prof. Dong obtained his BEng and MEng degrees from University of Science and Technology Beijing, and his DPhil from the University of Oxford in 2000.

He joined the Department of Engineering at the University of Leicester in 2004 as Lecturer, was promoted to Senior Lecturer, Reader and Professor. His research aims to bring knowledge-inspired decision making to the production routes of high value-added components, such as aero-engine turbine blades, deep-sea oil and gas transport systems.

He is a specialist in metal processing, in particular in the areas of processing Ni-base alloys for gas turbine engines, welding techniques for deep sea gas and oil transportation systems. He has expertise in experimental and modelling study of structure evolution and defect formation during casting and welding.

Experimental expertise includes industrial scale casting, welding and the application of synchrotron and neutron diffraction/imaging of structure and stress during metal processing; his modelling expertise ranges from atomistic-scale materials modelling to macro-scale casting and components life prediction.

In the last five years he successfully led a major FP7 project on Modelling Interface Evolution in Advanced Welding (MintWeld) project. He is a recipient of the Metrology for World Class Manufacturing award and a past Royal Society Industry Fellow at Rolls-Royce.

Further Info
theme leader hanshan dong

Prof. Hanshan Dong is Professor of Surface Engineering and Leader of Birmingham Surface Engineering Group (BSEG) at the University of Birmingham. The BSEG was the first multi-disciplinary research group to be committed to the subject of surface engineering and continuous to be one of the world’s premier research centres in surface engineering in general and plasma surface engineering in particular.

Prof. Dong is a leading expert in developing novel surface engineering technologies (such as S-phase surface engineering, ceramic conversion, active-screen plasma), surface engineering design and modelling, micro/nano surface patterning and characterisation of surface engineered materials (such as environmental nanoindentation and FIB/SEM/TEM surface & interface analysis).

He won the Harvey Flower Titanium Prize 2004 awarded by IoM3 ‘in recognition of his contribution to the science and technology of surface engineering of titanium alloys’. He is active in international surface engineering activities including visiting professorships, plenary and invited lectures to major international conferences, organisation of national and international conferences and is on the editorial board of academic journals.

Further Info

Dr Katy Voisey is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering at The University of Nottingham. Her research is based on three main areas: corrosion, coatings and laser processing of materials.

Katy is also the space lead at the university’s Institute for Aerospace Technologies where she is interested in how The University of Nottingham can better engage with the expanding UK space industry.

Katy started off as a physicist, and was in the first cohort of the 4 year MSci physics course at Cambridge. She enjoyed studying materials during the first two years of the course so she did a PhD on laser drilling in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy.

Her laser work was extended by a 2 year postdoc on using laser surface melting and alloying for corrosion prevention in the Corrosion and Protection centre in what was UMIST (now part of the University of Manchester). Katy moved to Nottingham to take up her lectureship in 2005.

Further Info