Supervisors: Dr Andrew Ang (Swinburne), Associate Professor Scott Wade (Swinburne)
Thesis title: Development of thermal spray coatings onto novel substrates
Thesis synopsis: Engineering materials exposed to marine environments encounter several in-service challenges because they are constantly in contact with an environment dominated, mainly by, alkaline seawater moisture and a three-dimensional high-stress impact of sea pressure and waves, which initiates hydrostatic pressures and material fatigue, corrosion and material degradation. Thermal spray surface metallisation and modification has shown the ability to enhance wear resistance, provide thermal insulation, improve structural/mechanical properties, enhance corrosion resistance, and improved part service life of various structures and components. These coatings have traditionally been applied to standard metallic substrates in many applications. Industries have been increasingly looking towards different light weight substrate materials/designs for manufacturing their products and developing coatings that can allow structures and components to be used in extreme environments, without compromising structural integrity and operational efficiency.
Thermal spray coating onto composites has shown promising potential for use in specific applications that require a high strength-to-weight ratio (specific strength), high stiffness and fatigue resistance such as aerospace, marine and structural applications. However, issues such as erosion of the substrate surface, thermal degradation and insufficient coating adhesion/cohesion bond strength remain challenging in the metallisation/functionalisation of PMCs using thermal spray. This research project seeks to functionalise the surface of a marine composite substrate via thermal spray coating to augment its surface properties by improving its resistance against deterioration, wear, corrosion, improving conductivity, and thermal protection, thereby reducing the susceptibility to In-service failure.
Alexander Ugwechi Osi completed a Bachelor of Engineering in material science and metallurgical engineering, with honours, at the department of material and metallurgical engineering, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, and later completed his Master of Engineering in manufacturing, with distinction at the Department for Mechanical, Materials, and Manufacturing Engineering, RMIT University. Alexander developed an interest in materials science and metallurgical engineering as a teenager, when he saw the catastrophic collapse of a newly constructed building down his street, killing two people and injuring three others, due to material failure and lack of proper engineering. Among other personal experiences, that incident stimulated his curiosity for engineering materials and material failure analysis. He gradually developed a passion for studying the causes of material failures, subsequently completing formal education in the area.