Supervisors: Dr Andrew Ang (Swinburne), Associate Professor Scott Wade
Thesis title: Development of thermal spray coatings onto novel substrates
Thesis synopsis: Marine composites encounter several In-service challenges because they are constantly in contact with an environment that is largely dominated by a high concentration of alkalinity, chlorine (Cl-) sodium (Na+) Potassium (K+), Calcium (Ca+2) and Magnesium (Mg+2) genera atmosphere, seawater moisture, extreme temperatures and a three-dimensional high-stress impact sea waves, which initiates hydrostatic pressures, erosion, abrasion, friction and material fatigue. This impact can induce large scale corrosion, deterioration, wear, and in-service failure in marine composite materials like deterioration on vessels propulsion systems, fatigue or fractures on hull structures, ware on the bows and stern. This effect has a significant overreaching consequence spanning from an increase in hydrodynamic friction of vessels, reducing proportionally the movement of vessels and correspondingly escalating vessel drag. Hence the need for a high performance, structurally stable, high strength, high stiffness, wear/abrasion resistant, high impact, as well as corrosion-resistant materials to attain optimal structural integrity, stealth, shock/blast resistance, and durability in marine applications has prompted the rise of surface protection on marine composites because the failure of marine composite is mostly initialized from the surface of the material. This research project seeks to functionalise the surface of a novel substrate for marine application via thermal spray coating to augment their surface properties by improving their resistance against deterioration, wear, corrosion, conductivity and thermal protection thereby reducing the susceptibility to In-service failure.
Alexander Osi Ugwechi 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 of Mechanical, Materials, and Manufacturing Engineering, RMIT University. Alexander developed interest in materials science and metallurgical engineering, when he lost his favourite uncle to limb cancer developed as a result of infection from the prosthetic limb. That stimulated his curiosity for engineering materials and biomedical implants. He gradually developed a passion for studying the causes of material failures, subsequently completing formal education in the area.