Nuffield Research Placements 2018: Rolls-Royce plc and Edinburgh Napier University
Component Surface Engineering
Surface engineering changes the way in which the surface of a material reacts with its surrounding environment. Enhancing the surface properties of engineering components is a widely used approach in both the aerospace and automotive industries. Plasma nitriding is a thermochemical surface engineering process employed to enhance the wear resistance and fatigue strength of steel components. In the modern gas turbine engine the process is applied to critical rotating components in order to enhance their performance during service. This research project was initiated to characterise the structure and wear resistance properties obtained following the application of the plasma nitride process.
Component test pieces were processed and analysed in the engineering laboratory at Rolls-Royce (Inchinnan). The coating thickness measurements and micro hardness survey results obtained from test pieces substantiate the existing process knowledge, which relates the coating uniformity to the surface area of the component features. Additional process knowledge was obtained by utilising specialised wear testing apparatus carried out at Edinburgh Napier University. The test piece analysis methods used provide a good model for future engineering research into the structure and properties of plasma nitride coatings. This is a collaborative research project led by Rolls-Royce plc (Inchinnan) and supported by Edinburgh Napier University.
Student – Asmaa Zaki Notre Dame High School, Glasgow.
Rolls-Royce plc (Inchinnan)
Supervisors – Dr Andrew Russell, Dr Gordon Cunningham, Dr Neil Shearer