Issue date: 17 October 2002

Process Modelling in powder metallurgy and particulate materials
Newport Beach, California 28/29 October 2002

If computer modelling of the specialist engineering process called powder metallurgy had been invented in the 19th century the odds are on that the Titanic would have made her maiden voyage without mishap.

UWE powder metallurgy researcher, Dr Lyndon Smith is the EU chair of the 2002 International conference on process modelling, which takes place in California at the end of October. This conference is the only international event bringing together experts in the field of process modelling using powder metallurgy and particulate materials.

Dr Smith explains, “The process used by manufacturers to make components for cars, ships and aeroplanes features powdered metal compressed in a high pressure press and sintered (heated) to 80% of its melting point to increase strength. The powdered metal is formed into shape in the press and then inter-particle welding occurs whilst the metal is being sintered.”

“Component strength is determined by the final density of the material. At the UWE vision laboratory we measure the size and shape of the powder particles using machine vision, and then model them using computer techniques. This is important since it enables us to predict how the powder characteristics will effect the density of the metal powder and hence the final density of the part.”

“We also carry out laboratory experiments to assess the strength and toughness of metals formed using powder metallurgy that have various densities and compositions. It is highly likely that the metals we can now engineer would have stood up to hitting a glacier.”

The conference will bring together delegates from around the world including research engineers, metallurgists and materials scientists, applications specialists, marketing and sales executives and Chief Executives

“This conference will provide a unique opportunity for those of us involved in this specialist arena to share experience and ideas,” says Dr Smith. “ Powder metallurgy and particulate materials have made significant strides in the process development over the last two decades with empirical approaches to optimisation. It is now timely to exploit process modelling and this conference will address its potential in the near future.”


Editor’s notes

Process Modelling in powder metallurgy and particulate materials takes place at Hyatt Newport, Newport Beach, California on 28 and 29 October 2002.

Dr Lyndon N. Smith: Senior Lecturer and Senior Research Fellow at UWE. Areas of particular interest include: machine vision applications, computer simulation, design materials and process advice, powder metallurgy, and the 3D modelling of surface features and irregularities. Expertise includes neural network modelling of the effects of particle size and shape distributions on packing behaviour. Techniques developed that are of particular relevance to the collaborative project include 3-dimensional modelling (based on random number simulations), of complex morphologies. Lyndon Smith obtained degrees in Physics (BSc Hons) and Metrology (MSc) before being awarded a PhD in Knowledge Based System Technology for Manufacture. In 1998 and 1999 he was employed as Director of Computer Simulation in the Engineering Science and Mechanics Department at The Pennsylvania State University in the USA. His research has been reported in refereed journal papers, and technical presentations at various international locations, with a current career total of over forty publications. Key responsibilities at UWE include research, lecturing, and tutoring in computer and machine vision applications in manufacturing (including successful past and current PhD supervisions). Dr Smith has applied for, and been awarded, research funding from a range of organisations in the UK, USA, and Europe. He is currently a grant holder on two EPSRC grants, including a recently funded travel grant for enabling the proposed collaboration with Auburn and Pittsburgh (identification code: GR/S11572/01). He is the EU organising chairman for an international process modelling conference that is being held in Newport Beach CA, USA in October 2002. Lyndon Smith was invited to be included in Marquis Who's Who in Science and Engineering, and is listed in the 2002/2003 edition.

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