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Waikato PhD research to strengthen titanium industry

4 September, 2014

Waikato PhD research to strengthen titanium industry

Finding out how powder-produced titanium and titanium alloys fracture is the challenge for University of Waikato PhD student Ajit Pal Singh.

The titanium industry has taken off and products are being increasingly used in engineering applications due to their remarkable and distinctive combination of physical and metallurgical properties. Titanium and its alloys are well known for their low density, high strength, excellent corrosion resistance and good biocompatibility with human tissues.

“My PhD research is part of the Waikato Centre for Advance Materials (WaiCAM) group which is focusing on the powder metallurgy of titanium alloys at the University of Waikato to produce near net shaped titanium products,” says Ajit.

The aim of Ajit’s PhD project is to improve the understanding of the effects of residual impurities and microstructure on the fracture behaviour of titanium and titanium alloys produced by powder metallurgy. “Currently I’m working toward establishing relationships between processing conditions, microstructure and mechanical properties (particularly toughness) of Ti-6Al-4V alloy produced by powder compact extrusion.”

The outcomes of PhD research commenced by Ajit will contribute toward the large collaborative research efforts undertaken within New Zealand by organisations such as the University of Waikato, Titanium Industry Development Association (TiDA), Callaghan Innovation, GNS Science and the University of Auckland to develop different aspects of titanium technologies.
Ajit moved to New Zealand from India after completing his secondary schooling in Hoshiarpur (Punjab). He began his studies at the University of Waikato with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (BE(Hons)) in the Mechanical Engineering programme.
“One of the highlights of the BE(Hons) was the work placements completed as part of the degree. I completed summer placements with Callaghan Innovation (formerly Industrial Research Limited), based in Wellington, which gave me the confidence to undertake a PhD.”
Ajit also rates his final year undergraduate design project as a great experience. “Working in a team we undertook a feasibility study, using sea-based wave energy extraction technology from Sweden. The aim was to evaluate, design and build a small working prototype to demonstrate the technology under New Zealand conditions.”

“I chose to stay at Waikato University for my PhD for many reasons, including a doctoral scholarship, the encouragement I received from WaiCAM director Professor Brian Gabbitas and the fact that with good grades I was able to begin a PhD without a masters degree.”
Throughout his PhD Ajit has also had the opportunity to be involved in undergraduate teaching (in the form of lectures, laboratory workshops and tutorials). In addition he has written multiple research papers, one of which was presented at the TMS-2014 international conference in San Diego earlier this year.

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