Industry-centred research projects
The purpose of the APESA Engineering Industry Doctorate (EID) is to train Early Stage Researchers (ESR) in an industry-centred research environment that will equip them with the range of scientific, engineering, business and transferable skills that they will need to convert their R&D into commercially successful products and services.
Because the EID research is industry-centered, it will enhance the research capability and competitiveness of Weir Minerals Netherlands (WMNL) and will provide GEHO® pumps with a clear and distinct advantage over their OEM (original equipment manufacturers) competitors and replicators.
The research theme of the EID is Advanced Pump Engineering for Severe Applications. During its working life, a pump is subject to a range of material damage mechanisms.These are broadly classed as erosion, corrosion and corrosion fatigue, however the nature of the mechanisms arising can vary greatly and may interact and combine to cause more severe damage than consideration of the individual mechanisms may indicate.
Making sense of this complex behaviour requires an understanding of the behaviour of the slurry pump as a whole: the properties of the pump materials; the size, shape and concentration of the solid particles in the slurry; the chemical nature of the slurry; the effect of pump flow path design on slurry impingement velocity and angles; potential regions of flow cavitation; etc. This is by definition a multidisciplinary problem.
The proposed research programme has three over-arching research objectives:
- Damage mechanisms: Investigate, characterise and quantify the causes and effects of the mechanisms that limit the operating life of positive displacement slurry pumps.
- Predictive models: Develop models with better predictive power for these damage mechanisms based on experimental studies, analytical modelling and numerical modelling, as appropriate.
- Damage mitigation: Investigate potential strategies/processes/procedures for implementation during design/manufacture, to optimise the use of material and maximise the operating life of pumps and components.
The objectives will be addressed through five ESR projects designed to meet the academic requirements of an individual PhD thesis. Together, these will represent a coherent interdisciplinary investigation of the industry-critical research challenges identified by WMNL.