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Review - 5th Postgraduate Research Symposium on Ferrous Metallurgy

Review - 5th Postgraduate Research Symposium on Ferrous Metallurgy

Review - 5th Postgraduate Research Symposium on Ferrous Metallurgy

Review - 5th Postgraduate Research Symposium on Ferrous Metallurgy

Review - 5th Postgraduate Research Symposium on Ferrous Metallurgy

Review - 5th Postgraduate Research Symposium on Ferrous Metallurgy



I was really impressed with the quality of presentations and posters on the day, as well as the depth and breadth of subject matter. From primary iron and steelmaking, modelling and machine learning through to advanced characterisation, the presenters showcased the amazing research that is happening right now in UK universities. This event goes from strength to strength and is now established in the calendar as one of the very best iron and steel conferences. And it was fantastic to be back in Armourers Hall.

Dr Richard Thackray MIMMM, Interim Faculty Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions - Faculty of Engineering, University of Sheffield, UK

The standard of papers was exceptional and continues to get better every year. As an industrialist in the steel sector, I was pleased to see the breadth and depth of ferrous metallurgical research being done at UK universities and the relevance to current operational and environmental issues. I personally made a connection with a student working in my area of interest and I have subsequently invited her on a plant visit to see my operation.

Gill Thornton, R&D Manager, Liberty Powder Metals Ltd

It was a joy to be back in Armourers Hall for the Symposium this year; hearing the latest developments in iron and steel technology from those starting out in their career while surrounded by historical metallurgy really is inspirational. As judges we say this every year, but the standard of the poster submissions and presentations was better than ever. Our presenters gave excellent talks on their research and the posters were all well designed, making judging exceptionally difficult! It is great to see that the symposium is building a reputation as a highly regarded event and the place to be seen presenting iron and steel research. Congratulations to all those that took part, and I’m looking forward to supporting the event again in 2023.

Dr Diane Aston, Head of Education and Professional Development, Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining

The symposium is an excellent showcase of PhD research in ferrous metallurgy. It provides an ideal channel for our PhD students to learn from each other and to inspire each other. It also provides a unique and rare opportunities for the future technical leaders to meet current industrial leaders, to follow their career path leading the UK metallurgical industry to a new level of innovation. Through running the annual symposium, the metallurgical industrial sector can attract and keep more young talent in the metallurgical industry, which is the key factor for the industry to be successful and sustainable.

Hongbiao Dong, Professor of Materials Engineering, Research Chair of Royal Academy of Engineering

The symposium is a great opportunity for researchers to showcase their work and gain support for their endeavours from the wider metallurgical community. For me as a delegate, it is a fabulously broad showcase of the latest metallurgical activity and trends in the key UK research groups and a great way to meet some new talent, as well as catch up with old acquaintances.

David Egner, Head of Business Development, Sarclad

The symposium is an excellent opportunity to network and to learn from fellow PhD students from the UK working on steel. There has always been a lively and welcoming atmosphere and there can be no better audience to give a talk to. I’ve attended the symposium as a first year PhD student and gave a talk in my third and fourth year. I strongly encourage all PhD students to attend future symposiums, not only to make friends and gain new knowledge but also to advance steel research in the UK together.

Thomas Kwok, PHD Student, Imperial College London

The 2022 symposium was a fantastic event to be a part of. Presenting my own research in the form of a poster was a privilege, especially given the high quality of the other work on display. I was able to learn a lot from the symposium and have also met other researchers from around the country that I plan to work with on future research publications. Publicising your work as a poster or presentation is a brilliant way to progress in academia, and I would thoroughly recommend the symposium to others that wish to showcase their work and develop their skills.

Dan Britton, Doctoral Research Engineer, Swansea University

Congratulations on another very successful Symposium. There was so much positive energy about the day.

Anne-Marie Clift, Chief Executive, Armourers & Brasiers’ Gauntlet Trust



The Postgraduate Research Symposium on Ferrous Metallurgy, now in its 5th year, is firmly established as one of the UK’s premier annual metallurgical events. This year, the symposium, which is organised by the Materials Processing Institute, with support from the Armourers & Brasiers Company and the Iron and Steel Group of IOM3, was able to return to its ‘home’, Armourers Hall, London, as an in-person event.

The symposium provides a forum for PhD and EngD researchers to showcase their research to industry and academia. It enables cutting-edge ferrous metallurgy research to be shared. The symposium also enables industry to highlight areas for future research and it supports the ferrous metallurgy industry and academic community in forming strong and lasting networks. The symposium was once again ‘sold out’.

Chris McDonald, CEO of the Materials Processing Institute, and Chair of the event opened proceedings and welcomed delegates. He outlined how the symposium connects the research and industrial base in ferrous materials and showcases the best of UK ferrous metallurgical research, outlining the range of activities scheduled during the day including presentations, poster displays, an exhibition and for the first time at the symposium, the awarding of medals and prizes from the Iron & Steel Group of IOM3 along with the Bessemer Lecture.

Two central activities at the symposium are the presentations and poster display from students. Applications to present this year were again oversubscribed and the poster display was the largest of any in-person symposium to date. There was good representation from UK universities engaging in high level ferrous metallurgical research.

Presentations were split over three sessions and the range of research being presented added to the appeal of the symposium across the whole ferrous metallurgy spectrum.

Session 1 was chaired by Prof Hongbiao Dong of the University of Leicester. Prof Dong is internationally renowned for his work in modelling of metal processing, digital manufacturing, solidification, and its application in additive manufacturing. 

The theme of Session 1 was Development of Products and Applications with presentations from students from the University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester, and the University of Sheffield. These presentations covered augmentation of the mechanical properties of reduced activation ferritic martensitic steels for structural application in nuclear fusion reactors; the effect of niobium on the heat affected zone of welded marine steel and the third presentation and overall winner at the symposium was delivered by Thomas Kwok of Imperial College London, and looked at how medium Mn steels have gained significant academic and industrial attention due to their low cost, high strain hardening rates. The presentation considered the Twinning Induced Plasticity and Transformation Induced plasticity effect in medium mn steels.

Session 2 was chaired by Gill Thornton, the R&D Manager for Liberty Powder Metals Ltd. 

The theme of Session 2 was Process Development with presentations from students from the University of Warwick, Loughborough University and Swansea University. The three presentations in this session covered ladle stirring monitoring for inclusion floatation; in situ heat treatment to improve the metallurgy of hot work steel alloy H123 fabricated by laser additive manufacturing; and the impact of process parameters on blast furnace dust output.

Session 3 was chaired by Dr Richard Thackray, who lectures in steelmaking at the University of Sheffield. 

The theme of this session was Development Techniques and Fundamental Knowledge, with presentations from students from the University of Leicester, Swansea University, Loughborough University, and Imperial College London. The topics covered were the prediction of mechanical properties of low-carbon hot rolled plate based on machine learning methods; the development of improved formability interstitial steels; rapid characterisation of thermally aged stainless steels for nuclear power applications; and the design of in situ cathodic charging of thermo-mechanical control process steels under flexural loading.

10 posters were on display and delegates had the opportunity to speak directly to the poster authors during the intervals. A wide range of research was displayed including minimising particulate emissions of sinter plant operations, cohesive zone models of fracture in line-pipe steel, hydrogen diffusion in pipeline steel.

Alongside the presentations and posters delegates had the opportunity to visit the sponsors exhibition area with stands provided by Tata Steel, Liberty Steel, M2A and Sheffield Forgemasters. Having a stand, enabled these exhibiting organisations to engage with many of the UK’s leading metallurgy researchers as well as industry colleagues.

For the first time symposium linked up with IOM3 to present the Iron & Steel Group Awards and the Bessemer Lecture. The following awards were presented -

• Adrian Normanton Medal - Dr Stephen Spooner, Prof Claire Davis and Dr Zushu Li

• Frank Fitzgerald Medal and Travel Award - Dr Nathan Cooze, Industrial Lecturer, Swansea University

• Dowding Medal and Prize - Joe Lee, Programme Manager, PRISM, Materials Processing Institute

• Tom Colclough Medal and Prize - Matt Green, Principal Researcher, Liberty Speciality Steels

• Stokowiec Medal and Prize - Stephen Bastow, Head of Operations, Steelmaking and Continuous Casting (SMACC), Outokumpu

• Thomas Medal and Prize - Gill Thornton, R&D Manager, Liberty Powder Metals Ltd

• Hadfield Medal and Prize - Dr David Hanlon, Scientific Fellow, Tata Steel Europe

• Gold Medal - Dr Richard Thackray, Lecturer in Sustainable Steelmaking, University of Sheffield

The Bessemer Lecture was delivered by John Ferriola, former Chairman, President and CEO of Nucor Corporation, USA who was the recipient of the 2021 IOM3 Bessemer Gold Medal. The Bessemer Gold Medal is the IOM3’s most historic Premier Award.

The Medal is awarded annually by IOM3 "for outstanding services to the steel industry, to the inventor or designer of any significant innovation in the process employed in the manufacture of steel, or for innovation in the use of steel in the manufacturing industry or the economy generally".

This lecture was delivered by John as a pre-recorded speech. The title was “The Nucor Way” and the speech focussed on the unique characteristics of the Nucor culture, how it developed and strengthened over five decades, how it empowered Nucor teammates, and the critical role it played in the financial and technological success of the company.

The awarding of prizes for presentations and posters was very keenly contested at the Symposium. The judging panel was once again made up of academic and industry experts, all of whom who had been involved in judging previous symposiums. The Head Judge was Professor Bill Bonfield, University of Cambridge, supported by Diane Aston, Head of Education and Professional Development at IOM3, Stuart Millman, a former Principal Scientist at the Materials Processing Institute and Mike Goulette, formerly of Rolls Royce and a previous Master of the Company of Armourers & Brasiers.

The judges acknowledged the very high standard of all presentations and posters with Bill Bonfield commenting that the presentations and posters had been “outstanding, which had certainly made the final awards decisions difficult”. Thomas Kwok from Imperial College London was awarded best presentation, and this follows on from his runner-up prize at the 2021 symposium. Oscar Smith from Loughborough University received the presentation runner-up award and Dan Britton from Swansea University won the award for best poster.

During the awards ceremony Amber Keegan of the University of Sheffield was presented with a certificate as the recipient of the 2022 Ashok Kumar Fellowship. This fellowship is funded by the Materials Processing Institute and The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and provides a three-month placement working alongside policymakers in the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST).

The 2022 Millman Scholarship was awarded to Sam Brown, who is currently studying MEng Materials and Engineering at the University of Sheffield. The Millman Scholarships are an undergraduate scholarship programme, run by the Materials Processing Institute in collaboration with the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers to support undergraduate students during their studies enabling and them to benefit from the expertise and experience of world leading industrial and materials researchers and gain work placement experience.

The day concluded with a Vote of Thanks from Debojyoti Roy, Director Transformation and Synergy, Tata Steel UK reflecting on the key messages from John Ferriola's speech and the benefits gained by all who attended the symposium. The symposium concluded with closing remarks from Chris McDonald followed by a Drinks Reception.

Opportunities are now open for PhD and EngD students to submit abstracts to present or display a research poster at the 2023 symposium, along with registration details for delegates wishing to attend -

2 March 2022