The Centre of Materials Engineering (CME) at the University of Cape Town has been involved in basic and applied stainless research and development for more than two decades. Early work in the late 1970s revolved around the development of the well-known 3CR12 corrosion-resisting steel.
At this time, the founder head of the CME, the late Professor Tony Ball, published some of the earliest work on the microstructural development in 3CR12, and later characterised the wear resistance of this important metal under conditions prevalent in South Africa gold mines.
“Today we are still actively engaged in alloy development, but the research has broadened to include thermo-mechanical processing of flat-rolled products. Although the technology employed in stainless production has reached considerable maturity, the competitive global market demands that the search for process and product optimisation remains an ongoing focus for stainless producers,” says Robert Knutsen, associate professor and director of the CME.
“This area of current international research is no less important for Columbus Stainless in Mpumalanga, as shown by their active support of research in this area.” The team at UCT, under the leadership of Knutsen, has embarked on an extensive research programme that is jointly sponsored by Columbus Stainless, the National Research Foundation, and the Department of Trade and Industry through the THRIP initiative.
ON THE BOIL
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