Fabrication of alumina devices via freeze-casting for use in the manufacture of advanced steels

Principal investigator: Rahul Panat

University: Carnegie Mellon University

Industry partner: Vesuvius plc

Vesuvius plc is a global leader in molten metal flow engineering and technology with their R&D headquarters in Pittsburgh. The objective of this collaboration between Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Vesuvius plc is to develop a freeze casting method to create porous ceramics used in the manufacture of high-performance steels. Our research builds upon the region’s historical strength in steelmaking technologies and integrates the latest research at CMU with the industry needs of a corporation with its core R&D operations based in Pennsylvania. This project aims to solve the issue of the lack of effective and industrially applicable porous ceramic components for steel gasification, consequently providing Vesuvius plc with a competitive advantage. Our work uses a systematic technical approach involving an iterative process development at CMU and Vesuvius plc. Specifically, a freeze casting process will be developed that yields controlled internal porosity in alumina. Our research will combine the latest technological developments in advanced manufacturing at CMU with the requirements of an industry leader based in Pennsylvania, resulting in well-paying jobs for Pennsylvania workers. A well-trained CMU student has been identified to work on the project. Additionally, our work presents the opportunity to train the next generation of the Pennsylvania workforce in advanced manufacturing.