Advanced electron beam sources
Electron-beam technology provides the basis for a variety of specialized high-value manufacturing processes.
Electron beam technology is a unique technology that enables joining dissimilar and otherwise hard to weld metals with very precise and clean welds, minimizing the heating of the material outside the working area. In recent years, the use of this technology in additive manufacturing has become an exciting opportunity as it would reduce the operational cost of the technology and improve its versatility and performance.
A current shortcoming of the technology is the short lifetime of conventional thermionic electron sources and their slow thermal response. In this project, we investigate the use of a plasma cathode instead of thermionic emission as a source of electrons to overcome these limitations. As such, the project is at the interphase of electrical engineering, particle physics, plasma diagnostics and scientific computing.
In collaboration with The Welding Institute Ltd, we are developing a multi-dimensional particle-in-cell Monte-Carlo (PIC-MCC) model to study and optimize plasma cathodes for electron-beam guns. PIC-MCC models provide a unique opportunity to study electron kinetics in non-equilibrium plasmas accounting for both local and non-local effects.
Dr Felipe Iza - Reader in Bioelectrics and Healthcare and Deputy Associate Dean (Research)
“This project brings together the plasma modelling expertise at Loughborough University with the decades of experience with electron beam guns at TWI to develop an advanced additive manufacture solution.”