How Metal Works – Let Me Compute the Ways

Posted by pt91 at May 16, 2013 10:43 AM |
Engineering expert to give inaugural public lecture at the University of Leicester on Tuesday 21 May
How Metal Works – Let Me Compute the Ways

Professor Hongbiao Dong from the Department of Engineering.

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 16 May 2013

Photograph of Professor Hongbiao Dong available from

Professor Hongbiao Dong, from the Department of Engineering, will give a free public lecture entitled ‘How Metal Works – Let me Compute the Ways’ at the University of Leicester on Tuesday 21 May.

The lecture will explain, through case studies, how to develop models for metal processing and how these can be used to simulate metal processing.

Processing of metals is a science, art and hobby and its history can be dated back to 5000BC when small pieces of copper were hammered and ground to make the first tools and weapons. Today, metal processing, through innovation, has been industrialised and is the most economic and effective way to make individual parts, assemblies or large scale structures.

Professor Hongbiao Dong has three main research interests that include the evolution of materials – such that materials are evolving faster than at any other time in history.  The development of new materials has been regarded as an ‘underpinning technology’ – which can stimulate innovation in all branches of engineering, making possible new designs for structures, engines, electrical and electronic devices, energy conservation equipment and many more. Finally, the materials industry in the UK has traditionally supported a diverse set of industry across the power generation, transportation and construction sectors.

Professor Dong said: “Most important innovations in metal processing throughout history were made through trial and error experiments. However this has changed dramatically over the last 20 years as computational modelling becomes a more and more powerful tool in metal processing research.

“Simulations of the movement of iron atoms during steel solidification can reveal information that would not be available otherwise. Modelling how to grow a single crystal turbine blade that can operate at 1500C next to the combustion chamber of a modern jet engine is another example. These examples demonstrate that predictions based on modelling can provide an innovative and more rapid way to design and optimise new processes than by the trial and error methods.”

‘How Metal Works – Let Me Compute the Ways’ will be held at the Ken Edwards Building, Lecture Theatre 1, University of Leicester, University Road, on Tuesday 21 May at 5.30pm.

The lecture is free and open to the public.


Notes to editors:

Professor Hongbiao Dong can be contacted on 0116 252 2528 or at:

Biography of Professor Hongbiao Dong

Professor Hongbiao Dong received a First Class BSc degree and a Master degree from University of Science and Technology Beijing, obtained his PhD in Materials Science from the University of Oxford in 2000.

He joined the Department of Engineering in 2004 from Imperial College London, where he worked on modelling microstructure evolution in aero-engine turbine blades. He was awarded a Royal Society Industry Fellowship in September 2006 for him to conduct collaborative research at Rolls-Royce plc.

Professor Dong is a specialist in metal processing, in particular in the areas of solidification, the process in which a liquid turns into a solid as it cools; this has applications in welding and casting for example. He pioneered in solidification structure modelling and simulated the grain selection process during casting of single-crystal turbine blades. He is currently leading a major European research project to develop welding techniques for constructing deep sea gas and oil transport systems.

His work on computer modelling has led to an in-depth understanding of metal processing and originated patents for producing single crystal components with improved performance, techniques that have been taken forward by industry. He was presented with a DTI/CBI/NPL award in Metrology for World Class Manufacturing for the development of a novel Single-Pan Scanning Calorimeter. He is a member of the Steering Committee of EuMaT (European Technology Platform on Advanced Engineering Materials and Technologies), and a member of the Industrial Advisory Group for Processing Liquid Metals at the National Physical Laboratory.

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