Internship - R&D engineer - Liquid composition analysis of aluminium alloys H/F/X
France, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Voreppe
September 11th, 2023
Constellium is a world leader in the development and manufacture of high value-added aluminum products and solutions for a wide range of markets and applications, focusing in particular on aerospace, automotive and packaging. Constellium also has nearly 12,000 employees worldwide.
We are committed to minimizing the environmental impact of our operations and improving the environmental footprint of aluminum throughout the value chain.
In our company, safety is essential, it is one of our core values. Our Research and Technology Center, C-TEC Constellium Technology Center, employs about 240 people. Our research is mainly in the field of casting, aluminum transformation and surface treatment.
By joining our company, you will discover a multicultural company which is committed to diversity and the well-being of its employees.
Intership's topic: Liquid composition analysis of aluminium alloys using Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) to enable increased recycled content.
Main objective and key accountabilities
- Adapt LIBS technology to accurately measure the composition directly in the liquid state of aluminium alloys.
- Use LIBS technology to increase and optimize the recycled content of aluminium alloys during remelting operations.
Context & environment
Increased automaker demands for products with exceptional forming properties have led the aluminium industry to develop high-end aluminium products, which require relatively low levels of impurities such as iron (Fe) and silicon (Si) that are detrimental to forming operations used in car body manufacturing. A typical Fe level for an automotive aluminium alloy using primary aluminium would be below 0.25wt%. These tight composition specifications make the composition analysis a critical step of the casting process. Current analysis of the molten alloy composition relies on the solidification then analysis of samples manually collected from the liquid once all the prepared charge has been melted. This discrete and off-line measurement therefore requires a good knowledge of the composition of the charge in order to get as close as possible to the target composition on the first try.
In a context where the aluminium industry is committed to reducing its carbon footprint, this current practice leads to two main drawbacks:
- As Fe and Si are two major impurities found in post-consumer scrap, the addition of end-of-life scraps of poorly known composition and with high impurity levels is highly constrained by very tight compositional specifications and the impossibility to monitor composition evolution throughout the melt furnace charge loading at reasonable cost.
- Each small correction of the composition requires to re-collect a solid sample and to analyse it, leading to supplementary down-times on the process, thus to a suboptimal energy consumption.
Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) has recently emerged as a new method for composition measurement, that can be performed on any state of matter. First developments within C-TEC have shown that LIBS could be used to monitor composition evolution of the melt continuously. The accuracy, repeatability and reproducibility of the composition measurement are key points to liquid LIBS deployment to replace solid sampling. As LIBS has never been used on these alloys, calibration steps are thus needed to be able to quantify all alloying elements and impurities, for representative aluminium alloys. Other data and information could be extracted from LIBS measurement and should be studied to make the most of it. Finally, strategies to use LIBS to increase recycled content of aluminum product will be assessed, for the automotive industry in particular.
This internship is divided into several stages:
- Familiarization with the principle of casting process and composition analysis
- Familiarization with LIBS technology
- Calibration of the LIBS for different aluminium alloys series
- Follow LIBS measurement at scale 1.
- Evaluate strategies to optimize End of Life scraps content
- Data analysis: rigorous statistical analysis of LIBS measurements
- Analysis and reporting of the findings
Education level: Bac+5 / M.Sc.
Process Engineering - Physics or Material Science
Competencies & technical & soft skills requirement:
- Engineering student (last year) or Masters (M2) of Material Science or Process Engineering
- Candidate motivated, creative, rigorous, curious, good communication skills and autonomous.
- Knowledge in Material science, eager to develop experimental skills and data analysis.
- Knowledge of Microsoft Office
- Good communication skills in English and French are essential