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The University of Southampton
Engineering
Phone:
(023) 8059 3396
Email:
N.Gao@soton.ac.uk

Dr Nong Gao BEng, PhD, FHEA

Lecturer

Dr Nong Gao's photo

Dr Nong Gao is Lecturer within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Nong Gao is a Lecturer at the Materials Research Group of the Engineering Sciences and Associate Director of the Centre for Bulk Nanostructured Materials at the University of Southampton.

He graduated with a BEng (Hons) in Materials Science from the Dalian University of Technology, PRC in 1982, and then studied at the College of Business Administration, University of Central Oklahoma, USA in 1985. He was awarded a Fellowship by The Royal Society in 1992 and obtained his PhD from the University of Sheffield in 1994. After several years research at the University of Strathclyde and the University of Sheffield as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate, he joined the University of Southampton as a Research Fellow in 2000, a Senior Research Fellow in 2003, and a Lecturer in 2007. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK.

Nong Gao has many years research experience in materials characterisation, mechanical property evaluation, creep-fatigue, rolling contact mechanism, and ultrafine grained (UFG) and nanostructured materials processed by severe plastic deformation (SPD), including ECAP and HPT. At the moment, he is on Editorial Board of Journal of Metals, and Associate Editorial Board of Materials Letters. Nong Gao has been invited as a referee for 16 international journals and to give talks in several international conferences. Since 2005, he has received research funding from different funding bodies, including EPSRC, Royal of Society and Innovation China (ICUK). To date, he has published over 150 papers in journals and conferences, with over 1300 citations and h-index: 23.

In recent years, Nong Gao has been involved in supervising two post-doctors and twelve PhD students, most of them work on microstructures, properties, wear resistance and applications of UFG materials processed by SPD. These research interests are reflected in his research collaborations with scientists across world, including University of Oxford, Imperial College, University of Sheffield, QinetiQ, Airbus, UK National Physical Laboratory, Kyushu University, Fukuoka University of Education, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, National Institute of Technology of Durgapur, and several universities in China.

Currently Nong Gao is acting as a Frist Year co-ordinator for Mechanical Engineering and he is involving in teaching for several modules, including Properties of Materials, Microstructural Engineering for Transport Applications and Introduction to Advance Engineering.

PhD Vacancies: Currently there are four PhD research projects available for good candidates with engineering materials background to apply. Please send email to N.Gao@soton.ac.uk, if interested (More details can be found by going to the below tab ‘PhD Vacancies’)

 

  1. Ref: EngSci-MATS-109: New generation of nanostructured alloys processed by severe plastic deformation and subsequent coatings.
  2. Ref: EngSci-MATS-108: Fatigue behaviour of alloys with ultrafine grain structure produced by severe plastic deformation.
  3. Ref: EngSci-MATS-133: Solidification and metallurgical mechanism for 3D printing of metallic components.
  4. Ref: EngSci-MATS-132: Improving mechanical properties and the corrosion resistance of stainless steel by applying novel low temperature carburization process.

Research interests

  • Nanostructuring of light metals through severe plastic deformation (mainly ECAP and HPT)
  • MEMS components formed from nanostructured metals
  • Tribological behaviours of SPD-processed UFG alloys
  • Microstructure-property relationships in microalloyed steels and Al-based alloys
  • Interaction of creep-fatigue mechanisms and short crack growth modelling
  • Surface defects analysis and rolling contact mechanisms
(ECAP)
Equal-Channel Angular Pressing
70T High Pressure Torsion Machine
High Pressure Torsion (HPT)
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Differential Scanning Calorimetry
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Fatigue Testing Facilities
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Electron Microscopy Facilities
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Tribological Testing Facilities
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Nanoindentation

Research group

Engineering Materials

Research project(s)

Strengthening of alloys by refining grains to the nanometer scale

Processing of metallic alloys through severe plastic deformation (SPD) creates materials with ultra-high formability, high strength and high toughness.  This research provides models that predict structural refinement and defect densities, resulting in predictions of the mechanical properties.

Fabrication of MEMS components using ultrafine-grained aluminium alloys

This is an EPSRC supported project (EP/D00313X/1), which is to study the feasibility of fabricating a MEMS component by embossing using ultra-fine grained (UFG) aluminium alloys. The current study is the first attempt to produce metallic foils with features at the scale of 5–50 μm by embossing using UFG aluminium alloys produced by ECAP.

Processing of nanostructured materials for medical applications

Tribological behaviour of ultrafine-grained alloys formed by severe plastic deformation

Materials with submicron- or nano-scaled grains produced by severe plastic deformation (SPD) offer new structural and functional properties for innovative products in a wide range of applications. The aims of this study are to understand the effect of SPD processing on wear behaviour of materials, to seek a way to use SPD processing to improve the mechanical properties of materials and their wear resistance.

Effect of surface defects on rolling contact fatigue of wheel/rail steels

The mechanism of rolling contact fatigue is complex and many factors have to be considered. Surface roughness and the presence of surface defects are known to be important factors. The aim of this project is to investigate the effect of surface defects on rolling contact fatigue of wheel/rail steels by finite element analysis and using a twin-disc rolling-sliding test machine.

Assessment of advanced nickel based turbine materials

The purpose of this project is to establish a broad based understanding of the microstructural factors controlling the high temperature properties (including creep and fatigue life) of turbine blade and disc alloys of interest to QinetiQ.

Microstructure and precipitation in Al-V-N microalloyed steels

High-strength low-alloy structural (HSLA) steels are very important metallic materials with various applications. The aim of this project is to study the microstructures and precipitates in controlled rolled and tempered Al-V-N steels, and the thermodynamic models for estimating the equilibrium compositions of the austenite and carbonitride phases.

Short crack growth and propagation in steels under creep-fatigue cycling

Failure by low-cycle fatigue is one important consideration in the design of structures used at elevated temperatures. The aim of this project is to investigate the failure mechanisms of 316 stainless steel during creep-fatigue cycling. A programme of tests was conducted to examine short crack growth behaviour in reversed-bending, high strain fatigue cycle that contained a tensile hold- period.

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Working Paper

Module titleModule codeDisciplineRole
Microstructural Engineering for Transport Applications SESG6007 Engineering Sciences Tutor
Mechanics, Structures and Materials
FEEG1002 Engineering Sciences Tutor
Construction, Design and Materials CENV1023 Engineering Sciences Tutor
Introduction to Advanced Mechanical Engineering Science SESM6025 Mechanical Engineering Tutor

I am looking for dynamic PhD students, in particular, for self-funded students supported by either government or own funding. Currently there are four exciting PhD research projects available for good candidates with engineering materials background as followings. Please contact me by: N.Gao@soton.ac.uk, if interested.

1. Ref: EngSci-MATS-109: New generation of nanostructured alloys processed by severe plastic deformation and subsequent coatings

Project description:

Several different processing techniques through severe plastic deformation (SPD) have been rapidly developed during the last ten years. All of these procedures are capable of fabricating ultrafine-grained (UFG) or nanostructured materials. UFG metals and alloys processed by SPD techniques have superior mechanical properties, such as high strength with good ductility and excellent superplasticity at lower temperature and higher strain rates. Currently, The University of Southampton is the only university in UK and one of the only two in the European Union, which has the unique SPD processing facility including equal channel angle processing (ECAP) and high pressure torsion (HPT).

Among all the available materials, titanium-based alloys including commercial purity (CP) titanium are preferentially selected for medical implants due to their lower elastic modulus, excellent corrosion resistance and biocompatibility. The current applications include hip and knee replacements and dental implants. Various surface modifications on CP-Ti implants have been carried out to improve their corrosion resistance, but their applications and long-term performance are limited by the overall strength. An improvement in their mechanical properties, such as tensile strength, fatigue strength and ductility, would be an attractive feature, thereby permitting the use of smaller parts and less revision surgery. The mechanical properties of Ti alloys can be increased by reducing the grain size through SPD techniques.

Primary research from the University of Southampton recently has shown very promising results from SPD-processed Ti alloys with several publications. In particular, SPD plus appropriate coatings have shown further improvement of the tribology behaviour of Ti alloys, which indicate a great potential for new generation of future biomedical materials. The main aim of this project is to future expand the study on the tribological behaviour of nanostructured titanium alloy, including microstructural evolution, biocompatibility, corrosion and wet fretting-corrosion behaviour of nanostructured Ti alloys, processed by SPD and subsequently deposited with different coatings. The overall objectives of the project are three-fold: (1) To optimise the processing techniques of Ti alloys through SPD; (2) To obtain a detailed understanding of the microstructural changes and their influence on the wear and corrosion properties after SPD and coatings; (3) To explore potential medical applications of SPD-processed Ti and other alloys.

2. Ref: EngSci-MATS-108: Fatigue behaviour of alloys with ultrafine grain structure produced by severe plastic deformation

Project description:

Bulk ultrafine-grained (UFG) metals and alloys prepared by techniques of severe plastic deformation

(SPD), in particular by equal channel angular pressing (ECAP) and high pressure torsion (HPT), exhibit exceptional mechanical properties. With respect to potential applications of this new class of very fine-grained bulk materials, the cyclic deformation and fatigue behaviour, relative to that of conventional grain size (CG) materials, is of crucial importance.

Current research has demonstrated that extreme grain refinement by severe plastic deformation generally improves the fatigue performance of Al-, Mg- and Ti-based light alloys. However, the full potential of achieving favourable combinations of grain refinement and texture has not been explored and exploited. A better understanding of the specific mechanisms underlying the response of these materials to cyclic loading may lead to microstructures and textures optimised with respect to the fatigue performance.

The main aim of this project is to study fatigue and cyclic behaviour of alloys produced by severe plastic deformation, including fatigue limit, cyclic softening / hardening, short / long crack growth, and fatigue damage. The overall objectives of the project are three-fold: (1) To optimise the processing techniques of alloys through SPD; (2) To obtain a detailed understanding of the microstructural changes and their influence on the fatigue properties after SPD; (3) To explore potential applications of SPD-processed alloys.

3. Ref: EngSci-MATS-133: Investigation of solidification and metallurgical mechanism for additive manufacturing of metallic components.

Project description:

Additive Manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing is a process of producing items layer by layer. The key advantage of AM is the ability to produce complex shaped functional metallic components, including metals, alloys and metal matrix composites that cannot be easily produced by conventional methods. The application of AM technology to prepare novel structured high performance functional components is of unique interest for the demanding requirements in aerospace, automotive, rapid tooling and biomedical industrial sectors.

However, AM technology involves a comprehensive integration of materials science, metallurgical engineering, mechanical engineering and laser technology. Due to the significant non-equilibrium nature of laser processing and the complex mutual interactions of material and process parameters, unpredictability and/or lack of control of the formation of phases and microstructures in an AM route still remain as a major challenge. A comprehensive study of the materials design, process control, and particularly the solidification process and how these influence metallurgical mechanisms and property characterisation for AM is required.

The overall aim of this proposal is to establish a relationship between material, process, solidification and metallurgical mechanisms for laser based multiple materials additive manufacturing of metallic components. The specific objectives of this research are: (1) AM manufacturing with combination of different metallic materials; (2) Investigation of the solidification behaviour of AM manufactured samples; (3) Study microstructural features and resultant mechanical properties; (4) Clarify complex metallurgical phenomena occurring during AM processing.

4. Ref: EngSci-MATS-132: Improving mechanical properties and the corrosion resistance of stainless steel by applying novel low temperature carburization process

Project description:

Austenitic stainless steels generally have excellent corrosion resistance, but their usage in tribological applications is limited due their relatively low hardness and poor wear performance. Traditional carburization usually treated at above 900C, can be applied to austenitic stainless steel to increase the surface hardness. However, it reduces the corrosion resistance due to the formation of chrome carbides and decreased ability to form a protective chromium oxide film on the surface. Recent research indicates that the mechanical properties (including surface hardness, fatigue resistance, and wear resistance) and the corrosion resistance of austenitic stainless steel can be significantly improved by a novel low temperature gas-phase carburization process developed by USA.

However, in order to achieve best performance for stainless steel, the low temperature carburization process needs to be clearly defined, which involves a comprehensive integration of materials science, metallurgical engineering, mechanical engineering and heat treatment technology. Due to the complex mutual interactions of material and process parameters, unpredictability and/or lack of control of the formation of carbide phases and microstructures in the carburization route still remain as a major challenge.

The overall aim of this proposal is to establish a relationship between alloy composition, heat treatment parameters and mechanical/corrosion behaviours for the low temperature carburization process. The specific objectives of this research are: (1) Optimise the parameters of carburization process; (2) Investigation of mechanical properties and corrosion resistance of carburized sample; (3) Study microstructural features and clarify carbides forming behaviour by using SEM/TEM/XRD techniques.

Dr Nong Gao
Engineering, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton. SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number: 7/4073

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