The national priority sector of light metals came under national and international scrutiny at a Metals & Metals Processes Colloquium organised by CSIR Materials Science and Manufacturing.
Dr Willie du Preez of the CSIR with Professor John Humphreys, Professor Robert Knutsen and Dr Tony Paterson
The objective of the colloquium, which was attended by some 50 delegates from academia, industry and the CSIR, was to stimulate awareness and debate on research and development (R&D) needs and priorities for the South African light metals industry and to benchmark against international R&D programmes in this field.
The main guest speaker and panel member was Professor John Humphreys of the School of Materials of the University of Manchester, who was in southern Africa to attend the 46th Annual Conference of the Microscopy Society of Southern Africa.
Humphreys's research is concerned mainly with the microstructures and textures developed during the deformation and annealing of aluminium and other alloys. Major areas of interest include the development of high-resolution electron backscatter diffraction and its application to the quantification of microstructures, the development of inhomogeneous microstructures during deformation, mechanisms of recrystallisation and the modelling of microstructural evolution.
In his presentation titled Current Trends in Light Metals Research - Experiences in the UK and Australia, Humphreys shared his insight in and experience of the UK's Light Alloys for Environmentally Sustainable Transport programme led by the Manchester Portfolio Partnership and the Australian Design in Light Metals programme led by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence.
Dr Tony Paterson of the Aluminium Federation of South Africa and Dr Willie du Preez of the CSIR joined Humphreys for a panel discussion on research priorities and opportunities offered by the South African Light Metals Development Network of the DST-funded Advanced Metals Initiative.
The metals and metals processes competence area of the CSIR engages in R&D on metals and metal alloys, which can lead to products and processes that will benefit the South African industry. The primary theme of the competence area is light metals R&D with development focused on titanium, aluminium and to a lesser degree, magnesium.
According to Du Preez, the colloquium gave stakeholders in the South African light metals industry and the local R&D community an opportunity to get more clarity on international research and development priorities and on the role that the Light Metals Development Network plays in supporting the local industry to become internationally more competitive. He expressed the hope that this insight would facilitate ongoing interaction and collaboration among stakeholders in future.
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