European funding for Powder Metallurgy processes in nuclear reactor components

April 1, 2015

The UK’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) is leading a new European research project to develop advanced Powder Metallurgy techniques for applications in the civil nuclear industry. Over the next 18 months the PowderWay project will investigate processes to create high-integrity reactor components from metal powder.


The project will investigate techniques such as Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP), Additive Manufacturing and Spark Plasma Sintering can be used to create high-integrity, near-net shape parts from metal powder, avoiding the need to machine parts down from solid billets. A number of these methods are already used in industries such as aerospace, but are not yet qualified and approved for civil nuclear applications.

The Nuclear AMRC will manage the industry-led project to assess the potential for these processes in the civil nuclear sector and establish a strategy to move the most promising techniques into commercial production. Other partners in the €360,000 project include AREVA, EDF’s research laboratory, French nuclear suppliers group PNB, the French energy commission CEA, and Swedish materials research group Swerea.

PowderWay is funded by the Nugenia nuclear industry association, with support from the European Commission’s framework programme for collaborative R&D.

The Nuclear AMRC is also involved in another new European-funded project, MMTech, to develop Additive Manufacturing techniques for an advanced alloy, gamma titanium aluminide. This project is led by the University of Sheffield AMRC and funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme. 

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Powder Metallurgy: The original net-shape production process

Powder Metallurgy components are relied upon by a wide variety of manufacturing industries, from automotive to power tools, household appliances, chemical engineering, filtration and more.

The main reason for the technology’s success is its cost-effectiveness at producing high volumes of net-shape components, combined with its ability to allow the manufacture of products that, because of the production processes, simply cannot be manufactured by other methods.

To discover more about how the technology has revolutionised component production, browse our Introduction to Powder Metallurgy.

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