Bourgeois, Zhang earn research grant from Department of Energy

Posted: June 1, 2021
Desmond Bourgeois

Welding Engineering Professors Desmond Bourgeois and Wei Zhang have been awarded $400,000 by the Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy as part of an initiative focused on university-led projects to advance research and training for advanced energy applications.

The three-year research will commence in July at The Ohio State University's Welding Engineering Laboratory. Advanced fossil energy technologies are crucial to ensuring America’s access to safe and reliable electricity and to support a resilient infrastructure. Creep strength enhanced ferritic (CSEF) steels such as Grade 91 are widely used in the current fleet of power plants. Grade 91 steel components are commonly subjected to onsite welding repairs to repair degradation caused by exposure to harsh service conditions.

Wei Zhang, welding engineering

There is a critical need to ensure the quality of onsite welding, a challenge caused by the lack of an effective field-deployable, non-destructive evaluation method that can detect and quantify the deleterious microstructure such as untempered martensite in a repair weld. Additionally, the use of other CSEF steels with better creep or corrosion properties than Grade 91 are expected to increase in fossil powerplant components.

Knowledge of weld repairability of these CSEF steels is limited. The current trial and error procedure to optimize microstructure and properties of welded joints is time-consuming and expensive because of the need to fine-tune many welding variables. Hence, there is an important need to rapidly establish such knowledge using advanced numerical models of welding processes based on scientific and physical principles. Professors Zhang's and Bourgeois' research will establish the experimental and computational foundations for high-speed and high-quality field welding repair based on advanced non-destructive evaluation and numerical modeling.

"The award will allow us to develop innovative solutions to welding challenges in fossil energy power generation, as well as train STEM students and researchers on non-destructive evaluation and welding applications related to fossil energy," said Zhang.

by Libby Culley, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering

Categories: ResearchFaculty