SciSoc Spotlight Issue 24 – Dr. Sam Troughton

20 May 2021. Dr. Sam Troughton was with the Keronite International. A PDF version of this Issue is available here.

Research focus: Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation (PEO) Coatings

PEO coatings are produced on lightweight metals in an aqueous bath of eco-friendly chemicals under applied potentials of hundreds of volts. This generates extremely hot, but small and short-lived plasma discharges on the surface which creates a super hard protective oxide coating. Working in an industrial R&D environment means you are usually working on multiple projects simultaneously, so it is hard to summarise everything, but I’m mostly focused on optimising the process to achieve ultra wear or corrosion resistant coatings.

What made you decide to pursue research?

Having a variety of projects and being able to see the results of your research put directly into use is one of the main reasons I decided to move into industry after completing my PhD in Materials Science at Cambridge. I really enjoy having several different projects to work on, and having various time scales for them to run – some can be very short turnaround times of just a few weeks which allows you to see results put into action very rapidly, whereas others require years of careful research. Another big draw for me was being able to interact with many different companies and being able to see what ideas are being worked on at the cutting edge of space, aerospace, automotive, and manufacturing industries.

One piece of advice…

Do something you enjoy and talk to lots of people about it, both in your own department and other departments. Other people can often give you great ideas or help you solve a problem from a different perspective, and they may have suggestions of things to try that you haven’t heard about yet.

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