An investigation of the weldability of high hardness armour steels – University of Wollongong
Dr Lenka Kuzmikova was DMTC’s first PhD graduate completing her research project at the University of Wollongong. Dr Kuzmikova’s doctorate thesis investigated the development of alternative welding techniques in steel hulled military vehicles. Dr Kuzmikova’s research focused on optimisation of current welding procedures following lean manufacturing concepts. She also researched the feasibility of hybrid laser-gas metal arc welding (GMAW) for future replacement of the current flux-cored process and developed welding procedures for a typical joint of a tank or armoured personnel carrier. Dr Kuzmikova was officially awarded her degree in 2013. Findings from Dr Kuzmikova research project directly benefited DMTC Project 3.1 – Evolution of Vehicle Armour and Improved Manufacturing. This project confirmed that the opportunity to eliminate the time consuming and costly pre-heating of large armour plates prior to welding, which could in combination with increased inter-pass temperature, double the production rates whilst maintaining performance. The low pre-heat welding procedures developed within this project are now being validated for commercialisation in a new project. Dr Kuzmikova and her team from University of Wollongong, Thales and DSTO are working to ensure the new welding process is widely accepted via inclusion in the relevant welding and defence standards. Having displayed outstanding leadership qualities during her thesis research and the high quality of her work, Dr Kuzmikova was hired into the University of Wollongong as a Post-Doctoral Researcher and subsequently given a Project Leaders position for the follow-on optimised welding process project mentioned above. Dr Kuzmikova was also awarded DMTC’s Early Career Award in 2012. Lenka is also involved in materials and welding related research for the oil and gas industry through the Energy Pipelines Cooperative Research Centre. Dr Kuzmikova continues to improve her knowledge and practical “hands-on” skills to be able to assist Australian industry to remain competitive and up-front in the tough global market.