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Electron beam development at TWI


What does your group do?

The electron beam group at TWI develops electron beam equipment and processing for industrial companies. We work on the design of electron guns that generate high power beams that are used in welding and additive manufacturing (i.e. metal 3D printing) equipment. This involves simulation, engineering design, build and commissioning of electron beam machines.


What will students see during your exhibit?

In our exhibit students will see the components that go into making a high power electron beam machine. They will see a high power beam being generated and melting a steel block.


What physics is used in your demonstration?

The physics on display will be the acceleration of electrons in electric and magnetic fields. This is as a result of the Lorentz force given by:

F = q(E + v × B)

(The force F acting on a particle of electric charge q with instantaneous velocity v, due to an external electric field E and magnetic field B)

Electrons are accelerated just by being in an electrostatic field, and they are deflected by moving through a magnetostatic field.


Why is it useful?

High energy electron beams provide a precise and readily manipulated energy source. Recently we have developed equipment and processes to

  • Melt powder selectively to 3D print metal components for aero engines and medical implants

  • Made high power electron beam equipment that provides kilometres of welding in each offshore wind turbine

  • Manufacture high energy accelerators from superconducting niobium for particle science experiments

  • Developed rapid welding techniques for manufacturing electric vehicle battery packs


Further Reading