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Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Professor Danie Hattingh, Director of eNtsa (the Innovation through Engineering Institute housed at the University) and Professor in Mechanical Engineering, has been announced as one of 2020’s Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns (SA Academy for Science & Art) prestigious Award winners, namely the Honorary Medal of the Faculty of Natural Science & Technology.

Prof Hattingh is honoured for his contribution in the field of friction welding and the associated development of the analysis of metal turbines and high pressure/high-temperature pipes.  These techniques are currently being used as standard procedures at both Eskom and Sasol.  The technological contribution of Prof Hattingh and the eNtsa Group is crucial to Eskom's continued supply of electricity in South Africa.

This Honorary Award for achievements and contributions in the promotion and development of this particular field of study, is only awarded in exceptional cases.  The awards will be handed over at a future date.

Prof Hattingh became the Director of eNtsa in 2009. The Institute has an annual turnover of some R50m generated from industrial and government contracts for assistance with research, design, or process development.

Over the past ten years, Prof Hattingh and his team of researchers have won various national awards and international acknowledgement for their ground-breaking research and applications conducted within the friction processing arena.  This medal is the latest recognition of the important work done by Prof Hattingh and his team.

In 2001, Prof Danie Hattingh was a visiting researcher to the School of Marine, Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering, at the University of Plymouth, United Kingdom, where he participated in a research project on Friction Stir Welding and Residual Stress Measurement using Synchrotron Radiation. 

This research led to the establishment of eNtsa (Centre for Innovation through Engineering) at the then PE Technikon, now Nelson Mandela University.  The name ‘eNtsa’ is derived from the isiXhosa word ’eNtsha’ meaning “new”.

In the mid-2000s, Prof Hattingh and his team were involved with research and development work in aid of high-value large-scale engineering projects, most notably with Eskom to develop alternative materials’ sampling and weld repair techniques for its ageing steam boiler fleet. 

At the heart of this development was the now patented WeldCore® sample extraction and repair technique.  WeldCore® is a novel sample and repair technique that involves in situ material sampling of, for example, high-pressure steam lines.  This process consists of extracting a cylindrical sample and removing it from the pipe wall. 

The extracted sample is then used in a series of tests to establish the extent of the accumulated creep damage and the remaining creep life of the metal of the pipe.  The tests include X-ray tomography, to reveal void-like defects, as well as punch testing for yield and tensile strengths; micro-Vickers hardness; and for wet chemical analysis. 

This extraction leaves a blind-hole in the pipe, with the inner wall still intact.  The hole is then repaired using a tapered friction pillar process using the solid-state friction welding technique.  The sample cutting and the repair equipment are mounted onto the same machining frame enabling sampling and repair to proceed as sequential processes. 

Contact information
Prof Japie Engelbrecht
Tel: +27 41 504 2186