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Manufacturing and Engineering Materials

This research focuses on developing next-generation technologies and processes for manufacturing and engineering, as well as improving and developing existing systems, organisation and sustainability. Areas of research include:

Composite and Polymer Materials 

Working with the aerospace and automotive sectors, this research focuses on the development of novel ‘concept’ materials (for example, composite materials that are produced from two or more constituent materials) that are better fit for purpose and help reduce environmental impact. An example of this is a current project investigating how graphene related materials (GRM) can be used to create lighter, stronger, safer and more energy efficient structures to use for parts in the automotive and aerospace industries. This work plays a central role in the EU’s Graphene Flagship. This group has strong links with automotive, aerospace and energy industries in the UK and world-wide. 

Energy Conversion and Storage Systems Fabrication and Characterisation

This research focuses on development innovation solutions for energy coversions and strogeges devices using Graphene hybrid-supercapacitors; Nanostructured heterogeneous materials for Li-ion and all Solid-State LiB; Nanostructured heterogeneous materials for Fuel Cells; Synthesis of Nitrogen-Graphene/Metal Oxide Nanostructured Electrodes; Synthesis of hybrid materials for energy conversion and storage; and Fabrication of new and smart materials for wearables, sensing and actuation application.

Additive Manufacturing 

This research explores the use of sand casting (metal casting using sand as the mould material) and additive manufacturing (3D printing) to produce prototypes for the manufacturing process. These methods allow the production of prototypes at a fraction of the time and cost of more established methods. This research has led to new tooling processes that have been actioned across Ford Europe, including in developing Ford’s lightweight hybrid electric vehicles. This group has also collaborated with Lear Corporation UK Ltd and Raplas Technology Ltd.

Coating and Thin Films

This research explores development and deposition of smart and hard coating and thin films, including GRM basic coating for self-cleaning and fast sanification; Eco-friendly ultrahydrophobic GRM-based hybrid materials for marine foul-release coatings; Innovative thin films for anti-icing/de-icing and light strike protection; Ultra-precision thin film resistive coatings; Superior hard-wearing mechanical coatings; Biocompatible and antimicrobial coatings for healthcare applications; Bulk and thin film coatings and ultra-precision thin film resistors; and Shape memory alloys for microactuators used in hydraulic and pneumatic systems.

Design, Modelling (including Materials and Processes), Simulation and Manufacturing

This research explores integrated areas of research including: CAM – Design to Manufacturing – Simulation and Analysis; Development of fundamental material models capable of characterising behaviours within a wide range of computations scales spanning form nano-to-macro scales; Development novel constitutive laws including progressive damage, failure criteria, interfaces, and behaviours under extreme conditions; and Implementation and validation using end-user FE software (e.g., LS-DYNA, ABAQUS).

Examples of key projects 

EU Graphene Flagship Projects 

High-Performance Biocompatible Ag-DLC Coatings - Precise and Localized Silver Doping Through Novel Helium Pulse Injections

Diamond-like carbon films have exceptional mechanical properties, making them ideal as protective coatings. In the biomedical field, they are highly valued due to their high hardness, low friction, and biocompatibility with living cells. The project aims to synthesise diamond-like carbon coatings with silver nanoparticles embedded in at specific locations to provide antibacterial properties.  

Cost-Effective Temperature Adaptive Cu-Based Shape Memory Seals Through the Synergistic Effect of Co-Microalloying and Cooling Rate Control  

This project developed a new strategy for overcoming the excessive friction and wear of seals used in automotive and satellite microactuators using shape memory alloys with tailored reversibility and wear performance.   

Graphene Mediated Erosion Resistant Protection for Wind Turbine Blades (support by Applied Graphene Materials Ltd UK)

The project investigates how to mitigate rain erosion of leading edge of wind turbines through development an innovative GRM-based coating and. The project aims to develop a robust and toxic-free anti-erosion coating nanocomposite system based on GRM to work as a protective barrier for wind turbine blades to increase wind turbine efficiency, lifetime, and reduce their maintenance.

Developing a New Polymer to Support New Subsea Applications  

This project developed a new polymer and (polymer-based composites) with improved thermal and mechanical performance through a structured investigative and analytical process involving the selection of candidate materials and nano-fillers. The findings deliver a robust solution for sustainable subsea umbilical hoses, which provide critical connections between surface platforms or vessels and an oil or gas field.

Super Hard Biocompatible Coatings of Beta Ti3Au

In this multidisciplinary and highly ambitious project we will investigate mechanisms of producing super-hard biocompatible coatings of this very recently discovered intermetallic compound of beta Ti3Au. By doping the titanium coating with precise amounts of gold it is anticipated that a fourfold increase in hardness will be achieved together with reduced wear rates and excellent biocompatibility.

Foam Seating Products- KTPs with Lear Corporation Ltd

This project aims to develop a new capability to innovate in foam seating products for the automotive sector through embedding new production technology and manufacturing processes based on new knowledge in polymer science, engineering, and materials.

Smart Wearable Device- KTPs with Mistura Informatics

This project aims to develop and manufacture for sale, using supply chain integration and order fulfilment, of a SMART wearable device to support patients with taking routine medication.

Rapid Manufacturing of Structural Elements - KTPs with Platinum Electrical Engineering Ltd

This project aims to develop sustainable materials and the deposition machinery to enable the on-site, in-situ additive manufacture of structural materials, for the construction industry, initially for the social housing sector.

 

 


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