WMG, at the University of Warwick, has announced that it is to create a £4.1m International Institute for Nanocomposites Manufacturing, a first of its kind in the world. The Institute will exploit polymer processing techniques which will enable industry to innovate their manufacturing technologies to produce polymer nanocomposites.
The International Institute for Nanocomposites Manufacturing (IINM) will focus on the manufacture of Nanocomposites by adopting a holistic approach. Through synthesising and functionalising nanoparticles and incorporating such particles into polymers using innovative manufacturing techniques industry will be able to scale up and commercialise products with added functionality.
The new Institute will house state-of-the-art facilities including characterisation laboratories, a wet chemistry laboratory, processing hall, offices and open plan research space. A team of 50 academics and researchers will work collaboratively with other academic groups and industrial partners, both national and international, on fundamental and applied research projects in the field of nanocomposites with application in a broad range of industries, including telecommunications, electronics, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, automotive, security and medicine.
The research activities within the Institute align closely with other work carried out in WMG particularly those in lightweighting and composites where nanoparticles can be added to polymers and foams introducing functionality to structural components.
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Chairman of WMG said “These are exciting times for WMG as we invest in another new development. The research and development expectations of industry are increasing and we need to be at the forefront of enabling them to develop world class products. This is why we are creating the first institute, in the world, that will enable industry to manufacture large scale nanocomposite parts.”
Professor Tony McNally, Chair in Nanocomposites at WMG and is leading the build of the IINM said “I am extremely excited to be establishing a world first at WMG. Whilst the outputs from the IINM will directly impact industry, the research that will be undertaken will be rooted in fundamental engineering science.”
The IINM is the third new initiative at WMG this year. The first being the £100m National Automotive Innovation Campus, which is due to open in 2016, is a unique Research and Development facility for the UK automotive industry. It will provide an environment that will foster collaboration, cohesion and cross-fertilisation of knowledge. NAIC will provide a national focus for research capability by combining the expertise nationally and internationally from industry, universities, supply chain companies and SMEs. Over 900 staff from academic and industry teams from WMG, Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors European Technology Centre and other partners will work collaboratively on research projects to deliver world-class breakthrough products, processes and services. The second is the £2.3m Automotive Composite Research Centre, which will provide local industry with hands-on technical expertise and equipment to develop its manufacturing capability for polymeric composites. It will enable the West Midlands’ automotive supply chain to exploit the opportunities offered by lightweight vehicle technologies.
Peter Chivers, CEO of the National Composites Centre, said:
“This is excellent news for HVM Catapult. We have very little current capability in the specific field of Nanocomposites and this addition will be highly complementary. I look forward to working with WMG under the overall coordinated approach to the composites capability offering within HVM Catapult.”