The Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering & the Environment

Abstract

Tribology is an essential technology for nearly all UK Industry, including defence, and impacts on energy efficiency, carbon and other emissions, machine life, engine design, maintenance schedules and machine downtime, and the recovery and processing of oil reserves. It is also critical to the long term mobility, health and quality of life of patients with damaged or replacement joints. The Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (CATS) will use the 3.05M S & I grant plus 6.2M gearing from the University and Industry to recruit young staff from a variety of strategic disciplines to create an internationally leading research centre. This will conduct research into areas of major national importance such as future machines of all scales, energy efficiency, emissions and human health. The key role of the new staff will be to link with 18 academics in the School of Engineering Sciences and to 18 academics in six other Schools/Centres within the University of Southampton. The other Schools participating will be those of Electronics and Computer Science, Biological Sciences, Medicine, Mathematics, Statistics and Chemistry, thus creating a truly multidisciplinary Centre. This will be the first large interdisciplinary centre specifically focused on Tribology in the UK. CATS will uniquely address the combination of multiscale modelling, analytical and experimental techniques to develop a better understanding of tribological processes at the molecular, nano and micro scales. This understanding will be used in the development of micro-systems as well as predictive models concerned with macro contact performance. It will also address the interactions of biology and tribology, critically, by coupled modelling-experimental approaches to the nature of solid/liquid and cell-surface interfaces in biotribological and biological processes. CATS will have a distinctive platform by accessing the world class facilities and expertise at Southampton in high performance computing (Microsoft Institute of High Performance Computing), microfabrication and MEMS (new 60M clean room complex), advanced surface science, Developmental Sciences incorporating the Centre for Human Development, Stem Cells and Regeneration in the School of Medicine as well as researchers in electrochemistry and biological sciences. CATS would use these resources for innovative modelling, applying novel solutions to MEMS, developing MEMS as sensors and novel probes for tribological processes, surface film characterisation by scanning probes. It would also deploy advanced electrochemical techniques to understand the human biological reactions to metal ion release and the surface-biotribology performance of joint implants. CATS will also aim to use collaborations with over twenty industrial partners with major tribological activities (such as Airbus, DePuy, Shell, Lloyd's Register, Dstl, NPL and Schlumberger) to ensure that the research footprint of the centre is aligned with industrial need, research can be exploited efficiently and to ensure effective national technology transfer of the knowledge generated by the centre.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description External income of over £2,5M from industry has led to building capacity and knowledge transfer. Orgainsed and hosted the first Faraday Discussion in Tribology in 2012. Prestigeous student prizes from IMechE, IoP and IoM3 as well as the Duncan Dowson best paper award from Leeds-Lyon Tribology symposium 2012.
Exploitation Route KTP fellow amd numerous PhDs now working as tribologists in industry. Two KTPs and two KTSs awarded.
Sectors Energy,Healthcare,Transport

URL http://www.southampton.ac.uk/ncats
 
Description The S&I funding allowed the tribology group at Southampton to grow from 5 to 50 researchers with 5 new academic and 5 new PDRA posts filled over the grant period as well as broadening and reinvigorating the discipline in new research for traditional and non-traditional areas, such as renewable energy and biotribology (hips, skin and dental aspects). This is directly coupled to the EPSRC priority areas of mechanical engineering, energy, healthcare, ageing population and manufacturing. The S&I award has helped build capacity in tribology at Southampton to a current cohort of 12 academics, 4 visiting professors, 3 post-docs and 30 PhD students and one technician. The centre staff collaborate across three faculties within the University. It has formed strategic international partnerships with Tribologists in China, India, Singapore, USA, South Africa and Finland as well as UK based centres at Leeds, Sheffield and Imperial. It organised and chaired the first Faraday Discussion in Tribology which was published in the Proceedings of the Faraday Discussion published by the RSC. There is now a new annual tribology symposium series between the UK, China and Sweden which is now in its tenth year with the 4th UK-China Tribology Symposium being published in a special issue of Wear Journal. The centre has won over £4M funding since 2014 and has worked with 100 companies. This has led to a unique opportunity for technology transfer and road mapping future industrial needs, allowing several cross-sector clubs to be formed drawing in the SME to multinational scale companies.' The centre attracted £150k of consultancy annually over the grant period that delivered real solutions such as: it achieved a 20% increase in the stability and mechanical efficiency of worm gears in industrial actuators for Rotork. Knowledge transfer concerning gear face patterns and lubrication regimes enabled the company to launch a new product (IQ3) within a shorter time frame. In fact the work by nCATS has been applicable to products accounting for 80% of Rotork Controls profits. This has led to nC2 (nCATS consulting) a spin-in company (enterprise unit) with 4 employees and annual turnover of £1m and is the best performing enterprise unit in the faculty. Direct research impacts on industry include changes to how BNFL/Sellafield processes its radioactive slurry. UoS results were included in a BNFL Design Guide for slurry handling pipework and components. This research has continued impacting designs since 2008. The guide has been adopted throughout BNFL, with no failures or shutdowns reported since publication. This work is critical: rules issued by the Health and Safety Executive demand that BNFL pumps and processes the slurry without any leakages during plant lifetime, due to the radioactive nature of the slurry. Sellafield Ltd, the company responsible for nuclear decommissioning and waste management, placed several further projects with nCATS, most recently - in 2011 - an independent technical review of an internal desktop wear study of jet erosion from sludge handling plant agitators. (RIfI Document Ref. 00709/R, 30/08/11). This study highlighted the vulnerability of stainless steel valve parts to erosion. Erosion damage was avoided by Sellafield employing a more erosion resistant material in the identified parts of valves. This improved design was put forward for a BNFL award. Professor Polcar for example has has extensive funding track record from bodies in the Czech Republic (GAAV,GACR, MPO), Portugal (FCT), UK (TSB, EPSRC, DSTL, Innovate UK). He was successful with European bids (FP7: Radinterfaces 2011-2014; HardAlt 2013-2016, AgriSenSact (2014-2016) and now he runs two H2020 projects (MSCA ITN project Solution, coordinator, and FET Open project Icarus). His research covers large area of surface engineering, particularly design, deposition and characterisation of thin films, radiation damage, nanoscale mechanical properties and interface phenomena. He pioneers novel self-lubricant coatings with self-adaptive nanostructure and high temperature tribology of thin films. His total funding portfolio is over £6m and he has number of industrial collaborators. People skills pipeline: Of the 5 new academic hires at lecturer level and the three existing staff, one has been made professor at Ohio State University, one is now Deputy head of school research in Engineering and head of the materials research group, one is now a professor and head of nCATS, one is now associate dean research for the faculty of engineering and physical sciences at Southampton, two are associate professors and two assistant professor. Of the five PDRAs hired, one is assistant lecturer in the energy technologies group at Southampton, one is newly appointed assistant lecturer in nCATS, two are associate professors at Portsmouth University and one a civil servant in Turkey. 52 PhDs have graduated since the formation of nCATS with 21 being female and 24 industrially sponsored. Over 50% have gone into industrial careers. Recently nCATS has developed new collaborations Schaeffler, GSK and BAESystems. It returned an impact case study into REF2014 impact case study, https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fimpact.ref.ac.uk%2Fcasestudies%2FCaseStudy.aspx%3FId%3D44169&data=01%7C01%7CS.K.Richardson%40soton.ac.uk%7C08701918199f4d8cd79008d7c4faedc7%7C4a5378f929f44d3ebe89669d03ada9d8%7C0&sdata=0mVc41O%2FP6rVgMKCm4UmucTXNdnSugY%2B2RDapUOCGM8%3D&reserved=0. Professor Ling Wang is making major contributions to the understanding of damage processes that lead to premature bearing failures in wind turbines by detecting White etching crack using multiple sensing and advanced signal processing techniques', sponsored by Schaeffler Technologies and University of Southampton, 2016 - 2019, Dr Walker (now lecturer but hired as a PDRA by the S&I award has led scuffing detection in cylinder liners with EPSRC KTI funding with SWR (USA) and Phoenix Tribology Ltd. (UK). Research led by Professor Wood entailed the understanding of complex interactions between erosion and cavitation damage on gas turbine and wear resistant materials that enabled damage and material loss rates to be determined Dr Wharton led a collaborative research study into the marine corrosion performance of marine propulsion materials, such as nickel-aluminium bronze; the influence of seasonal biofouling and environmental factors on the protective oxide films present on these copper-based alloys. This work established the complex coupling between to biofilm activity and protective film formation. The findings have been disseminated across MoD Integrated Project Teams, BAE Systems and also to the Copper Development Association Research led by Dr Cook, a novel method has been developed for the analysis of retrieval hip replacement components based on 3D mapping of worn areas. In partnership with the precision metrology company RedLux Ltd, Cook validated a new method of evaluating internal tapers of hip replacements. The non-contact method enhanced the resolution of the taper assessments, provided greater accuracy, added detail to the assessment of origins of material loss and also significantly reduced measurement times compared to traditional contact measurement assessments Drs Limbert and Sutton developed a wear modelling platform implemented within COMSOL Multiphysics®. This software enables the reliable physics-based simulation of mild sliding wear for varying Lubrastrip™ geometry used in P&G products (sold worldwide under the brand GilletteTM) by non-experts through a customised graphical user interface. These numerical tools are now transferrable to P&G R&D teams not versed in computational techniques and also to teams in other P&G Divisions (e.g., baby care, laundry). The new technique developed during EPSRC sponsored Sutton's KTS reduces the simulation time from several days in the company's old system to 20-30 minutes and was already guiding P&G R&D teams in chemistry formulation and Lubrastrip™ design.
First Year Of Impact 2008
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Energy,Healthcare,Transport
Impact Types Economic

 
Description A computational modelling approach to the design and testing
Amount £88,174 (GBP)
Organisation F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG 
Department Roche Diagnostics
Sector Private
Country Global
Start 07/2017 
End 12/2017
 
Description EPSRC Network
Amount £868,704 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/M027260/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2015 
End 06/2017
 
Description EPSRC Platform Grant
Amount £1,200,359 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/J001023/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2011 
End 12/2016
 
Description EPSRC Standard Research
Amount £22,928 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/K005103/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2012 
End 11/2015
 
Description EPSRC Standard Research
Amount £174,558 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/K040375/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2013 
End 05/2017
 
Description EPSRC Standard Research
Amount £635,797 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/G042195/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2009 
End 12/2013
 
Description EPSRC Standard Research
Amount £1,010,584 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/K013319/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2013 
End 05/2017
 
Description EPSRC Technology Programme
Amount £57,867 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/K50404X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2013 
End 03/2015
 
Description H2020-MSCA-ITN/ETN-2016-SOLUTION-Tomas Polcar
Amount £630,644 (GBP)
Funding ID to be determined. Web presence at http://www.itn-solution.eu/ 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 10/2016 
End 09/2020
 
Description Nanocomposite coatings based on metal oxides
Amount £110,000 (GBP)
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2016 
End 10/2019
 
Description Renaissance of alloys: nanocrystalline bimetals
Amount £223,099 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R041768/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2018 
End 12/2019
 
Description BBC TV 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact BBC South news: Interview on metal on metal hips and project with surgeons at Southampton General Hospital.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Chair of UK Tribology 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Prof R Wood was appointed chair of the cross-institutional committee called UK Tribology which promotes Tribology to non-specialists. Institutions involved include IMechE, IET, IoP, IoM3 and RSC. .
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017,2018
 
Description Radio 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact BBC Radio Solent: Interview about what tribology is and relevance to the UK economy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014