The University of Manchester - Equipment Account

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Materials

Abstract

It has long been true that our ability to 'see' has progressed hand in hand with our understanding of the world, from our understanding of the very distant (first telescopes to Hubble and the array telescopes) to the very minute (first microscopes to the high performance electron microscopes). X-ray tomography opens up not just 3D imaging but temporal changes too. While X-ray imaging is advancing towards 10nm resolution at synchrotrons and we can image at 50nm in the lab., for engineering materials resolution is not an end in itself. We need to be able to image at the scales that control damage nucleation while at the same time having samples large enough to be of engineering relevance. For example, in many cases samples need to be of millimetre, or larger dimensions, for crack behaviour to be representative of practical behaviours (e.g. R-curve response), but the toughening mechanisms operate at the micron scale. This capital equipment project focuses precisely on this spatial regime, enabling us to follow sub-micron microstructure evolution processes in 3D at timescales of tens of minutes in the lab.

The new 3D x-ray imager will enable us to achieve a step jump in our ability to follow degradation and repair processes over time (4D), including:
- Self-repairing ceramics and polymer composites
- Crack growth in tough hierarchical biomaterials and bio-inspired structures
- Coating evolution and sub-surface failure
- Charging and discharging of batteries and fuel cells.
These applications are important for lighter weight transport, producing energy more efficiently through higher enginer operating temperatures, and the move towards a more electric (lower CO2) economy.

Besides these specific studies the equipment will be made available to Uk academics 40% time (>240 days over 3 years). This will allow the improved imaging capability relative to what is already available in the Uk to be applied to a vefy wide range of appplications, from civil engineering through to food science, from device materials through to new bio-scafolds.

Planned Impact

The project is closely aligned to EPSRC and technology strategy board strategy.

In Composites: it will be supporting the Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Composites (Bristol, Nottingham, Cranfield, Manchester), The National Composites Centre (Bristol, TSB) the Composite Certification and Evaluation Centre (Manchester) through impact damage mapping in composites, defects in 3D woven composites and finally the study of self-healing composites with the Creativity in Composites (Bristol) EPSRC programme grant. The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing research Centre (Sheffield/ Manchester) and the Rolls Royce UTC in Nuclear materials, The Research centre for Radwaste and Nuclear decommissioning by looking at degradation of stainless steels, the structure and failure of concrete, the structure of graphite and the structure of fuel pellets.

With regard to energy: we are supporting activities looking at fuel cells and batteries (with Shearing UCL and Brandon, Imperial) linking up with the Imaging activity at the Research complex at Harwell (P/I02249X/1) to provide both synchrotron and lab x-ray imaging. Further we are linking with Blunt at imperial College to look at Oil extraction and CO2 sequestration in various geological materials as well as shale gas. All have the prospect of delivering significant energy and financial benefits. The project will also support the move towards greener transport: this project will be tightly linked to the Lightweight alloys Programme grant (EP/H020047/1). This will enable us to use their workshops and newsletters to disseminate our work into the aerospace industry in particular.

Tissue Regeneration: The new instrument would significantly boost our biomedical device and material development (working with imperial College and a number of small UK companies). Complementing our new synchrotron beamline (I13I at Diamond Light Source) the new machine will aid the development of both soft tissue replacements (tendons, artificial skin) and hard tissue (teeth, joints, etc).
 
Description Much of the equipment, has been made available to all staff in the faculty and indeed in many cases, such as the X-ray CT system which is part of the henry Moseley X-ray Imaging Facility, made available to the wider community as a whole. The characterisation equipment became part of a larger suite of equipment when UKRPIF funding of around £18m pounds enabled it to be collected together to forma Multiscale Characterisation facility. Indeed the newly established £235m Royce Institute will establish formal mechanisms to open some of the capital equipment to the Uk academic and industrial communities.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Construction,Energy,Environment
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Built environment, energy, digital and transport
Amount £425,032 (GBP)
Funding ID 101991 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2015 
End 08/2016
 
Description Collaboration
Amount £650,000 (GBP)
Organisation Morgan Advanced Materials 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2015 
End 11/2017
 
Description Electrochemical Energy Storage with Graphene-Enabled Materials
Amount £2,190,025 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/K016954/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2013 
End 01/2019
 
Description Full-Electric Aircraft Baggage Loader
Amount £532,977 (GBP)
Funding ID 102252 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2015 
End 12/2017
 
Description ISCF Wave 1: 3D electrodes from 2D materials
Amount £917,401 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R023034/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2020
 
Description Multi-scale ANalysis for Facilities for Energy STorage (Manifest)
Amount £4,013,527 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N032888/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2016 
End 09/2020
 
Description Q-PLUS Intelligent Building energy management system utilising energy storage
Amount £293,049 (GBP)
Funding ID 133463 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2018 
End 04/2019
 
Description William Blythe Ltd
Amount £125,000 (GBP)
Organisation William Blythe Ltd 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2017 
End 10/2019
 
Description Collaboration with Zeiss 
Organisation Carl Zeiss AG
Country Germany 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Research using the Zeiss microscope to look at parasites including whipworm which affects tens of millions of people. Certain analyses and images to be used for ZEISS.
Collaborator Contribution Contributed to research by providing 2 research fellowships and a PhD studentship
Impact Publications in peer-reviewed journals - see Publications
Start Year 2014
 
Description Industrial partnerships 
Organisation Airbus Group
Department Airbus Operations
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The capital equipment purchase of ZEISS Versa is a 3D X-ray microscope enabled us to follow sub-micron microstructure evolution processes in 3D at timescales of tens of minutes in the lab. This allows us to follow degradation and repair processes over time. This instrument has been made available to industry through a commercial access route allowing the improved imaging capability, relative to what is already available in the UK, to be applied to a wide range of applications from civil engineering through to food science, from device materials through to new bio-scaffolds.
Collaborator Contribution Provided funding for industrial work undertaken using ZEISS Versa 3D X-ray microscope (£117.9k)
Impact Scientific reports sent to industrial partners
Start Year 2015
 
Description Industrial partnerships 
Organisation GKN
Department GKN Aerospace
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The capital equipment purchase of ZEISS Versa is a 3D X-ray microscope enabled us to follow sub-micron microstructure evolution processes in 3D at timescales of tens of minutes in the lab. This allows us to follow degradation and repair processes over time. This instrument has been made available to industry through a commercial access route allowing the improved imaging capability, relative to what is already available in the UK, to be applied to a wide range of applications from civil engineering through to food science, from device materials through to new bio-scaffolds.
Collaborator Contribution Provided funding for industrial work undertaken using ZEISS Versa 3D X-ray microscope (£117.9k)
Impact Scientific reports sent to industrial partners
Start Year 2015
 
Description Industrial partnerships 
Organisation Rolls Royce Group Plc
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The capital equipment purchase of ZEISS Versa is a 3D X-ray microscope enabled us to follow sub-micron microstructure evolution processes in 3D at timescales of tens of minutes in the lab. This allows us to follow degradation and repair processes over time. This instrument has been made available to industry through a commercial access route allowing the improved imaging capability, relative to what is already available in the UK, to be applied to a wide range of applications from civil engineering through to food science, from device materials through to new bio-scaffolds.
Collaborator Contribution Provided funding for industrial work undertaken using ZEISS Versa 3D X-ray microscope (£117.9k)
Impact Scientific reports sent to industrial partners
Start Year 2015
 
Description Industrial partnerships 
Organisation Tekna
Country Belgium 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The capital equipment purchase of ZEISS Versa is a 3D X-ray microscope enabled us to follow sub-micron microstructure evolution processes in 3D at timescales of tens of minutes in the lab. This allows us to follow degradation and repair processes over time. This instrument has been made available to industry through a commercial access route allowing the improved imaging capability, relative to what is already available in the UK, to be applied to a wide range of applications from civil engineering through to food science, from device materials through to new bio-scaffolds.
Collaborator Contribution Provided funding for industrial work undertaken using ZEISS Versa 3D X-ray microscope (£117.9k)
Impact Scientific reports sent to industrial partners
Start Year 2015
 
Description Industrial partnerships 
Organisation Unilever
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The capital equipment purchase of ZEISS Versa is a 3D X-ray microscope enabled us to follow sub-micron microstructure evolution processes in 3D at timescales of tens of minutes in the lab. This allows us to follow degradation and repair processes over time. This instrument has been made available to industry through a commercial access route allowing the improved imaging capability, relative to what is already available in the UK, to be applied to a wide range of applications from civil engineering through to food science, from device materials through to new bio-scaffolds.
Collaborator Contribution Provided funding for industrial work undertaken using ZEISS Versa 3D X-ray microscope (£117.9k)
Impact Scientific reports sent to industrial partners
Start Year 2015