Advanced Materials equipment refresh

Lead Research Organisation: Swansea University
Department Name: School of Engineering

Abstract

This proposal to modernise existing equipment and to establish new, leading research facilities in the field of materials characterisation comprises two "bundles" of equipment.

The first comprises a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) and an X-Ray Tomographic Microscope. Advanced characterisation is only possible with state-of-the art imaging; this equipment will link engineering at the macro-scale with fundamental scientific discoveries at the nano-scale. There are clear synergies with research being undertaken at the SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre, which is backed by £10M funding from EPSRC and Technology Strategy Board/Innovate UK. The proposed equipment underpins an atoms to applications approach to science and engineering and will be housed in a purpose-built scientific imaging facility with bespoke climatic control and vibration free floors. This facility is already under construction and will permit an emphasis on correlative microscopy spanning two, three and four dimensions, combining multiple scales and different forms of advanced microanalysis, to provide new insight and connect cutting-edge imaging and analysis techniques.

The facility's ex- and in-situ mechanical testing and multi-dimension/scale imaging modalities will be a 'beamline-bridge' for advancing lab-based investigations to STFC Diamond Light Source/ISIS, increasing the number and diversity of academic/industrial take-up of central strategic RCUK facilities.

The second bundle is aligned to the Institute of Structural Materials (ISM), which supports a pool of highly experienced post-doctoral research officers and support staff, and significant rolling research funding including the Rolls-Royce/EPSRC Strategic Partnership, which is designed to extend the capability of existing high temperature metallic systems and develop novel alloys for potential use within a twenty-year horizon (the "Vision 20" materials). ISM is globally recognised as a centre of excellence for mechanical caracterisation of Structural Materials, and has ~£700k PA rolling EPSRC research funding secured to 2019.

This proposal seeks to refresh experimental equipment which will be housed in a bespoke £14M research and testing building also under construction as part of the University's £450M campus development programme. The equipment to be refreshed includes:

*Test frame for use in corrosion-fatigue environment
*Thermo-mechanical fatigue test facility
*Gleeble thermo-mechanical simulator
*Component lifing under strain control
*High frequency servo-hydraulic test facility
*High temperature vacuum crack propagation facilities

The proposal also seeks funding for a new, desktop tensile testing facility which will provide a bridge between theoretical teaching and full scale mechanical testing.

The proposal benefits from significant additional investment from the Welsh European Funding Office, Welsh Government National Research Networks and Ser Cymru, and Swansea University; support from industrial users; partnership with STFC; an extensive network of academic collaborators, and the infrastructure of the University's new Science and Innovation Campus, scheduled to open in September 2015.

Planned Impact

This proposal will establish the first integrated scientific facility of its kind in Wales that is able to provide on-demand services to industry and academia, irrespective of their size or financial means. It will deliver an open facility with correlative capability in mechanical, micro and nano-characterisation, supporting academic and industrial research in advanced materials and beyond, supported by a new collaborative partnership with STFC.

The facility's direct impacts include
* Increased utilisation of state-of-the-art characterisation facilities
* Increased and improved industrial research and development activity
* Increase in pan-supply chain, inter-industrial and industry-academic research activity
* Improved utilisation of central STFC facilities from within Wales
* Increased knowledge base of advanced characterisation at a direct industry level (work based learning) and for those studying in the academic environment
* Increase in the number of world class research outputs, research investment and research active academic staff for UK

In the longer term, indirect impacts will be seen in job creation within UK industry, increased economic output in the UK from foundation industries; contributions to UK technological and environmental targets aligned to EPSRC Grand Challenges, and increased public understanding and awareness of science and engineering.

The equipment will benefit a broad range of stakeholders, including academic staff, early career researchers and postgraduate students in universities across Wales and beyond, as well as numerous industrial partners such as Airbus, BASF, Cogent Power, ESA, NSG Pilkington, Rolls-Royce plc and TATA Steel.

Close involvement of these partners will ensure that research outputs are targeted at industry and user needs. The facility will be operated on an open access model with a flexible approach to encouraging collaboration. Researchers who wish to use the facility will be able to disseminate findings rapidly and effectively and utilise the equipment at reduced rates, supporting the core objective to provide a regional hub for materials characterisation and research.

Transfer of knowledge and new technologies to users will be achieved through joint research projects developed by the partners in collaboration with industry stakeholders. The facility will also function as an STFC bridging facility, a gateway to explore diverse research and industrial imaging challenges up to laboratory capability, and supporting research requiring more advanced central facilities at Diamond Light Source/ISIS. An SU-funded STFC Fellow will support collaborations aiming at using STFC beam lines, and will support researchers in understanding and interpreting data, using HPC Wales resources, to encourage further engagement with local businesses and academic partners.

Economic impacts will be evident in the commercialisation of the research outputs arising from the proposed equipment. The facility therefore has significant potential to support commercialisation and innovation in multinational companies as well as in the SMEs who will also benefit from the equipment.

The University's Impact Acceleration Account will contribute financial support for secondments, proof of concept projects and industrial networking to maximise usage of the equipment and to ensure its longer term sustainability.

Researchers associated with the facility will also undertake extensive Public Engagement and outreach, building on the University's experience of proven initiatives such as Research as Art and Materials:Live. These activities will bring the research enabled by the equipment to wider public attention, particularly through engagement with schools, science festivals, and other public-facing events.

Further impacts will be facilitated through the use of the equipment to support interdisciplinary collaborations with, for example, medicine, archaeology, and earth sciences.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title 50/50 
Description 50/50, physical Science/Art piece using X-rays. A collaboration between Dr Richard Johnston and artist Naomi Bowey. Exhibited September - October 2015 at Millenium Centre, Cardiff. The work 50 Boxes 50 Objects (50/50) explores the effects objects have on our behaviour. Looking at forms of collection, archiving and the compulsive act of hoarding, Individuals personal objects are sealed within boxes and then sent through the post with only a written clue as to what may be within. Then through collaboration with a microscopist, we are given a colourless 2D glimpse as to what may lay within. An ambiguous view that still retains a somewhat, enigmatic mystery. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact Collaborating artist used the exhibit in a portfolio for subsequent employment as a digital/video artist. 
URL http://www.naomibowey.com/#0
 
Title MicroMoon - by Mark Coleman 
Description Submission to Research as Art image/story competition based on microscopy. 
Type Of Art Image 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact Global reach via press generated from the resulting image/story via BBC and other outlets. 
URL http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-33264272
 
Description Though purely an equipment-based grant, this award has spawned very significant research activity and funding since the facility was established and the final pieces of equipment were delivered in January/February 2016. Since that time the centre has underpinned over 60 publications and ~£15m of further EPSRC funding. It has supported collaboration with Welsh and wider UK universities, industrial training and consultancy services and STEM outreach activities. The facility is the only of its kind in Wales and continues to support the wider academic and industrial community.
Exploitation Route The main premise of the facility is to provide a facility / environment that will provide training for industrial, educational and academic partners within the region. It grants open access to world class scientific facilities, allowing the production of datasets that will underpin world class research and commercial advantage for a wide range of users within the region. The beneficiary sectors highlighted below are based on either access or training requests by our current partners.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Construction,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Transport,Other

URL http://www.swansea.ac.uk/engineering/aim/
 
Description We have developed a unique integrated imaging facility for correlative imaging, based around this equipment-focussed grant. This has led to enhanced relationships with external industrial partners (Carl Zeiss, Cogent, TATA Steel, and others). The centre has developed into a key central facility university wide and underpins a significant proportion of the experimental research conducted in the college of engineering and increasing proportions in other colleges across the university. The facility has supported research in fields as broad as medicine, glaciology, Egyptology, metallurgy, chemical engineering and nanotechnology to name just a few. It now supports in excess of 150 active users from diverse research backgrounds and in collaboration with equipment manufacturers and end users is developing novel techniques in correlative microscopy significant at an international level. Beyond the direct research impact the centre continues to act as a platform for 1) Industrial training - upskilling of industry staff 2) Consultancy and QA services to industry 3) Educational / STEM outreach training for school children e.g. via Royal Society Partnership grant. The development of the regional bridging for innovators (B4I) regional pilot programme further enhances this regional impact on businesses as it supports them both locally and with access to national facilities at the Daresbury and Harwell campuses.
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Construction,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Transport,Other
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Committee member for newly formed EM-UK (Electron microscopy UK) user group
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact The committee is developing a standardised set of training courses that will be accredited by the RMS (Royal Microscopy Society) to ensure consistent levels of training and assessment of expertise across the UK.
URL http://www.rms.org.uk/discover-engage/event-calendar/em-uk-facility-managers-meeting.html
 
Description Membership of the British Standards Institute (BSI) for X-ray microtomography
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
URL https://standardsdevelopment.bsigroup.com/committees/50244889
 
Description B4I
Amount £911,669 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/R006105/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2018 
End 04/2021
 
Description EPSRC Impact Acceleration award - Semiconductor Characterization
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation Swansea University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2018 
End 10/2019
 
Description Impact Acceleration Award (Carl Zeiss)
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2016 
End 04/2017
 
Description Industry-academia project funding
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Organisation Carl Zeiss AG 
Department Carl Zeiss X-ray Microscopy
Sector Private
Country United States
Start 11/2017 
End 10/2022
 
Description Prosperity Partnership in Rapid Product Development
Amount £2,431,506 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S005218/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2018 
End 10/2023
 
Description Royal Society Partnership Grant
Amount £2,240 (GBP)
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2016 
End 06/2016
 
Description SUSTAIN Manufacturing Hub
Amount £10,319,154 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S018107/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2019 
End 03/2026
 
Description Development of Novel Semiconductor Substrates 
Organisation Compound Semiconductor Technologies Global
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Development of analytical methods (FIBSEM and TEM) for the analysis of multilayered compound semiconductor substrates.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of material, Technical meetings and Outline technical support.
Impact The project is at an early stage
Start Year 2016
 
Description Invited into international consortium for funding proposal to NERC (Evaluating and improving the Record of Unidentified volcanic eruptions and their impact on climate over the Past Two thousand years (ERUPT)) 
Organisation Swansea University
Department Department of Geography
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We will provide expertise in advanced imaging, applied to volcanic ash material.
Collaborator Contribution The partners provide expertise in tephrochronology, earth science, chemical characterisation.
Impact Multidisciplinary: Imaging, materials science, earth sciences, tephrochronology. Outputs outlined in outputs section, but include journal paper, conference abstracts.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Invited into international consortium for funding proposal to NERC (Evaluating and improving the Record of Unidentified volcanic eruptions and their impact on climate over the Past Two thousand years (ERUPT)) 
Organisation University of St Andrews
Department School of Geography & Geosciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We will provide expertise in advanced imaging, applied to volcanic ash material.
Collaborator Contribution The partners provide expertise in tephrochronology, earth science, chemical characterisation.
Impact Multidisciplinary: Imaging, materials science, earth sciences, tephrochronology. Outputs outlined in outputs section, but include journal paper, conference abstracts.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Invited into international consortium for funding proposal to Royal Society of New Zealand 
Organisation GNS Science
Country New Zealand 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Proposal submitted to the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand
Collaborator Contribution We will contribute expertise in X-ray microtomography and imaging, applied to geological core specimens, to aid understanding of earthquake effects on sedimentary deposits.
Impact Awaiting funding decision. Preliminary research presented at conferences, detailing in outputs.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Invited into international consortium for funding proposal to Royal Society of New Zealand 
Organisation University of Auckland
Department School of Biological Sciences
Country New Zealand 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Proposal submitted to the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand
Collaborator Contribution We will contribute expertise in X-ray microtomography and imaging, applied to geological core specimens, to aid understanding of earthquake effects on sedimentary deposits.
Impact Awaiting funding decision. Preliminary research presented at conferences, detailing in outputs.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Invited into international consortium for funding proposal to Royal Society of New Zealand 
Organisation University of Bremen
Department Centre for Marine Envriomental Sciences
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Proposal submitted to the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand
Collaborator Contribution We will contribute expertise in X-ray microtomography and imaging, applied to geological core specimens, to aid understanding of earthquake effects on sedimentary deposits.
Impact Awaiting funding decision. Preliminary research presented at conferences, detailing in outputs.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Invited into international consortium for funding proposal to Royal Society of New Zealand 
Organisation University of Waikato
Country New Zealand 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Proposal submitted to the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand
Collaborator Contribution We will contribute expertise in X-ray microtomography and imaging, applied to geological core specimens, to aid understanding of earthquake effects on sedimentary deposits.
Impact Awaiting funding decision. Preliminary research presented at conferences, detailing in outputs.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Partnership with TATA Steel 
Organisation Tata Steel Europe
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Provided use of TEM facilities for the analysis of exerimental steel microstructures. Use of SEM EDS mapping for product quality issues on an ongoing basis. Development of novel microanalytical techniques for quality control systems.
Collaborator Contribution TATA steel R&D have sproadically seconded research staff to the facility.
Impact Development and Comercialisation of Novel Steel products. Significantly reduced customer rejections.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Royal Society Partnership Grant Award 
Organisation Penllergaer Primary School
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The AIM facility was used as an innovative and inspiring envirnment for a research challenge focussed on the students of Primary school age to engage in STEM subjects. THe students used the facilities to complete a short scientific investigation.
Collaborator Contribution The Primary school teachers spent time helping to Organise the activities and provided supervision and guidance during the event.
Impact 30 Primary school childern inspired by science in innovative enviornment
Start Year 2016
 
Description Royal Society Partnership Grant Award 
Organisation The Royal Society
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The AIM facility was used as an innovative and inspiring envirnment for a research challenge focussed on the students of Primary school age to engage in STEM subjects. THe students used the facilities to complete a short scientific investigation.
Collaborator Contribution The Primary school teachers spent time helping to Organise the activities and provided supervision and guidance during the event.
Impact 30 Primary school childern inspired by science in innovative enviornment
Start Year 2016
 
Description The men of the Mary Rose 
Organisation Mary Rose Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We are using AIM facilities to image the human remains recovered from the Mary Rose over 500 years ago.
Collaborator Contribution Partnership involving specimen loans, supervision of PhD student, and joint research on osteology.
Impact Multidisciplinary: Materials science, imaging, DNA, osteology, biomechanics, archaeology Joint proposal submitted to Wellcome Trust (Unsuccessful). Journal papers in preparation. Conference papers delivered.
Start Year 2016
 
Description The men of the Mary Rose 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department Nuffield Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are using AIM facilities to image the human remains recovered from the Mary Rose over 500 years ago.
Collaborator Contribution Partnership involving specimen loans, supervision of PhD student, and joint research on osteology.
Impact Multidisciplinary: Materials science, imaging, DNA, osteology, biomechanics, archaeology Joint proposal submitted to Wellcome Trust (Unsuccessful). Journal papers in preparation. Conference papers delivered.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Tools for Automated failure Analysis 
Organisation Carl Zeiss AG
Country Germany 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Equipment: The AIM scientific imaging facility has a unique combination of analytical and imaging equipment which permits this investigation to be conducted at Swansea University. Expertise: I have 10 plus years experience in the characterisation of material failure which will be invaluable as part of this collaboration.
Collaborator Contribution Carl Zeiss have significant resources available for image manipulation and data correlation. These will be made available to Swansea University in addition to resource to complete the research program.
Impact The collaboration is multidisciplinary and at a very early stage in it's development.
Start Year 2016
 
Description British Science Festival talk entitled 'Inner Space', Swansea university, Sep 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Over 100 people attended this talk in the British Science Festival. Media interviews resulted, and discussion with broad general public who attended the talk, during a session 'meet the speaker' after the event.

This talk also attracted sponsorship from our industry partner, Carl Zeiss, of £1000.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://issuu.com/britishscienceassociation/docs/g1267_bsa_bsf16_prog_final
 
Description Described the process of purchasing equipment for the new AIM facility, in a 'Show us your Science' feature by Nature 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I did an interview with Nature for a feature' Show us your Science', where I described the process of purchasing equipment for AIM on this grant.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.nature.com/news/the-science-you-showed-us-1.19178
 
Description Feature in The Conversation on our research imaging the human remains of the Mary Rose 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A written feature on our research, which engaged thousands of readers internationally.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://theconversation.com/the-mary-rose-artefact-scans-are-a-new-way-of-analysing-history-64924
 
Description Good Evening Wales - BBC Radio Wales. Interview about research in AIM on bioinspiration/imaging. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Did a live radio interview about research within AIM on bioinspiration and imaging.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Industrial Microscopy Training Day - Cogent Power Ltd 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The microscopy day was designed / planned in collaboration with COgent Power Ltd. The Microscopy facilities were used to examine thriugh process development of the companies products. This facilitated a workshop / open discussion on opportunities for product and process control improvments for the company's manufacturing process. The session concluded with plans to run at least 3 more similar sessions. One focussed on training "shop floor operators" and another which involved detailed electron microscopy analysis to enhance more complex technical discussions on product development. These are planned for spring / summer 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Interview live on BBC World News TV - viewership ~100 million daily 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I gave a live interview about our research project on imaging the Mary Rose human remains and recovered ancient artefacts, on BBC World News TV channel. The interview followed a live report on President Obama announcement. I was describing why our imaging was important, and what it meant for people around the world in terms of access to these rare remains, and the ability to interact with our data. Also to announce a call for researcher engagement with the data/3D visualisations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
URL http://www.virtualtudors.org
 
Description Interview with LiveScience about our research on imaging the Mary Rose remains 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview with LiveScience for an article they published about our research on imaging the Mary Rose remains
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.livescience.com/56091-mary-rose-warship-3d-models.html
 
Description Invited talk at industrial company Carl Zeiss in California USA. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Invited talk by Dr Richard Johnston at Carl Zeiss in California, USA. The focus of the talk was the broad capability of the AIM facility, our applications, and collaborations. Post-talk discussion focussed around future collaborations with Zeiss on correlative imaging across diverse materials. Direct output within a day of Zeiss featuring our research in their case study examples, and showing our outputs on the walls of their California demo centre.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Royal Society Partnership Grant for Primary School Visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Pupils Attened Microscopy Lab and then progressed to look at life sciences samples within SEMs. This introduced them to world class scientifitic instrumentation in a dynamic and engaing environment. Funding form RS provided microscopes to School to allow them to view samples outside of this psecific event, increasing the long term impact of the activity
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Supporting the Steel Industry 
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 TV interview demonstrating the support that the new AIM facility is providing to steel industry and can cntinue to provide. Raising the profile of steel as an innovative industry.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Talk to Senior TATA Steel Excutives 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact THe talk covered current work within the ongoing AIM- TATA Steel collaboration and presented new opportunities to support the business.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Virtual Tudors press conference in London (at Wellcome Trust building) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact This was a press conference to discuss our research on imaging the human remains of the Mary Rose, and some artefacts. The assembled press were from the Guardian, BBC, Daily Mail, Times, Financial Times, among many others.

This led to around 100 articles by the global press on the research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016