Made Smarter Innovation - Materials Made Smarter Research Centre

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Materials Science and Engineering

Abstract

The Materials Made Smarter Centre has been co-created by Academia and Industry as a response to the pressing need to revolutionise the way we manufacture and value materials in our economy. The UK's ability to manufacture advanced materials underpins our ambitions to move towards cleaner growth and a more resource efficient economy. Innovation towards a net zero-carbon economy needs new materials with enhanced properties, performance and functionality and new processing technologies, with enhanced manufacturing capability, to make and deliver economic and societal benefit to the UK. However, significant technological challenges must still be overcome before we can benefit fully from the transformative technical and environmental benefits that new materials and manufacturing processes may bring. Our capacity to monitor and control material properties both during manufacture and through into service affect our ability to deliver a tailored and guaranteed performance that is 'right-first-time' and limit capacity to manage materials as assets through their lifetime. This reduces materials to the status of a commodity - a status which is both undeserved and unsustainable. Future materials intensive manufacturing needs to add greater value to the materials we use, be that through reduction of environmental impact, extension of product life or via enhanced functionality. Digitalisation of the materials thread will help to enhance their value by developing the tools and means to certify, monitor and control materials in-process and in-service improving productivity and stimulating new business models.
Our vision is to put the UK's materials intensive manufacturing industries at the forefront of the UK's technological advancement and green recovery from the dual impacts of COVID and rapid environmental change. We will develop the advanced digital technologies and tools to enable the verification, validation, certification and traceability of materials manufacturing and work with partners to address the challenges of digital adoption. Digitisation of the materials thread will drive productivity improvements in materials intensive industries, realise new business models and change the way we value and use materials.

Publications

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