The vulnerability of both military and civilian infrastructure to the
threat of terrorist activity has highlighted the need to improve its
survivability, and this poses a significant design challenge to engineers.
Research work at Imperial has led to the development of novel constitutive
relationships for polymeric materials coupled to novel analysis
procedures; software algorithms for effective simulations of blast and
impact events; and enhanced experimental testing methods allowing a
fundamental understanding of the structures. According to Dstl, this body
of research has `unquestionably improved the security and effectiveness
of the UK armed forces operating in hostile environments abroad as well
as the safety of citizens using metropolitan infrastructure within the
UK'. The techniques have been applied to vehicles and UK
infrastructure, including for high profile events, such as the 2012
New techniques for measuring, and novel measurements of, turbulence in
continental shelf seas and estuaries, developed by Bangor University's
Turbulence and Mixing Group, have revolutionised the representation of key
vertical exchange processes within state-of-the-art numerical ocean
models. These measurements have directly improved modelling accuracy of
coastal sea mixing dynamics and the forecasts produced are directly
applied in development of government policy, marine energy technology, and
search and rescue activities in the UK (e.g. Met Office, Cefas) and Baltic
Sea regions of Europe. This measurement of marine turbulence has also
provided critical information in determining the effective siting of
marine renewable energy plants.
Fluid modelling approaches devised by the Materials and Engineering
Research Institute's (MERI's) materials and fluid flow modelling group
have impacted on industrial partners, research professionals
and outreach recipients. This case study focuses on economic
impacts arising from improved understanding which this modelling
work has given of commercial products and processes. These include: metal
particulate decontamination methods developed by the UK small company Fluid
Maintenance Solutions; liquid crystal devices (LCDs) manufactured by
the UK SME ZBD Displays; and an ink-droplet dispenser module
originally invented at the multinational Kodak. Additionally, the
modelling group's computer simulation algorithms have been adopted by
industrial research professionals and made available via STFC
Daresbury's internationally distributed software package DL_MESO.
Finally, the group has developed, presented and disseminated
simulation-based materials and visualisations at major public
understanding of science (PUS) events.
Research at Kingston University into the use of flame spray pyrolysis
(FSP) to manufacture metal
oxide nanoparticles has resulted in the creation of an industrial FSP
nanoparticle production line.
This achieves production rates an order of magnitude higher than was
previously achievable, while
allowing particle size to be controlled at the same scale as existing
small FSP processes.
TECNAN, a Spanish SME, established in 2007, that manufactures and sells
nanomaterials on the
international market, has used this production line to produce a range of
commercial customers, for use in a wide range of applications. As well as
allowing a broad product
range to be offered, the production line also achieves a cost reduction of
over 30% compared to
previous manufacturing methods.
Using advanced mathematics and numerical modelling we have demonstrated
how fundamental understanding of laminar-turbulent transitions in fluid
flows can save energy. From 2008 we helped the cleantech company, Maxsys
Fuel Systems Ltd, to understand and improve their technology and
demonstrate to customers how it can reduce fuel use by 5-8%. Customers
including Ford Motor, Dow Chemical and Findus testify to the impact from
financial savings and reduced carbon emissions obtained by installing
Maxsys products on industrial burners used widely in many industrial
sectors including automotive, bulk chemicals and food. In 2010, Selas Heat
Technology Company bought the Maxsys brand to invest in this success.
The investigators of this impact case study have utilised their expertise
in materials engineering, theoretical/numerical modelling and product
development to achieve significant economic, social and environmental
impacts in a range of fields through developing a systematic methodology
for innovative product design and optimisation. Through several industrial
projects and collaborations, significant impacts have been witnessed
including new products creating several million pounds in revenue annually
for businesses in different sectors and green manufacturing technologies
in repair and reclamation of components. All the described impacts were
results of investigation in the Mechanical Engineering and Materials
Research Centre (MEMARC) over the assessment period.
Our research has been key to the development of investor confidence in an
emerging UK tidal stream industry. We have contributed to the development
and validation of commercial and open- source software for tidal stream
system design and our expertise has been instrumental to the successful
delivery of major objectives of two national industry-academia marine
energy projects commissioned by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI).
Taken together, these outcomes have reduced engineering risks that had
been of concern to potential investors. Investor confidence in tidal
energy has been increased, as highlighted by Alstom's £65m acquisition of
a turbine developer following a key outcome of the ETI ReDAPT project.
Research at GCU led to a novel method for backfilling pipeline tunnels
providing the ability to fill tunnels three times more quickly than the
traditional method resulting in a cost saving of £1.5M on a single
project. This approach is now best practice at Murphy Pipelines Ltd (MPL)
and features in current tenders to a value of £30M. The change in fill
material lowered the carbon footprint by 5000 tonnes in a CEEQUAL award
winning project, in addition, the removable fill material allows the
recycling and re-use of tunnels, adding to the assets of the company and
Our flow modelling and process optimisation research has improved
significantly the scientific understanding of key industrial coating,
printing and droplet flow systems. We have implemented our research
findings in software tools for staff training and process optimisation
which have enabled: (i) the worldwide coating industry to improve the
productivity and sustainability of their manufacturing processes; (ii)
[text removed for publication]; (iii) a major automotive supply company to
develop an award-winning droplet filtration system for diesel engines.
[text removed for publication].
Research undertaken in the University of Cambridge Department of Physics
has provided benchmark data on, and fundamental physical insights into,
the high strain-rate response of materials, including powdered reactive
metal compositions. The data have been used widely by QinetiQ plc. to
support numerical modelling and product development in important
industrial and defence applications. One outcome has been the development
of a reactive metal perforator for the oil industry which significantly
outperforms conventional devices. These devices `perforate' the region
around a bore-hole, thereby substantially enhancing recovery, particularly
in more difficult oil fields, and extending their economic viability. Over
a million perforators have been deployed since their introduction in 2007.