The impact presented in this case study is the commercialisation of 15
products with perfume
microcapsules by Procter and Gamble (P&G), made possible using capsule
data provided by Prof Zhibing Zhang's research group at Birmingham. Use of
improved freshness performance, and thus commercial advantage, compared
formulations; they have been incorporated in P&G's four major
billion-dollar brands — Downy,
Febreze, Lenor and Tide. This has significantly improved their
competitiveness enabling P&G to
retain their leading position in the USA and Western Europe. A novel
developed at the University of Birmingham has been used extensively to
properties data for the micro-particles, including microcapsules prepared
in Birmingham and
provided by companies, which is related to their formulation and
processing conditions and end-
use performance. In addition, the knowledge generated has helped 15 other
commercialise new functional products containing micro-particles.
About 18% of UK electric supply is provided by 14 graphite-moderated
Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors (AGRs) and 1 Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR).
The AGRs are graphite-moderated, generic in design and the nuclear
regulator is concerned that a common safety related fault could lead to
immediately shutdown of all AGRs. The development of novel techniques at
Manchester has allowed the continued operation helping the operators to
establish an expected seven-year life extensions for all AGRs. For the
plant operators this represents a potential income of £2.5bn per annum,
avoid 30m tonnes CO2 pa and generate supply chain income within
the UK of £650m pa and create or protect 2000 jobs.
This research underpins assessments of nuclear reactor longevity and
safety and has contributed to EDF's project to extend the life of nuclear
reactors by 100+ reactor-years. So far this project has achieved 48 years
or nearly £9bn in benefit. The Sussex contribution is accruing value to
the UK economy of an estimated £100M at today's prices, with about £40M of
that achieved already. Graphite in nuclear reactors is susceptible to
neutron damage, and accurate estimations of the rate of graphite damage in
reactors are critical to safety and to predicting reactor lifespan.
Research from Sussex has developed models for graphite damage that now
underpin one component (of six independent components) of the safety
assessments conducted by the nuclear industry for Advanced Gas-cooled
Reactors. The research demonstrated that a previous model employed for
this purpose was invalid, and developed alternative models that have been
adopted by the nuclear industry.
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.
Semiconductor wafers are subject to damage from misaligned handling tools, leading to cracks.
Most of these are benign, but a few propagate to cause silicon wafer breakage during high
temperature processing, leading to losses in production time costing millions of dollars per year.
Research in Durham showed that X-ray Diffraction Imaging can be used to identify which cracks
will catastrophically fail. As a consequence, Jordan Valley UK Ltd has designed and already sold
over £M [text removed for publication] worth of X-ray imaging tools to the semiconductor industry.
The company identifies this product as being critical to its continuation, safeguarding more than 25
jobs, and growth over the past 2 years.
Impact on industry, academia and government institutions from engineering
materials research in the Mechanical Engineering department has been
delivered through it directly leading to UK, USA and International
Standards and Codes relating to three themes:
The results of the research of staff in this unit have led directly to
UK, US and International Standards and Codes: ASTM Standards E1457-07
(2012) and E2760-10 (2012); R5 EDF Energy Code of Practice (2012); BS 7910
(2013); ISO 25217 (2009); ISO CD 15114 (2011) and ISO 13477 (2008). These
documents all cite peer-reviewed publications by staff from this unit.
These Standards and Codes are now the basis of fracture-mechanics
methodologies used by leading engineering companies like Airbus, EDF,
E.ON, GKN, Rolls-Royce and Vestas, whose commercial success depends upon
technological leadership. In this way our research has led to savings by
UK industry of many millions of pounds, as detailed in Section 4.
A manufacturing process developed by Bradford researchers has
revolutionised the way endodontists perform root canal treatments. When
coated with a hydrophilic polymer, the highly-filled hygroscopic material
has enabled UK company DRFP to develop SmartPoint — a new
endodontic technique that dramatically reduces failure rates of root canal
treatments from 11-30% over five years to approximately 1%, and gives
lower levels of post-operative pain when compared with conventional
techniques. The technology has won three awards for innovation and DRFP
has expanded significantly, with a dedicated production facility and sales
team offering visits to dentists to demonstrate the benefits of the