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Bristol’s ACCIS Awarded EPSRC Grant for Atoms to Applications Project in Composites Innovation

Three key technologies identified as part of the Government’s ‘eight great technologies’ to drive UK growth are to receive an £85 million investment for capital equipment.

Multifunctional composite and novel microstructure

Speaking at the Global Intelligent Systems conference in London last week [Wednesday 17 July], David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, announced the results of a call for proposals issued by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The University of Bristol is one of more than 20 universities across the UK who will benefit from the announcement to support and strengthen existing research in the areas of Advanced Materials, Grid-scale energy storage and Robotics and Autonomous systems.

Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, said: “For Britain to get ahead in the global race we have to back emerging technologies and ensure our universities have the latest equipment. This capital investment will help scientists make new discoveries and take their research through to commercial success. It will drive growth and support the Government’s industrial strategy.”

The University’s Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science (ACCIS) has been awarded over £3 million for the project Composites Innovation: from Atoms to Applications.

A unique and internationally leading facility will be created to generate a step-change in the understanding of the evolving microstructure of advanced composite materials based on measurements in unprecedented detail throughout the manufacturing and product cycles. This will provide the scientific basis that will enable the creation of next generation multi-functional materials.

A suite of three interlinked and complementary sets of heavily instrumented equipment will be acquired for characterisation of the processes, the mechanical performance, and the micro and nanostructure of composite materials under realistic conditions.

The equipment will enable an in-depth understanding of the relationships between processing conditions, microstructure, and performance, allowing these to be optimised and taking account of phenomena at length scales right down to atoms.

The process equipment will be located in dedicated laboratory space within the second phase expansion of the National Composites Centre (NCC), maximising the impact of the science deriving from its use in an industrial context. The mechanical performance and microstructural equipment will be located at the University to draw in expertise from across Science and Engineering, and take advantage of the in-depth internationally leading strength in materials characterization and innovation.

The facility will build on the research carried out by ACCIS, which has major industrial backing and works closely with the NCC, part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

Professor Michael Wisnom, Director of ACCIS, said: “This new facility will enable fundamental new materials science research in physics and chemistry, through to research on processes and mechanisms in engineering, building on the world-leading activities of ACCIS.”


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