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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/F033605/1
Title: Building New Capability in Structural Ceramics
Principal Investigator: Lee, Professor W
Other Investigators:
Kinloch, Professor A Hankin, Professor C
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Adelan Ltd Advanced Defence Materials Ltd Applied Functional Materials Limited
Calcarb Defence Science & Tech Lab DSTL Dynamic-Ceramic Ltd
FCT Ingenieurkeramik GmbH Heraeus Electro Nite International NV IDEA LEAGUE
Kennametal Kerneos Lucideon Ltd
Magnesita SA Murata manufacturing company Ltd Nexia Solutions
NSG Group (UK) Queen Mary University of London Rolls-Royce Plc (UK)
Tata Steel Limited TWI Ltd University of Manchester, The
Department: Materials
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Science and Innovation Awards
Starts: 01 July 2008 Ends: 30 June 2013 Value (£): 5,434,535
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Processing
Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Manufacturing
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Oct 2007 Science and Innovation Awards 2007 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
We plan to create a world-leading, multidisciplinary, UK Structural Ceramics Centre to underpin research and development of these highly complex materials. Structural ceramics are surprisingly ubiquitous not only in obvious traditional applications (whitewares, gypsum plaster, house bricks, furnace refractories, dental porcelains and hip/knee prostheses) but in hidden applications where their electrical behaviour is also important such as in computers, mobile phones, DVDs etc. Structural ceramics are enabling materials which underpin many key areas of the economy including: energy generation, environmental clean-up, aerospace and defence, transport and healthcare. Key areas where important developments can be made in energy generation include ceramics for plutonium immobilisation and for next generation nuclear reactor fuels, for ion conductors in solid oxide fuel cells, and for storage of hydrogen for the projected hydrogen economy. Porous ceramics need to be developed for heavy metal and radionuclide capturing filters to help with environmental remediation of soil, air and water and for storage of carbon captured from burning fossil fuels. The next generation of space shuttles and other military aircraft will rely on ceramic and composite thermal protection systems operating at over 2000C. Ceramic coatings on turbine blades in aircraft enable them to function at temperatures above the melting point of the metals alloys from which they are mostly made, and improved ceramics capable of operation at even higher temperatures will confer improved fuel efficiency with environmental benefits. Our troops need improved personal body & vehicle armour to operate safely in troubled areas and the latest generation of armour materials will use ceramic laminate systems but improvements always need to be made in this field. Ceramic are used increasingly for bone and tooth replacement with the latest materials having the ability to allow natural bone ingrowth and with mechanical properties close to natural bone. It is clear the improved understanding of the mechanical behaviour of ceramics, better and simpler processing and the ability to model structure-processing-property relations over many length scales will lead to significant benefit not just to the UK but to mankind. Our aim is to combine the capabilities of two internationally-leading Departments at Imperial College London (Materials and Mechanical Engineering) to form the Centre of Excellence. The Centre will act as a focal point for UK research on structural ceramics but will encourage industrial and university partners to participate in UK and international R&D programmes. 51 companies and universities have already expressed the wish to be involved with promised in-kind support at over 900K. Research activities will be developed in three key areas: -Measurement of mechanical properties and their evolution in extreme environments such as high temperatures, demanding chemical environments, severe wear and impact conditions and combinations of these.-High Temperature Processing and Fabrication. In particular, there is a need for novel approaches for materials which are difficult to process such as borides, carbides, nitrides, materials with compositional gradients and ceramic matrix composites (CMCs). -Modelling of the time-dependence of deformation and fracture of ceramics to predict the useful lifetime of components. The modelling techniques will vary from treating the material as a homogeneous block down to describing the atomic nature of the materials and links between these approaches will be established.In addition to providing the funding that will enable us to create the nucleus from which the centre can grow, mutually beneficial relations with industry, universities and research centres in the UK and abroad will be developed to ensure that a large group of researchers will remain active long after the period for which funding is sought will have ended.
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk