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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/H026177/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Liquid Metal Engineering
Principal Investigator: Fan, Professor Z
Other Investigators:
Griffiths, Dr WD Green, Professor NR Scamans, Professor GM
Grant, Professor P O'Reilly, Professor K Nadendla, Professor H
McKay, Dr B
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Aeromet International Ltd Doncasters Group Ltd DSTL
Foseco International Ltd Grainger & Worrall Ltd Jaguar Land Rover Limited
JVM Castings Limited London & Scandinavian Metallurgical Co Meridian Lightweight Technologies UK Ltd
New Pro Foundries Ltd Norton Aluminium Ltd Rautomead Limited
Rolls-Royce Plc (UK) Sandvik (Cormant/Steel) Sapa Profiles UK Limited
Department: Mech. Engineering, Aerospace & Civil Eng
Organisation: Brunel University London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 May 2010 Ends: 31 October 2015 Value (£): 5,119,391
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Manufacturing Machine & Plant Materials Processing
Materials testing & eng.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Manufacturing
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
09 Dec 2009 IMRC Interview Panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The UK metal casting industry is a key player in the global market. It adds 2.6bn/year to the UK economy, employs directly around 30,000 people and produces 1.14 billion tons of metal castings, of which 37% is for direct export (Source: CMF, UK). It underpins the competitive position of every sector of UK manufacturing across automotive, aerospace, defence, energy and general engineering. However, its 500 companies are mainly SMEs, who are often not in a position to undertake the highest quality R&D necessary for them to remain competitive in global markets. The current EPSRC IMRC portfolio does not cover this important research area nor does it address this clear, compelling business need. We propose to establish IMRC-LiME, a 3-way centre of excellence for solidification research, to fill this distinctive and clear gap in the IMRC portfolio. IMRC-LiME will build on the strong metal casting centres already established at Brunel, Oxford and Birmingham Universities and their internationally leading capabilities and expertise to undertake both fundamental and applied solidification research in close collaborations with key industrial partners across the supply chain. It will support and provide opportunities for the UK metal casting industry and its customers to move up the value chain and to improve their business competitiveness. The main research theme of IMRC-LiME is liquid metal engineering, which is defined as the treatment of liquid metals by either chemical or physical means for the purpose of enhancing heterogeneous nucleation through manipulation of the chemical and physical nature of both endogenous (naturally occurring) and exogenous (externally added) nucleating particles prior to solidification processing. A prime aim of liquid metal engineering is to produce solidified metallic materials with fine and uniform microstructure, uniform composition, minimised casting defects and hence enhanced engineering performance. Our fundamental (platform) research theme will be centred on understanding the nucleation process and developing generic techniques for nucleation control; our user-led research theme will be focused on improving casting quality through liquid metal engineering prior to various casting processes. The initial focus will be mainly on light metals with expansion in the long term to a wide range of structural metals and alloys, to eventually include aluminium, magnesium, titanium, nickel, steel and copper. In the long-term IMRC-LiME will deliver: 1) A nucleation-centred solidification science, that represents a fundamental move away from the traditional growth-focused science of solidification. 2) A portfolio of innovative solidification processing technologies, that are capable of providing high performance metallic materials with little need for solid state deformation processing, representing a paradigm shift from the current solid state deformation based materials processing to a solidification centred materials engineering. 3) An optimised metallurgical industry, in which the demand for metallic materials can be met by an efficient circulation of existing metallic materials through innovative technologies for reuse, remanufacture, direct recycling and chemical conversion with limited additions of primary metal to sustain the circulation loop. This will lead to a substantial conservation of natural resources, a reduction of energy consumption and CO2 emissions while meeting the demand for metallic materials for economic growth and wealth creation.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.brunel.ac.uk