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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K004530/1
Title: High Resolution 4D imaging of degradation and self-repair processes - Resources
Principal Investigator: withers, Professor P
Other Investigators:
Bailey, Professor C Lee, Professor P
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Materials
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 28 June 2012 Ends: 27 June 2016 Value (£): 102,171
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Please see corresponding Capital grant - EP/J021229/1

It has long been true that our ability to 'see' has progressed hand in hand with our understanding of the world, from our understanding of the very distant (first telescopes to Hubble and the array telescopes) to the very minute (first microscopes to the high performance electron microscopes). X-ray tomography opens up not just 3D imaging but temporal changes too.

While X-ray imaging is advancing towards 10nm resolution at synchrotrons and we can image at 50nm in the lab., for engineering materials resolution is not an end in itself. We need to be able to image at the scales that control damage

nucleation while at the same time having samples large enough to be of engineering relevance. For example, in many cases samples need to be of millimetre, or larger dimensions, for crack behaviour to be representative of practical

behaviours (e.g. R-curve response), but the toughening mechanisms operate at the micron scale. This capital equipment project focuses precisely on this spatial regime, enabling us to follow sub-micron microstructure evolution processes in 3D at timescales of tens of minutes in the lab.

The new 3D x-ray imager will enable us to achieve a step jump in our ability to follow degradation and repair processes

over time (4D), including:

- Self-repairing ceramics and polymer composites

- Crack growth in tough hierarchical biomaterials and bio-inspired structures

- Coating evolution and sub-surface failure

- Charging and discharging of batteries and fuel cells.

These applications are important for lighter weight transport, producing energy more efficiently through higher enginer operating temperatures, and the move towards a more electric (lower CO2) economy.

Besides these specific studies the equipment will be made available to Uk academics 40% time (>240 days over 3 years). This will allow the improved imaging capability relative to what is already available in the Uk to be applied to a vefy wide range of appplications, from civil engineering through to food science, from device materials through to new bio-scafolds.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk