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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L017695/1
Title: MAnufacture of Safe and Sustainable Volatile Element functional materials - MASSIVE Materials
Principal Investigator: Dorey, Professor RA
Other Investigators:
Yan, Dr H Nicholls, Professor JR Freer, Professor R
Reece, Professor M Dunn, Professor SC Zhang, Dr Q
Rocks, Dr SA Hall, Dr DA Impey, Dr SA
Cernik, Professor R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
CeramTec UK Limited European Thermodynamics Ltd Excelitas Technologies UK Ltd
GE sensing and inspection technologies Intrinsiq Materials Limited Johnson Matthey
Kennametal M&I Materials Ltd Meggitt PLC
Morgan Advanced Materials plc (UK) National Physical Laboratory PI Ceramic
Syfer Technology Ltd Xaar Plc
Department: Mechanical Medical and Aerospace Eng
Organisation: University of Surrey
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 31 March 2014 Ends: 31 January 2020 Value (£): 2,920,233
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Electronic Devices & Subsys. Manufact. Enterprise Ops& Mgmt
Manufacturing Machine & Plant Materials Processing
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
24 Oct 2013 Materials Substitution - Interview Meeting Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The world around us is full of modern technology designed to make our lives safer, more comfortable and more efficient. Such technology is made possible by materials and devices that are able to interact with their surrounding environment either by sensing or acting upon it. Examples of such devices include motion detectors, fuel injectors, engine sensors and medical diagnostic tools. These interactive devices contain functional materials that can pose health hazards, are obtained from parts of the world where supply cannot be guaranteed or are relatively scarce.

If access to these functional materials is restricted, many of these advances will no longer be available resulting in a reduction in living standards and decreased UK economic growth. There already exist a number of replacement materials that can provide the same functions without the same levels of concerns around safety, security of supply and sustainability. However, these replacement materials need to be manufactured using different processes compared to existing materials. This project explores new manufacturing technologies that could be used to create interactive devices that contains less harmful and sustainable materials with a secure supply.

This project will focus on two types of material - thermoelectric and piezoelectric - where the replacement materials share a set of common challenges: they need to be processed at elevated temperatures; they contain elements that evaporate at high temperatures (making high temperature processing and processing of small elements difficult); they are mechanically fragile making it difficult to shape the materials by cutting, grinding or polishing; they are chemically stable making it difficult to shape them by etching; and many are air and moisture sensitive.

The proposed research will address these challenges through three parallel research streams that proactively engage with industry. The first stream is composed of six manufacturing capability projects designed to develop the core manufacturing capabilities and know-how to support the programme. The second is a series of short term feasibility studies, conducted in collaboration with industry, to explore novel manufacturing concepts and evaluate their potential opportunities. Finally, the third stream will deliver focussed industrially orientated projects designed to develop specific manufacturing techniques for in an industrial manufacturing environment.

The six manufacturing capability projects will address:

1) The production of functional material powders, using wet and dry controlled atmosphere techniques, needed as feedstock in the manufacture of bulk and printed functional materials.

2) How to produce functional materials while maintaining the required chemistry and microstructure to ensure high performance. Spark Plasma Sintering will be used to directly heat the materials and accelerate fusion of the individual powder particles using an electric current.

3) Printing of functional material inks to build up active devices without the need to assemble individual components. Combing industrially relevant printing processes, such as screen printing, with controlled rapid temperature treatments will create novel print manufacturing techniques capable of handling the substitute materials.

4) How to join and coat these new functional materials so that they can be assembled into a device or protected from harsh environments when in use.

5) The fitness of substituted material to be compatible with existing shaping and treatment stages found later in the manufacturing chain.

6) The need to ensure that the substitute materials do not pose an equal or greater risk within the manufacturing and product life cycle environment. Here lessons learned from comparable material systems will be used to help predict potential risks and exposures.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.surrey.ac.uk