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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P030297/1
Title: STORM - Specialized Thimbles for Offshore Renewable Marine energy applications
Principal Investigator: McKay, Dr B
Other Investigators:
Minton, Dr T Anguilano, Dr L
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Inst of Materials & Manufacturing: BCAST
Organisation: Brunel University London
Scheme: Technology Programme
Starts: 01 February 2017 Ends: 31 January 2018 Value (£): 101,149
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy - Marine & Hydropower
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
In the UK it has been estimated that there will be an increase in energy demand of 66% by 2050 that could create a large

energy gap. The World Energy Council has estimated that approximately 2 terawatts (2 million megawatts), about double

current world electricity production, could be produced from the oceans with wave, tidal and offshore floating wind arrays

supplying a significant amount (up to 20%) of the UK's future energy needs. However, a critical component in these devices

is the mooring system due to the extreme environments in which they must operate. In the past 10 years there has been

considerable amount of research focused on ropes which has resulted in lighter and stronger products. This now means

that the major weakness in these mooring lines lies at the in-line and end connectors. This weakness currently presents a

major barrier for those wishing to develop the aforementioned energy technologies.

Typically ropes are spliced and metal connectors inserted to prevent wear. However, at these critical areas chaffing of the

rope on the insert can occur, resulting in its premature failure. To assemble the connector within the eye of the ropes the

connector must be split and reassembled onsite. There is a significant commercial need to develop connectors which are

faster, lighter and easier to assemble in order to increase reliability, productivity, whilst also reducing maintenance costs

and improving safety of the device.

The objective of this feasibility study is to design a new multi-material hybrid connector in order to enhance the lifespan of

the mooring system. To date a multi-material hybrid solution has not been marketed for this application. The component

must be corrosion resistant, have a higher strength than polymers, have low coefficient of friction, have high wear

resistance and have good fatigue resistance. No one material offers the range of properties that is required by the

component and thus the innovation arises from the design and the use of combining the latest novel state-of-the-art

nylon/Al materials.

TTI will use state of the art modelling to design a connector for ropes with 60-100 Tonne breaking loads. Nylacast have

produced a revolutionary low friction, high wear resistant nylon material called Nylacast CF072. The component will be

specially designed to ensure that the nylon remains under compressive loads. However, as it lacks strength, BCAST will

produce a lightweight, corrosion resistant core using a novel Al/Basalt fibre composite. This Al material exhibits

considerable increased corrosion resistance compared to mild steel. The research will investigate combining the two

dissimilar materials by overcasting and will investigate mechanical interlock and chemical bonding (using selective

coatings) at the interface. If successful, the consortium will look to upscale the product for larger mooring systems. As

wave, tidal and floating wind energy are in their infancy EMEC will conduct an LCOE analysis to fully determine the impact

of the technology in this marine energy sector with an aim to increase its use and future market penetration.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.brunel.ac.uk