Biomimetics and Biomimicry in Engineering

Posts Tagged ‘Industry’

Removing mass with maths

In Comment on 2017/11/14 at 3:02 pm

We are creating lightweight materials by removing mass from where it is not needed and adding it to places subjected to high loads and strains. It is Drawing with Maths

“[The Universe] is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it” —Galileo Galilei, The Controversy on the Comets, 1618

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3D Acoustic-Structure Interaction of Ultrasound in Fluids for the Manufacture of Graded Materials

In Publications, Seminars and Keynotes on 2017/10/20 at 2:55 pm

Functionally graded materials engineered to meet specific requirements are being increasingly sought after for advanced engineering projects, yet the possibilities for their manufacture lag behind their design. The ability to control the porosity of a cellular material is one such method for adding functional gradients within materials. A novel
technique using ultrasound to control the porosity in reacting polymers shows potential to effectively mass-manufacture porosity tailored polymeric foams. In this work the pressure field in a metastable polymer produced by multiple ultrasonic sources is
modeled at distinct stages of the polymerisation reaction.

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Joe Holt presenting our work on multiphysics modelling

This work has been presented at the COMSOL Conference 2017, 18th – 20th October 2017, Rotterdam (Netherlands) by Joe Holt, a researcher in the Multifunctional Materials Manufacturing Lab, PhD student of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Embedded Intelligence and co-sponsored by FAR Composites UK Ltd.

We are recruiting a new member of the team

In Jobs & Vacancies on 2017/05/02 at 10:09 am

We are recruiting a Research Associate in Advanced Composites Manufacturing for the Automotive Industry.

The manufacture of lightweight composites for the Automotive Industry requires of transformative engineering and science with the academic rigour to address the challenges presented. The creation of cost-effective automotive structural components will be carried out with Sonication technologies as a new manufacturing process for multifunctional lightweight materials that exhibit bespoke mechanical properties. We are looking for an enthusiastic researcher with a background in Mechanical or Electrical Engineering and preferably with practical experience in Control and Instrumentation. We are passionate about developing our researchers so the post holder will benefit from a range of development opportunities.

The post will be based at the Multifunctional Materials Manufacturing Lab at the Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University

For more details and to apply: Jobs.ac.uk and the university website

An integrated approach towards zero net emissions via lightweight manufacturing

In Funding on 2017/03/14 at 4:05 pm

We have managed to secure funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Innovate UK and Far UK Ltd to develop research that makes an impact on emissions savings from road vehicles.

My Multifunctional Materials Manufacturing Lab at Wolfson School and my industrial collaborator (Far UK ltd) have been awarded more than £250k to develop excellent science that allows the design and manufacture of low weight structures for vehicle chassis components. Low weight is beneficial for reduced tailpipe emissions for both existing internal combustion engine vehicles but also as an enabler for further electrification of the fleet. The manufacture of the optimised structures via the sonication process incurs another challenge: to achieve mass market weight reduction this needs to be done cost effectively.

This project is part of the Integrated Delivery Programme 13: Low Emission Vehicle Systems (IDP13): Stream 1 – Collaborative technical feasibility studies.

Lightweighting

In Funding on 2016/02/24 at 2:58 am

Lightweight materials are the next pit-stop in the challenge of reducing mass, curbing emissions and improving fuel economy in the low carbon vehicles of tomorrow.

UK’s ambitious commitment to decarbonisation of the transport industry by 2050 is going to require a creative approach. Current reductions have been gained by improvements in engine performance but these gains are diminishing. If we were to go 100% electric, we still need to produce the electricity, so the footprint is not necessarily diminished as much as it could appear. To meet the carbon emissions target we need to reduce vehicle mass. For example, a car the size of a Ford Focus would need to reduce mass by about 300kg (from ~1200kg to ~900kg).  The car industry needs to find a way to manufacture lightweights without adding production cost in the shorter term.

Loughborough University and Far UK Ltd, a Nottingham-based innovative low-volume tailored vehicle designer and manufacturer, have joined forces to explore the concept of novel and engineered structures, multifunctional materials bespoke for their mechanical properties, and manufactured in a cost-benefit and continuous fashion using Sonication technology that allows on-demand tailoring of porosity. This exciting research program has just secured co-funding from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

This programme of research presents a new avenue for high value manufacturing and helps support the UK knowledge base, economy and jobs.

TSB_announcement

We have been in the press here and here

Predicting energy demands in Portsmouth

In Info on 2015/09/09 at 5:55 pm

Brian Nwike, my placement student, has been working at Atkins on a prediction tool capable of analysing various energy drivers to create a forecast detailing the shifts and changes in energy use over a 20 year project timeframe. There are two very different locations, Portsmouth and Kano and Kaduna in Northern Nigeria, where the local governments are making use of this resource to forecast future gas and electricity demand and take educated expansion decisions.

“The inclusion of user adjustment to create unique demand scenarios demonstrates the model’s commitment to exploring the unpredictable change of the future”, Brian says

Along with his work on energy studies, Brian took part in the Good Jobs Campaign, launched by Boris Johnson and CitizensUK which Atkins supports. The campaign identifies future skills gap and the effect this will have on the UK economy if this gap remains. Brian attended to events to rub shoulders with Boris Johnson and Atkins Chairman, Allan Cook.

Brian is back to Uni in Loughborough this October to embark on his 3rd year of MEng in Mechanical Engineering.

The increasing demand for STEM graduates: a shortage or a recruitment failure?

In Info on 2015/09/01 at 10:18 am

My student Andrew Craik has spent the past year investigating the perceived shortage of STEM talent by industry and why STEM graduates are so inclined to work in occupations that are not related to their degree.

“Although evidence suggests that there is a high demand for qualified STEM graduates in core STEM areas, why do so many still stray to different sectors?”

Andrew concludes that there is no shortage of STEM talent entering the pipeline at university, it is how they are treated throughout their university life what influences their career choices and, sometimes, a large number of drop-outs to other industries. Low numbers of females studying STEM (Engineering in particular) subjects exacerbate the problem of not enough graduates available for Industry (45% of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) members declare there is a serious problem with the supply of STEM graduates (Phillips, 2013)).

The main three reasons are:

  • A realistic and perceived salary shortage in a traditional STEM career which creates an interest shortage from candidates
  • A self-inflicted shortage imposed by recruiters, in particular STEM Industries who produce far less attractive graduate offers than non-STEM recruiters (eg Financial services)
  • The fallacy of the 2:1. Staff screening applications are not often qualified to appropriately judge the level of technical expertise of the candidates and refer to artificial thresholds such as the 2:1 or degree awarding university. In most cases these are irrelevant to the reality of the role.

Andrew recommends:

“The shortage comes from these barriers imposed on the graduate market and unless there is a dramatic change in the influx of students studying STEM subjects at A-Level and subsequently University, employers must deal with the problem directly. Whether this means putting more resources into their recruitment, increasing graduate salaries, moulding more interesting graduate jobs, creating more engaging graduate schemes or considering students with a 2.2 in a reputable course from top universities then actions need to be taken sooner rather than later.”

 

Bridging the gap between lectures and practice

In Info on 2015/08/31 at 8:29 am

Richard Vigis, 3rd yr Mechanical Engineering student at Loughborough University, has been my DIS student this past year at Transport for London. A major piece of work he accomplished was the research and development of a new locking mechanism for the battery trays on the 1992 Tube Stock, used on the Central and Waterloo & City lines on London Underground. This change will affect 350 cars and will help prolong the life-in-service of those trains. On his year in industry, he says:

“This year has completely changed my view of understanding of engineering; having a fundamental understanding of how engineering works in a real life environment compared to a lecture hall will stand me in great stead for my future. Not only have I become more competent in analysing systems and problem solving, but I have reinforced much of the theory I have learnt in the first two years. This should give me a good platform to go on and perform well academically over the remaining time of my degree. Working in a corporate environment has also made develop a more mature and professional attitude to my work, and this is something I will take back and apply to my work at university.”

Richard also devoted his time to promote engineering as a career for pupils and he got a Transport for London Bronze Award for his work. Congratulations!

Richard receiving his award from Principal Engineer Peter ***

Richard receiving his award from Principal Engineer John Batchelor for his work promoting STEM and engineering amongst pupils

Update: After rigorous assessment, Richard has succeeded and been offered a graduate position upon his graduation in 2017! Congratulations on this massive achievement, Richard.

Baking with Sound: a successful industry-focussed research project

In Knowledge Transfer on 2015/02/11 at 10:15 am

The Baking with Sound project, a research project co-funded by industry and Innovate UK, has come to the end of its current funding. We have taken the technology from a ‘batch’ setting to a set of prototypes that can produce bakery foodstuff in an industrial environment. In TRL terms, we have ratcheted up about 4 levels. We have generated and protected IP and trained 2 students and 2 research associates. We gelled a working research team that had fun, traveled the UK extensively and ate lots of our own experimental samples. (Some of them were even nice).

We have shown that the sonication technology has a positive effect on the crumb structure and texture on baked products in general, and of ‘free-from’ product range in particular (e.g. gluten-free and low-salt). The next stop for us is the integration of the sonication technology in the commercially designed bakery equipment apparatus.

The Baking with Sound consortium was formed by Macphie of Glenbervie, Nortek Piezo, MONO Bakery Equipment and Fosters Bakery (as industrial partners), and Loughborough University (as the academic lead).

CDT in Embedded Intelligence at Loughborough University

In Funding, Info on 2014/01/09 at 1:07 pm

Loughborough University has been awarded the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Embedded Intelligence. In collaboration with 23 external partners (large companies, SMEs and other organisations that support training and industry impact) and Heriot-Watt as academic partner, this centre will train the engineers and scientists of the future at post-graduate level before they join industry as high calibre employees.

The research activities in this CDT are around the integration of ‘intelligence’ into products, machines, buildings, factories, work environments, transport systems, and supply chains. And nature can inspire the best examples of Embedded Intelligence.

The 4-year programme includes: (i) technical training in key areas of Embedded Intelligence; (ii) non-technical training in the ‘Double Transition’, to equip our students with the skills to be effective researchers during their PhD (from undergraduate into postgrad studies), and to become suitably qualified employees (from students to graduates); and (iii) industry interaction from early days throughout in a myriad of applied research rich-impact activities.

For more information, click here and here.

For the job ad, click here