Weighty transport problem gets £5.7m boost

11 Feb 2010

Scientists at the University of Manchester will use a £5.7m grant to help develop new super-light materials solutions for building greener cars and aircraft.

Image of Airbus aircraft flying through sky
Image of Airbus aircraft flying through sky

The five and a half year collaborative project – led by the University – aims to help deliver dramatic reductions in the environmental impact of transport, by finding ways of improving the design of high performance light alloys in the transport sector.

A team of eight multi-disciplinary academics, led by Professor George Thompson in the School of Materials, will investigate techniques for forming complex component architectures, joining advanced alloys and dissimilar materials, and engineering surfaces for low environmental impact, while ensuring low cost and recyclability.

Another area they will investigate is the use of coatings with self-healing properties to protect critical materials used in new design solutions.

Researchers will also exploit innovative approaches to process modelling and simulation in order to accelerate the use of new techniques and technology in industry.

The LATEST2 (Light Alloys Towards Environmentally Sustainable Transport 2nd Generation) Project is being funded by a Programme Grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

George Thompson, Professor of Corrosion Science and Engineering, said: “This important grant provides us with secure funding over several years to develop the scientific understanding to meet the challenge of building lighter vehicles and aircraft with lower carbon emissions and better fuel economy.”

“It also enables us, in conjunction with academic and industrial collaborators, to promote awareness of the importance of engineering and physical sciences – and materials in particular – to the fabric of everyday life.”

EPSRC Programme grants are a flexible mechanism to provide funding to world-leading research groups to address major research challenges. They are intended to support a suite of related research activities focusing on one strategic research challenge.

The Programme Grant will build on the success of the original LATEST Portfolio Partnership. For details see http://www.materials.manchester.ac.uk/research/portfolio/latest/

An official project launch event will be held at the University of Manchester in June 2010.

Notes for editors

Project partners are AIRBUS UK, Alcan Engineered Products, Alcoa Europe Flat Rolled Products, Bridgnorth Aluminium Ltd, CSIRO, FEI Company Tools for Nanotechnology, GKSS Research Centre, Innoval Technology Ltd, Jaguar and Land Rover, Keronite International Ltd, Magnesium Elektron Ltd, Meridian Business Development UK, NAMTEC, Norton Aluminium Ltd, Novelis Global Technology Centre, Rolls-Royce plc and TWI Limited.

For more information or to speak to someone involved in the project please contact Alex Waddington, Media Relations Officer, Tel 0161 275 8387.