Our areas of expertise

Advanced materials

open this image in new window: Advanced Materials

Our advanced materials experts can help you select the best materials for your product or process development, materials characterisation and testing.

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Why materials are important 

Every product we produce, use, or consume is generated from one or more materials, whether metal. ceramic, plastic or concrete.  

Picking the right material to produce your product can be the difference between success and failure. In addition to the wide range of conventional materials (did you know there are around 3500 different types of steel?), the range and sophistication of advanced material types available for commercial use is increasing rapidly. Some of these could revolutionise your products and business. These include:

•    materials that exhibit super-elasticity, shape memory, and photochromic properties;
•    materials with self-healing or self-cleaning properties; and 
•    multifunctional materials that provide structural performance and have embedded sensors or can, for example, harvest solar energy.  

What materials are you using to produce your products and why? 
Are you missing out on an opportunity because you have not considered the wide range of materials options you have?  

We are here to help you answer these questions.  We’ll help your business get the best results with our expertise in the following areas:

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Design

  • We can advise on the materials and processing choices for your product.  Product performance depends on design, materials and processing, so this step is an important part of your product development.
  • Modelling and materials simulation, which can save you time when prototyping. 

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Selection and sourcing

  • We have a database of thousands of materials and the expertise to assist your materials selection.
  • We can often help with locating suppliers.
  • We can characterise and test your materials to ensure you are getting what you paid for.
  • We can help you understand how different materials choices will affect your product.

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Materials processing and part fabrication

  • We can provide expert advice on how to extract, concentrate/purify, and utilize resources, from minerals to waste materials.
  • Preparation, modification and characterisation of nanoparticles and polymers.
  • Development of coatings and modification of surfaces to improve material properties, eg fire resistant and anti-microbial applications.
  • Processing of materials from casting and injection moulding to additive manufacturing (or 3D printing).  
  • Powder (metal, ceramic or polymer) processing and characterisation.
  • Generation of complex parts and densification.
  • Laser inscription and ablation of materials – a form of micro machining.
  • Pilot scale facilities for materials and part fabrication and processing.

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Testing 

  • Analysis of materials, including density, surface area, thermal properties and chemical analysis.
  • Characterisation of materials of all length scales - from atomic and nano to macro!
  • Measurement of strength, toughness and durability.
  • Failure/forensic analysis – helping you to understand how and why your product failed.

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Smart materials

  • Sensors for harsh environments such as inside power transformers or geothermal wells 
  • Embedded sensors in plastics, composites and concretes.
  • Materials that interact with light for applications that include sensing, communications (fibre optics), spectroscopy and lasers.
  • Design using controlled release materials for industrial applications eg fire resistant and phase change materials, and slow release fertilizers.

Updated: 16 October 2017