302 Projects, page 1 of 31

  • UK Research and Innovation
  • 2022
  • 2026

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: MR/W01338X/1
    Funder Contribution: 743,049 GBP
    Partners: Plastometrex

    Mechanical testing is routinely used in almost all industrial sectors. It is used to ensure the quality and safety of components (often mandated by regulations), to reveal important relationships between processing and properties, and to support the development of new materials and novel material systems. The gold-standard for mechanical testing is the tensile test, which measures the stress-strain properties of materials. This test involves machining of a large test coupon and requires access to a universal mechanical test machine. Although widely used, the tensile test can be time-consuming and cumbersome, with testing turnaround times of hours or even several days if outsourced, and the machinery and capital set-up costs are high. In addition, the tests result in the destruction of the sample and they generate large amounts of wasted material. Despite the clear need for improved testing methods, a risk averse sector and an over-reliance on compliance with the testing standards has hampered progress within this area. It is now evident that current testing procedures are out-dated and inflexible. There is a strong motivation for developing faster, more efficient, more cost-effective, and less wasteful testing methods. The Plastometrex (PLX) team have developed an innovative mechanical testing method for metallic materials called PIP (or Profilometry-based Indentation Plastometry). PIP measures the same stress-strain properties as the tensile test while overcoming many of its limitations. It is simple to use, reduces testing turnaround times from hours to just three minutes, sample preparation requirements are minimal, and real components can be tested. It is similar in execution to the common hardness test, but unlike the hardness test the entire residual profile shape is measured. The PIP methodology involves three main tasks: (1) Creation of an indent using our Indentation Plastometer (see, (2) Measurement of the residual profile shape using an integrated stylus profilometer, and (3) Analysis of the residual profile shape using our proprietary software package - SEMPID. PIP is well-suited for materials that are isotropic, i.e. its properties are the same in all directions. However some materials, such as additively manufactured (AM) metals, are anisotropic, i.e. their properties vary depending on the orientation. This research project will extend the capabilities of PIP to include anisotropic materials with a focus on AM metals, allowing quantitative assessment of the properties in different directions. AM could revolutionise the high value manufacturing sector, allowing rapid prototyping, radical design innovation, lower tooling costs, reduced time to market and lower production costs, waste and emissions. This research will allow these components to be rapidly tested, and provide manufacturers with almost real-time feedback on the properties of their parts. Therefore, it is an enabler for AM technology and the potential benefits for manufacturing and wider society that this brings. The research will mainly take place at Plastometrex Ltd, the host organisation of the fellow, based at the Cambridge Science Park. The research will involve a significant amount of laboratory experiments and modelling work. Oxford University are partners on the project, with their interest in high-throughput testing of AM superalloys, a family of materials that are ubiquitous in aero-engine and power-generation industries. The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) are collaborators on the project. They will provide materials for the research, equipment for characterising the amount of structure of porosity, and their leading knowledge of materials, processing and post-processing for AM metals. The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) will collaborate on the development of a standard for the methodology and conduct tensile test experiments for blind testing as part of technology validation.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/X51133X/1
    Funder Contribution: 105,984 GBP
    Partners: Durham University, P&G Technical Centres Limited (UK)

    Doctoral Training Partnerships: a range of postgraduate training is funded by the Research Councils. For information on current funding routes, see the common terminology at Training grants may be to one organisation or to a consortia of research organisations. This portal will show the lead organisation only.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/W003481/1
    Funder Contribution: 41,837 GBP
    Partners: University of Leicester

    One of the biggest unanswered questions in the solar-terrestrial science that underpins Space Weather research is: How does the high latitude ionosphere vary on small scales in response to driving from above and below? An immediate practical follow-on question would be: what are the impacts of small-scale processes to the larger upper atmosphere environment? The answers to these questions are essential for understanding how Space Weather impacts on society. This area is of growing importance to the UK, as evidenced by recent investment in operational Space Weather forecasting at the Met Office and the inclusion of Space Weather in the National Risk Register. To answer these questions, we need to understand the processes that occur in the region known as the Mesosphere-Lower Thermosphere-Ionosphere (MLTI - 75-200 km altitude) and how they affect the wider coupled ionosphere-upper-atmosphere system. The ionosphere and upper neutral atmosphere are intrinsically linked: perturb one and the other changes. This has implications for our near-Earth space environment where variations in atmospheric density produce changes in the orbits of space debris, increasing the risk of unforeseen collisions; a significant natural hazard as Geospace grows more crowded. Space Weather plays a big role in modifying this region through frictional Joule heating and particle energy deposition but is not the only important driver. The weather in the lower atmosphere drives changes in the ionosphere that can be comparable to external forcing, but the relative contribution is far from understood, as the processes are under-observed. Another barrier to knowing that contribution is our inability to properly account for small scale variability, whether driven from above or below. Upper atmosphere models typically do not resolve this variability, yet we know that not doing so leads to underestimates of the magnitude of atmospheric heating by as much as 40%. This heating is a process that relies both on space weather driving and changes in the neutral atmosphere composition and dynamics. This project will use the brand new, next generation ionospheric radar: EISCAT-3D, located in northern Fennoscandia. This is part funded by NERC. It is capable of imaging a large volume of the local ionosphere and providing measurements on horizontal scales of 1-100 km. It will be unique with high vertical and temporal resolution and multipoint measurements of the ionospheric electric field vector. The field of view of the radar will cover a decent proportion of the auroral zone in latitude, such that results from the measurements made there can be applied to the wider region. We will use the unique capabilities of the radar to quantify the energy that is deposited into the MLTI from space weather events and also measure the impact of small-scale waves that propagate upwards from the lower atmosphere. We will use a range of support instrumentation, including newly deployed optics, and determine how the coupling between the neutral and ionized regimes affect the energy balance. Resolving these processes will let us establish their role in upper atmospheric heating. We will use the E3D observations together with comprehensive upper atmosphere models to determine and apply methods of correcting estimates of heating due to the small-scale changes. Using advanced models with inputs informed by the results of our observations we will determine how the small-scales affect the low altitude satellite debris field in the Earth's outer environment. This Project directly addresses two of the priority areas (and touches on others) that have been identified in the NERC Highlight Topic Announcement of Opportunity, and so answers the key question: How does the high latitude ionosphere vary on small scales in response to driving from above and below?

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ST/T003596/2
    Funder Contribution: 469,937 GBP
    Partners: University of Salford

    At the frontier of modern astronomy is the study of first galaxies, when the universe was less than 10% of its current age. It is within this era that the first atoms of 'heavy' elements (such as Carbon, Oxygen, Iron) were created by the first generations of stars, and when the seeds of supermassive black holes were being formed. Despite being extremely distant, it is vital to understand this primordial galaxies, as they are the building-blocks of all subsequent galaxy formation. Remarkably, using telescopes such as the Hubble Space Telescope, it has been possible to detect and study galaxies in this epoch. Despite these advances, one of the most fundamental measurements, the number of the brightest and most massive galaxies, is unknown in the early Universe. In the coming years, new data-sets from both established ground-based telescopes, and several new space-missions will revolutionise the field, with the capability of detecting many thousands of such galaxies. My previous experience and innovative approach to analysing these new data, by combining information at a range of wavelengths, will provide a full understanding of these galaxies and reveal the detailed astrophysics of galaxy formation at this early time. The result will be the first constraints on when supermassive black-holes became active and on when significant enrichment occurred (leading to obscuration by cosmic dust). I will also determine the role of these galaxies in a crucial phase change in the history of the universe, the 'Epoch of Reionization', where the predominantly neutral Universe became ionised by the first stars and/or active black holes.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/W018535/1
    Funder Contribution: 29,796 GBP
    Partners: University of Reading, Yeungnam University

    Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ST/W002914/1
    Funder Contribution: 2,068,030 GBP
    Partners: University of Salford

    During the last three decades, measurements of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) have been the driving force in establishing the standard cosmological model. UK scientists have played a pivotal role, particularly in recent times with major roles in ESA's Planck mission. These advances have been hugely important but the CMB's greatest contributions to fundamental physics could well be yet to come. The primary science goals of future CMB experiments include (i) the search for curl or ``B-mode" fluctuations on large angular scales in the CMB polarisation field, a tell-tale signature of primordial gravitational waves from inflation, (ii) to search for new light relic particles beyond the Standard Model through their imprint on the CMB fluctuations on small angular scales, (iii) to use measurements of the gravitational lensing and Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SZ) effects in the CMB to constrain the sum of the neutrino masses and (iv) to help understand the observed accelerated expansion of the Universe using the low-redshift probes of CMB lensing and SZ measurements. The high sensitivity and high angular resolution of future experiments will also facilitate a wide range of additional frontier science ranging from studies of the reionisation era to searching for additional solar system objects. Simons Observatory (SO) is a US-led international project to construct a group of CMB telescopes in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. It has been designed to address these new science challenges, and is due to begin operations in 2023. Here we propose a major UK contribution, composed of three main components. Firstly, we will establish a UK-based data centre, which will play a lead role in delivering the primary data products from all of the SO telescopes. Secondly, we will pursue a program of algorithm development work, forming a major contribution to the SO data pipeline software infrastructure. The third strand of our programme is the provision of a single ultra-high-frequency (UHF) optics tube for the SO Large Aperture Telescope. Delivering the data centre, and the algorithms and processing functions needed for the data pipeline, will address a critical need within the SO project and will position SO:UK scientists optimally for taking lead roles in the subsequent headline science exploitation of the SO data. The UK-based data centre will also help facilitate joint analyses (by the wider UK cosmology and astrophysics community) of the SO data in combination with data from other flagship UK astronomy projects, including the Euclid satellite, the Vera Rubin Observatory and the Square Kilometre Array. The SO:UK instrument includes the development and demonstration of key technologies including Kinetic Inductance Detectors (KIDs) and meta-material (MM) quasi-optical components. Demonstrating the compelling advantages of these UK-driven technologies as part of the leading CMB experiment of the 2020s will be a powerful argument for their adoption in future CMB projects (including the ground-based CMB-S4 experiment and a possible future ESA-led satellite mission) as well as in future projects in other high-profile areas of extra-Galactic astronomy and cosmology.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/V053728/1
    Funder Contribution: 278,228 GBP
    Partners: University of Glasgow

    Mathematical structures or physical laws are called scale invariant, if they do not depend on length scales, that is they are left invariant by rescaling parameters. This phenomenon is observed in various mathematical and physical settings. In mathematics, fractals form a prime example - regardless of the magnification of a section of a fractal curve, one always finds a self-similar structure. In physics, the phenomenon occurs in statistical mechanics at so-called phase critical points. An example is water at its critical point (at 374 C and 218 times standard atmospheric pressure). It is at this critical point where there ceases to be any distinction between the gaseous and liquid states of water. In quantum field theory, for example the Standard Model of Particle Physics, one also encounters scale invariance, when one restricts one's attention to massless particles, such as photons (the quanta of light). In most cases scale invariance is part of a larger symmetry known as conformal invariance - invariance of the mathematical equations describing a physical system with respect to transformations which preserve angles yet need not preserve lengths. The mathematical models used to describe such systems are called conformal field theories. They are of great interest to both mathematics and physics due to their remarkable amount of symmetry, which often elevates them to membership of the exceedingly small set of exactly solvable models, thereby enabling deeper insights into physical phenomena. One is also interested in understanding what happens when a length scale is suddenly introduced, for example, by a particle acquiring nonzero rest mass - an event which must have occurred at some point in our universe after the big bang. Some physical models retain large amounts of symmetry, despite conformal invariance itself being lost, and can thus still be solved exactly. Such models are called integrable. These integrable models and conformal field theories offer highly non-trivial idealisations of more complicated models of the world. Thus their study can teach us much about the fundamental properties of nature. Advancing the understanding of such theories is thus not just an interesting mathematical problem in its own right, it is also an opportunity to build further bridges between theoretical physics and cutting-edge mathematical research. In the long run, such advances will provide a key step towards a complete understanding of universality classes in condensed matter physics, and dualities in quantum field theory and superstring theory. This is an intradisciplinary project bridging mathematical physics and pure mathematics. The main objects of study will be the conformal field theories and integrable models constructable from a famous algebra called the Heisenberg algebra or free boson algebra. Though conformal field theories and integrable models can be very different, the presence of the Heisenberg algebra leads to them sharing a number of mathematical features. The main aims of this project are to bridge these two types of theories (so that insights from one side can be used to learn as much as possible from the other side), to give a uniform construction of all such theories, and to elucidate their deeper structures.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/X008983/1
    Funder Contribution: 473,159 GBP
    Partners: University of Strathclyde

    The UK government currently faces an acute risk to energy security from de-carbonisation associated with the global climate emergency, recent energy price rises and the threat of hydrocarbon supplies due to the conflict in eastern Europe. In the light of these events, targets for electricity generation from renewable sources have been increased. Offshore Wind (OW) will make a significant contribution to meeting these targets, but the timeline necessitates a 25% increase in the pace of OW deployment. The UK Government believes this acceleration can be achieved by making environmental assessments at a more strategic level, implementing nature-based design standards and reducing red tape. Seabird impacts are the top consenting issue inhibiting OW expansion in the UK sector of the North Sea (especially black-legged kittiwake, common guillemot, razorbill and Atlantic puffin). Policy proposals for overcoming these issues include making environmental assessments at a more strategic level, adopting strategic compensation measures, and delivering net gain to seabird populations and the wider marine ecosystem that is robust to climate change. Our project addresses three key Research Questions (RQs) designed to deliver urgently needed advice to ensure that these policies are implemented in ways which simultaneously deliver both OW expansion and net gain for seabirds and the ecosystem: RQ1. What are the cumulative impacts of OW on seabirds and on the wider ecosystem, and how do these scale with capacity? RQ2. What scale and extent of compensatory measures are required to provide strategic headroom of net gain to seabirds and the whole ecosystem while avoiding unforeseen consequences? RQ3. How can we incorporate sufficient headroom in strategic compensation to ensure it remains robust to future projections of climate change? Our project will focus on the key North Sea OW-seabird interaction area off southeast Scotland, but all the methods will be transferable to other UK regions. To answer the Research Questions we will use a range of inter-related models of ecosystem, seabird, forage fish and zooplankton dynamics together with new supporting data. The models will be deployed in innovative new ways to address the policy-driven challenges and make the results accessible to stakeholders through online tools. The new data collection will involve novel use of autonomous underwater and remote controlled uncrewed surface vehicles (AUV and USV) working in concert and integrated with the digital aerial seabird surveys commissioned in support of existing environmental programmes by the OW industry and as part of the Crown Estate OWEC programme. The combined AUV and USV surveys will gather multi-frequency hydroacoustic data on forage fish (sandeel and sprat/herring) patchiness in control areas not yet developed for OW, and existing OW farms. The coincident aerial surveys will gather high resolution data on seabirds. These matched predator-prey data will provide crucial process-based understanding on predator-prey interactions needed to estimate cumulative impacts on seabirds (RQ1) and develop effective strategic compensation (RQ2). Data to support RQ3 on modelling of climate-proofing for strategic compensation measures will be assembled from UK AMM7 biogeochemical model projections of ocean physics and chemistry under the IPCC RCP8.5 emissions scenario. Developers and stakeholders will be engaged early in the project to design a suite of potential strategic compensation scenarios which will be incrementally tested as the project progresses. Policy briefs setting out the findings and advice-to-date will be produced at annual intervals to ensure that the new evidence and tools developed in the project are fed rapidly into the decision-making process.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: 2546689
    Partners: University of London


  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: 2656746
    Partners: NTU

    This project aims to explored different methodologies to overcome the following research objectives Developing novel sensing technologies to enable embedded sensors within the manual tool that allows the operator to conduct his/her job as normal. Correlation of the sensor(s) data to the process parameters and the operator performance (i.e., developing a model of the manual operations). Developing strategies to use the sensing data for the downstream process (i.e., convert the manual process parameters as a digital signature that travels with the product during the manufacturing journey). Big-data analysis for process optimization and training for new operators.

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