The Materials Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) was showcased at a House of Lords reception on the evening of Wednesday, 28th November, bringing together 150 representatives of industry, Universities and government.
Several case studies involving polymers were presented illustrating how involvement with the Materials KTN can make a crucial difference to the success of a project (or indeed a company) through access to finance, provision of ideas, and networking with academic contacts.
Jamie Shaw of Jaguar Land Rover described the 'Autopsy Project', bringing his company together with the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, the Universities of Oxford Brookes, Loughborough and Cranfield and also with the Royal College of Art. He showed how the dismantling of eight historic vehicle assemblies has helped inform materials selection and design in the next generation of vehicle systems.
Roger Davidson related how Ketonix, which focusses on the synthesis of super engineering polymers for extremely demanding applications, was originally put in touch with investors through the Materials KTN which then facilitated its access to R&D facilities at Oxford University's Begbroke Science Park and to an industrial scale-up site at Leafield.
John Jostins of Microcab Industries told how the Materials KTN established a consortium to bid for EU funding to help in the cost effective and rapid production of Hydrogen-powered Electric Vehicles. A project , MU-TOOL, is now developing an alternative method of microwave processing of composites to enable the rapid and low-cost production of composite parts. Materials KTN support was also critical to EPM Technology in securing EU funding for the development, through the CompoSol project, of Parabolic Trough Collectors for solar power, made from lightweight and corrosion-resistant carbon epoxy sandwich structures.
The event also provided an opportunity to launch a new report from the Materials KTN Technical Textiles Group: 'Developments in Olympic Clothing and Textiles'. It explores the underlying technologies that made improvements possible in the design and manufacture of sports kit for this year's Games in London. Many of them involved the use of polymeric materials.
Materials KTN Director, Robert Quarshie, said: “Our members are the greatest asset in our drive to accelerate the process of industrial innovation in the UK.”