Published on 08-Feb-2024

TWI Joins Partners for a New Materials Centre of Excellence

TWI Joins Partners for a New Materials Centre of Excellence

Sources - @twi-global

TWI has announced its participation as a partner for the Defence Materials Centre of Excellence (DMEx), aimed at advancing materials technology for the UK armed forces in challenging environments. The creation of DMEx represents a sizable investment of £42.5 million in research partnerships, under the direction of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL). This collaboration brings together 23 partners, including TWI, under the auspices of the Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials. 

The objective is to accelerate the development of defence material technology tailored for extreme physical conditions.

The scope of research within DMEx encompasses the exploration, development, and prototyping of materials capable of withstanding diverse challenges, including:

  • Operating temperatures of up to 1,000°C
  • Environments ranging from polar to tropical
  • High-impact vibrations
  • Shock
  • Blasts
  • Extreme water depths

These advanced materials hold vast potential, from enhancing body armour for military personnel to safeguarding sensitive electronics against radiation and corrosion-resistant materials for submarine components. Commenting on the significance of this initiative, UK Defence Minister James Cartlidge remarked, "These innovative materials not only bolster the safety of our personnel and assets but also underscore our nation's ingenuity and innovation in addressing defence challenges. The research and development of these materials will foster highly skilled jobs and expertise nationwide, reaffirming the UK's position as a global leader in advanced materials."

Dr Paul Hollinshead, OBE, MBA, Chief Executive of Dstl, emphasised the strategic importance of advanced materials, stating, "Advanced materials represent the cornerstone of future technologies and are subject to intense international competition. Today, we are positioning the UK to maintain its strategic edge by leveraging the collective expertise of the nation. This collaborative partnership between Dstl, academia, and industry will deliver operational advantages for our armed forces while supporting UK economic growth and prosperity."

Laura Jones, Associate Director of the Centre, described the establishment of DMEx as a significant milestone for defence research, highlighting its role in accelerating innovation to address future threats and challenges. Defence research has historically yielded innovations with applications in the civilian sector, and investment in the new centre is expected to foster skill development within the UK workforce. According to a study that the UK government commissioned, advanced materials-related activities add an estimated £14.4 billion in gross value to the economy, or about £72,000 per employee.

Matthew Lunt, Principal Scientist at Dstl and the Centre of Excellence expressed enthusiasm for the collaborative effort, noting the critical role of advanced materials across various domains and the importance of nurturing highly specialised jobs within the sector. Regius Professor Phil Withers FREng FRS, Chief Scientist at the Henry Royce Institute, expressed optimism about the collaboration, stating, "I am excited about the opportunity for the Royce to collaborate with Catapults, industry, universities, and Dstl to pool expertise and capabilities for materials research and development in support of the UK." With decades of experience in materials development across industries and its involvement in numerous defence projects, TWI eagerly anticipates collaborating with global leaders to advance the objectives of the Defence Materials Centre of Excellence.
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