The University of Edinburgh has a rich variety of research expertise, from materials development and testing, and identifying green alternatives to existing materials, through to the use of functional materials, and modelling and simulation to support the development of high-value materials.
Key areas of expertise
- Understanding materials design and characterisation
- Manufacture and processing of composite materials
- Fire testing of materials and structures
- Understanding dynamic, impact and ballistic performance of advanced materials
- A range of mechanical testing from fibres to large scale structures
- Novel composites for renewable energy applications (tidal and wind energy blades)
- Advanced composites and new materials for use in structural engineering
- Structural performance in fire and at elevated temperature environments
- Strengthening and repair of infrastructure
- Silos and thin-walled structures
- Dynamic effects in structures and materials
- Structural health monitoring, non-destructive testing
- Sensing of damage in composites
- Pipeline design for oil and gas and offshore
- Processing of thermoset and thermoplastic composites
- Biomechanical applications of structural engineering
Formulation and complex fluid expertise for product development
- Understanding the flow of concentrated dispersions
Ability to determine the physical stability of dispersions
- Understanding and controlling interface stabilisation
- Controlling the behaviour of colloidal protein aggregates
- Mechanically robust, high-surface-area materials for energy applications
- Understanding composite structure and processing performance
- Properties of liquid crystals under confinement and flows
- Crystalline molecular and network solids
- Electronic and magnetic materials
- Polymers and amorphous materials
- New polymers from sustainable feedstock
- Bio-sensing polymers
- Catalysis/surface chemistry
- Biocompatible polymers
- Water purifying polymers
- Earth abundant initiators
- New materials for emerging solar photovoltaic technologies
- Phase-change materials for heat storage
- Separation of gases and utilisation of waste CO2
- New materials for efficient hydrogen production
- Negative or zero thermal expansion materials
Biomedical implants can improve quality of life by enhancing the functionality of essential body systems, supporting damaged biological structures, or even replacing human organs. Research into the application of polymers and nanotechnology to modify the surface of implants for enhanced mechanical properties and biocompatibility is an area of research at the University available to be harnessed by companies in the healthcare sector.
Edinburgh’s world-leading computational facilities for product design and performance improvement
Gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms dominating multi-scale behaviour and performance and the ability to accelerate and improve the design of a wide range of formulations, composites, materials and their applications.
Facilities available at the University of Edinburgh for smart materials
- New structural composites research facility – Fastblade
This upcoming innovative £1.8m research facility, the first of its kind in the world, is dedicated to the test and assessment of the mechanical performance of large structures under simulated fatigue loading. The facility will enable faster fatigue or cyclic load testing of large structures and accelerated research into fundamental engineering options for new materials technology and quicker evaluation leading to more rapid certification and deployment to market.
- The structures laboratory Composite Materials Lab
This facility provides a range of structures testing equipment from small coupons to
full-scale structures, and allows structural testing on material samples.
- Materials testing laboratory
The new (2017) material testing laboratory houses static and dynamic test machines (50kN-300kN) for specialised mechanical testing of advanced composite materials. It comes complete with environmental chamber (-70°C to 300°C), non-contact video extensometry and Digital Image Correlation. Our mechanical testing is supported by a range of materials characterisation equipment such as DSC and DMTA and both optical and scanning electron microscopy.
- Materials processing laboratory
The laboratory offers the novel processing
of fibre reinforced polymer composites, including thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers, using powder processing, liquid moulding, press moulding, in-situ polymerisation of thermoplastics and
novel pre-pregging facilities.
Read about our current projects and success stories
Bioremediation in drinks production
Understanding the mechanism for physical stability in dispersions
Researchers in the Edinburgh Complex Fluids Partnership worked with Fujifilm to improve their understanding of the interactions between a new polymer and a pigment particle. They had noticed that a sediment formed unexpectedly at high concentrations and wanted to understand why. As a result of the collaborative project, the company can now produce stable dispersions with confidence.
Researchers at Edinburgh collaborated with Cytec Industries to develop a new technology
to recover base metals from more prolific laterite ores. The research group, led by Professor Jason Love, has extensive expertise in the design of strong and selective metal-complexing agents. The work is underpinned by the computational chemistry of Professor Carole Morrison which enables structures and properties of the metal complexes to be probed in detail.