The Institute for Materials and Processes brings together world-class researchers to advance engineering applications of materials, fluids and processes, and to provide high quality and creative research environment which can be harnessed by our industrial partners. Experimental, computational and theoretical methods are used to shed light on the underlying engineering science.
The Institute for Infrastructure and Environment has expertise in applying engineering materials in a wide range of structural applications, and the two Research Institutes are co-located at the University’s King’s Buildings site, and work closely together.
Key areas of expertise
- Dynamic effects in structures and materials
- Structural health monitoring non-destructive testing
- Sensing of damage in composites
- Pipeline design for oil & gas and offshore
- Processing of thermoset and thermoplastic composites
- Biomechanical applications of structural engineering.
- Innovative composites for marine renewable energy applications (tidal and wind energy blades)
- Advanced composites and emerging structural engineering materials
- Structures in fire and at elevated temperatures
- Strengthening and repair of infrastructure
- Silos and thin-walled structures
Materials research areas include:
- Materials design and characterisation
- Multi-scale modelling from atoms to processes
- Composite materials manufacture and processing
- Fire testing of materials and structures
- Dynamic, impact and ballistic performance of advanced materials
- Mechanical testing from fibres to large structures
The Composites and Structural Engineering Groups’ research is focused on polymer composites used in aerospace, off-shore and on-shore wind, marine tidal energy systems, automotive and oil and gas applications. Advanced research, consultancy and design code development is undertaken for all types of structures and materials, including:
Structural stability and buckling, inelastic analysis, fatigue, plates and shells, numerical simulation, finite element modelling and analysis. Advanced mechanical testing and design of fibre reinforced composites.
Fire Effects on Structures and Materials
Structural analysis and design accounting for thermal/mechanical fire effects on materials and structures; experimental and computational work; multi-scale approach: from micro scale to full structural frames.
Structural Applications of Composite Materials
Advanced composite materials (e.g. carbon and glass fibre, FRP, textile reinforced mortars) for aerospace, renewable energy (e.g. tidal and wind turbines) and automotive, for strengthening/rehabilitation of damaged or deficient structural elements, and for new construction applications: FRP reinforcement of concrete, all-FRP structures, and polymer composite structures for renewable energy; polymer adhesive joints; structures made of hybrid and innovative materials.
Dynamic Loading on Structures
Impact dynamics, blast loading, armour and protection systems (metals, concrete, composites, cellular materials), earthquake analysis and design, structural robustness against extreme conditions.
Analysis and integrity of critical components (tanks, vessels, piping, pipelines), offshore structures and pipelines, offshore platforms for renewable energy, condition assessment of “aging infrastructure”.
Cold-formed thin-walled members (tubular, open-section, perforated), advanced steel materials (stainless steel, high-strength steel), steel materials at elevated temperatures and post-fire condition, tubular structures and welded connections.
Facilities available at the University of Edinburgh for Advanced manufacturing
Materials Testing Laboratory
The new (2017) material testing laboratory houses static and dynamic test machines (50KN-300KN) aimed at specialised mechanical testing of advanced composite materials, complete with environmental chamber (-70°C to 300°C), non-contact video extensometry and Digital Image Correlation. Mechanical testing is supported by materials characterisation equipment (DSC, DMTA), optical and scanning electron microscopy.
Composite Materials Lab
- 300 kN MTS screw-driven test machine with hydraulic grips
- Environmental chamber
- 100Kn & 250kN Instron servo-hydraulic test machine
- 50kN Zwick screw-driven test machine
- Imetrium non-contact extensometry and DIC
- Triton DMTA
- Perkin-Elmer DSC
- Optical Microscopy
The Structures Laboratory
This facility enables structures testing equipment from small coupons to full-scale structures, and allows structural testing on material samples. It is a high headroom lab for testing large and unusual structural assemblies. The strong floor and reaction frame systems give great versatility in the types of test that are carried out here, there is a state of the art Instron actuator system for applying two independent loads under precise computer control. The lab is equipped with furnaces and ovens for structural testing under heat and fire. An instrumented drop-weight impact osites and other materials.
- Structures test hall with strong floor (D*B*H = 9m*6m*6.2m) and “meccano” test frame system.
- Structural testing with up to 2,000 kN capacity for static (load controlled) and 1,000 kN cyclic (fatigue) tests.
- Dropping tower of 3m height
- Associated material laboratories, contain static-rated universal test machines (from 50 kN to 3,000 kN)
Materials Processing Laboratory
This laboratory is dedicated to 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 prepregging facilities.
Advanced Adsorption Lab
- Dual Piston Pressure Swing Adsorption System
- Quantachrome AutoTap and Ultrapycometer
- Quantachrome Porometer 3Gzh for membranes and membrane modules
- Membrane Permeation Cells
- High Pressure Static Volumetric Adsorption Rig
Read about our current projects and success stories
Improved Heat Storage Technology
Prof Colin Pulham is working with a local start-up company, Sunamp, to develop technology for efficient, low-cost heat storage. This approach reduces CO2 emissions and fuel bills. The team has developed phase-change materials based on salt hydrates, and the research has had a major impact on the design of Sunamp’s prototype heat-storage batteries.
Testing Offshore Wind Infrastructure
Concrete Marine Solutions, a Scottish SME, used the smaller of the University’s wave tanks to test a prototype of its novel installation platform for offshore wind turbines.
Collaborative Working in Marine Energy
The University’s Institute for Energy Systems is leading the FP7-funded project Optimal Design Tools for Ocean Arrays, which consists of 18 international partners including Vattenfall, Iberdrola and DEME. The project will provide design tools for the development of ocean energy arrays, enabling open sea demonstration of tidal stream and wave energy technologies.