A £1m engineering materials integration research centre was opened today at the University of Leicester.
Based in the university engineering department's Grade II* listed building, MaTIC - the Materials Technology Integration Centre - aims to work with industry to drive innovation in materials technology, providing expertise and advanced technology know-how, said MaTIC's boss Professor Sarah Hainsworth.
"The purpose for the centre is underpinned by industry's critical need to develop new materials and processes," she explained. "The materials that are being developed are the next generation of materials that will help to make more efficient aero and automotive engines. The new materials contribute to decreasing CO2 emissions and improving the environmental impact of transport - this will help society to meet targets for minimising impact on climate change.
"The new centre will also engage in forensic work which has an impact on the way in which violent crime is understood and interpreted."
She added: "In order to better understand new materials, new analytical and experimental techniques are required to drive new knowledge. However, it is the integration of our analytical and experimental techniques that is key and that allows us to have better insight into materials processing or materials implementation - be that by casting or chemical reactions.
"The integration is important not only for new materials but also in areas such as geology where the new techniques allow microfossils to be examined in new ways that give exciting information about their 3D structure. We are delighted to have created this new materials technology integration centre and particularly look forward to working with industry in solving materials challenges for the future."
MaTIC's resources include a range of equipment for understanding materials behaviour, for example a Raman Spectroscope for understanding the chemical bonding in materials, a micro-computed X-ray tomograph for tracking solidification reactions in alloys and for studying micro-fossils, and equipment to quantify the sharpness of knives and other weapons used for inflicting injury.
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