12 May 2008

Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust to fund Chair in Materials Fabrication and Engineering at The Open University

The Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust has announced that it is to fund a new Chair in Materials Engineering and Fabrication at The Open University.

The award is for £600,000 spread over five years, and will support a programme of research investigating the structural integrity of welded joints, as well as developing improved methods for residual stress analysis.

Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, who leads the Structural Integrity research activity at The Open University, said: "We are delighted that Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust has selected us for this major award. It will allow us to boost our work in structural integrity assessment of welded joints, which is already recognized as world-leading".

Michael Franklin, Director of the Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust, said "A large part of the Educational Trust’s work is to support fundamental engineering research to address problems and challenges and to find solutions that will be for the public benefit.

"In the last few years, we have committed around £10m to support research programmes at a number of universities around the world. The award to The Open University brings them into this unique and important group".

The award will complement a broader collaboration on engineering teaching and research between The Open University and TWI, the Centre for Materials Joining Technologies, aimed at addressing skills shortages in the engineering workforce.

Editor’s Notes

The Open University Materials Engineering group has an internationally-recognized Structural Integrity research effort.

Researchers in the group work intensively on the fundamentals of residual stress measurement techniques, particularly the newer neutron and synchrotron X-ray methods, and their application to structural materials. Our expertise in developing the basic materials science of the diffraction of neutron and synchrotron X-rays and in the application of these techniques to a material's behaviour for residual stress analysis and fatigue modelling informs a wide range of industrial problems, especially in the aerospace and nuclear industries.

We also have a related activity in materials characterisation, particularly the high-temperature behaviour of materials such as creep, microstructural evolution and the effects of welding and weld residual stresses at elevated temperatures.

The group is world-leading in the application of neutron and synchrotron X-ray diffraction for the determination of internal residual stresses. The group has state-of-the-art laboratory X-ray diffraction, incremental hole drilling, nano-indentation, servo-hydraulic and high temperature mechanical testing and optical and electron microscopy facilities. It maintains strong collaborations with a range of industrial sectors, University partners, and national research laboratories worldwide.

The Lloyd’s Register Education Trust, an independent charity wholly funded by the Lloyd’s Register Group, was established in 2004. Its principal purpose is to support advances in transportation, science, engineering and technology education, training and research worldwide for the benefit of all. It also funds work that enhances the safety of life and property at sea, on land and in the air.

The Trust focuses on four categories:-
• pre-university education: through appropriate organisations, promotes careers in science, engineering and technology to young people, their parents and teachers
• university education: through universities and colleges, provides undergraduate and post-graduate scholarships and awards at first degree/masters levels to students of proven ability
• vocational training and professional development: supports professional institutions, educational and training establishments working with people of all ages
• research: funds existing or new centres of excellence at institutes and universities

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