16 Jul 2015

MCT to launch a National Centre of Excellence with the Science and Technology Facilities Council

The OU and STFC ISIS Facility MOU

The OU and STFC ISIS Facility MOU

The Faculty of Maths, Computing and Technology (MCT) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to explore the establishment of a National Stress Engineering Centre capable of studying larger scale engineering components than anywhere else in the world.

The Centre would be based on the STFC Harwell Campus near Oxford and would bring together expertise of MCT materials research staff in StressMap, with scientists from the STFC ISIS Facility. It would offer a unique facility that combines destructive and non-destructive analysis of industrial structures to reveal ‘hidden’ stresses within materials that can reduce or improve their lifetime and performance.

Developed by academics in MCT, StressMap is the largest centre of excellence for residual stress measurement using the ‘Contour Method’ outside the USA serving clients such as Rolls-Royce and EDF Energy. The STFC ISIS Facility operates ‘super-microscopes’ using beams of muons and neutrons that enable scientists to study materials at the atomic level.

Director of StressMap and Professor in Materials for Energy at The Open University, John Bouchard, said: “The OU has a 25-year history of collaborating with the ISIS Facility. The launch of a formal partnership between the two organisations paves the way for a unique Centre of Excellence that offers huge potential, both in terms of enriching academic research and contributing to advances in commercial engineering.”

Director of the STFC ISIS Facility, Professor Robert McGreevy, said: “The new Centre offers the team at ISIS the perfect opportunity to build on the outstanding work we have done with our colleagues at the OU over the past decade using the neutron scattering instrument ENGIN-X. The new facilities would enable the analysis of complex industrial components using multiple techniques. This is becoming more and more important as high performance structural materials are developed further.”

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