Next generation materials to be produced by new research centre

The next generation of materials to meet the needs of UK manufacturing are to be developed by a state-of-the-art research centre, which officially opened today – 20 April.

The Royce Discovery Centre, part of the Henry Royce Institute at the University of Sheffield, will give UK manufacturers across all sectors access to the expertise and facilities needed to discover new materials and develop more resource-efficient processes to meet their business needs.

Based in a new building in the university’s Faculty of Engineering, the centre will enable manufacturers to harness Sheffield’s R&D capabilities to develop materials for new technologies and test them before investing further capital and implementing them into their operations.

The facility aims to address a gap in UK innovation by reducing both the cost and timescale of translating discoveries of advanced materials to new products and technologies.

Research at the Royce Discovery Centre is already using new materials to develop the next generation of medical implants, improve the lightweight structures needed for electric vehicle parts, develop components needed to store green hydrogen energy and evolve nuclear fusion reactors.

The facility will become a leading national centre for advanced metals processing in the UK.

Professor Martin Jackson, Professor of advanced metals processing at the University of Sheffield and research lead at the Royce Discovery Centre, said: “Our facility will help accelerate university and industry ideas through to an industry production scale, in order to meet global challenges.

“We’re already assisting in the development of new UK supply chains in sectors ranging from space components to electric car parts from recycled aerospace waste.

“The unique facilities will also accelerate the development of multi-material and functionality-graded components in emerging sectors, enabling the UK to pioneer next generation advanced metals processing technologies.”

Professor David Knowles, chief executive officer of the Henry Royce Institute, said: “The University of Sheffield is a Royce founding Partner, with world leading prowess in materials science and metallurgy.

“The exciting research being undertaken at its new Royce Discovery Centre further supports Royce’s vision to develop advanced materials for a sustainable society.

“The Discovery Centre will transform aspects of Royce’s research capabilities in the Advanced Metals Processing research area.

“It will build on the UK’s strength in metals processing and provide academia and industry with the advanced facilities and technical support they need to deliver both innovative processing technologies and novel alloy development.”

Professor Serena Cussen, head of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, added: “The city of Sheffield was the birthplace of stainless steel, so it’s fitting that with the new Royce Discovery Centre the city will play a huge role in the future of metals and next generation of sustainable materials.

“Discovering new materials is vital to so many industries throughout the UK as we look to become more sustainable and reduce our carbon footprint.”