Performance Materials

Engineered to excel; The next generation of materials, built for the demands of the future

The performance materials industry is a broad and diverse sector that develops and manufactures advanced materials with unique properties, such as high strength, lightweight, durability, and resistance to extreme temperatures and chemicals. These materials are used in a wide range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, construction, electronics, and medical devices.  

Materials engineers use their knowledge of the properties and structures of materials to design new materials and products, and to improve the performance of existing materials, as well as developing new ways to process materials to make them more efficient and cost-effective.

The performance materials industry is a highly innovative, broad sector encompassing a vast range of materials with unique properties and is critical enabler to many advanced technologies. 

PI-KEM and PI-KEM Hart are well positioned to support the research and development that is ongoing in this field by providing high-quality products and equipment to the companies and organisations that are developing and manufacturing the next generation of advanced materials. With a global reach, our multi-disciplinary Business Development Team works with customers from across the world providing a full range of standard and custom specification materials and customisable equipment suited to their project goals, timescales, and budgetary needs.

  • Industry Insights

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    Key performance materials currently being developed:

    • Advanced ceramics: Known for their high strength, hardness, and resistance to heat and corrosion. They are used in a variety of applications, including aircraft engines, medical implants, and industrial tooling
    • Composite materials: Made by combining two or more different materials to create a new material with superior properties. Composite materials are used in a wide range of applications, including aircraft fuselages, wind turbine blades, and sports equipment
    • Engineering plastics: Designed to meet the specific needs of applications, such as those in the automotive and electronics industries. Engineering plastics offer a variety of desirable properties, including high strength, stiffness, and temperature resistance
    • High-performance metals: Known for their high strength, ductility, and resistance to heat and corrosion. They are used in a variety of applications, including aircraft engines, gas turbines, and medical implants
    • Specialty chemicals: Used in a variety of industries to improve the performance of other materials. For example, specialty chemicals can be used to make plastics stronger, metals more resistant to corrosion, decorative finishes, and fabrics more stain resistant
  • Innovation Trends

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    • Use of composites: Increasingly popular in a wide range of applications due to their unique combination of properties, such as high strength and stiffness, lightweight, and corrosion resistance. These materials are being used in industries, including healthcare, energy, and electronics
    • Development of new and improved performance polymers: Polymer scientists are constantly creating new and improved performance polymers with enhanced properties, such as high temperature resistance, chemical resistance, and biocompatibility
    • Lightweight materials: Developing new materials that are lightweight, but strong and durable.  Lightweight materials are increasingly being used in a wide range of applications, from automotive to aerospace to construction due to their ability to improve fuel efficiency, reduce emissions, and increase performance
    • Increasing use of nanomaterials: To develop new and improved performance materials with enhanced properties, such as strength, stiffness, and conductivity, for example for electronics, sensors, and semi-conductors
    • Focus on sustainability: Developing materials that can have a lower environmental impact for use in industries including construction. This includes materials that are made from recycled or renewable resources, materials that are biodegradable, and materials that can be used to reduce energy consumption and emissions. They are equally concentrating on re-designing manufacturing and application processes that are more sustainable and energy efficient
    • Energy generation and storage: Developing new materials for batteries and solar cells to improve energy efficiency and storage. These materials are helping to make electric vehicles and other battery-powered devices more practical and affordable
    • Additive manufacturing/ 3D Printing: Used to create complex and customized parts that cannot be made using traditional manufacturing methods
  • Academic/ Industrial Partnerships

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    • University of Bristol, University of Bath, The National Composites Centre, and the Advanced Propulsion R &I Centre are collaborating to work towards net-zero aviation.  Their research will cover cryogenic suitable materials, composites, and components for hydrogen fuel technology. Click here to read article
    • University of Cambridge Nanoengineering Group alongside University of Birmingham have developed a smart elastomer that can alter its stiffness and conductivity in response to external stimuli. Click here to read article
    • Investigators in the Concrete and Bridge Design Group ETH Zurich, Switzerland, with industry partners Siemens, Geberut, and NCCR Fabrication, are running the RIBB3D project which is using robotic 3D printing of a customised polymer to produce a 2-ribbed form rather than a flat form for concrete slabs This reduces the concrete use by 40% but increases the load capacity of the bridge by 80%. Click here to read article
    • National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) are working alongside five other industrial partners on the European Space Carbon Project which aims to develop carbon fibres and impregnated materials for applications in the European Space Sector, allowing it to improve its competitiveness with the global supply chain. Click here to read article
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