Material Science & Engineering

Understanding the properties and functionality of materials; Utilising knowledge to solve real-world problems
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Materials science and engineering (MSE) research is essential for the development of new technologies and the improvement of existing technologies. Materials scientists and engineers are working to create materials that are stronger, lighter, more durable, more efficient, and more sustainable

MSE is a broad and interdisciplinary field, drawing on knowledge from chemistry, physics, engineering, and other disciplines to study the relationship between the structure, properties, and processing of materials. Researchers use this knowledge to develop new materials and improve the properties of existing materials for a wide range of applications in energy, electronics, healthcare, transportation, and other industries which, in-turn, is helping to solve some of the world's most pressing challenges, such as climate change and energy security.

MSE research is driven by multiple factors, including:

  • The need for new materials to meet the challenges of the 21st century, such as climate change, energy security, and sustainable development
  • The desire to develop materials with improved performance and functionality, such as stronger, lighter, and more durable materials for aerospace applications, or more efficient and sustainable materials for energy production and storage
  • The need to develop new materials for emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and biomaterials

Current active areas of research in materials science and engineering include:

  • Energy storage and production: This includes materials for batteries, fuel cells, solar cells, and other energy technologies. Improving storage capacity and affordability
  • Electronics and photonics: This includes materials for semiconductors, superconductors, dielectrics, transistors, lasers, and other electronic and photonic devices
  • Creating bioinspired materials and systems: This involves developing materials that mimic the structure and function of biological materials, such as bones, muscles, and proteins. Biomaterials are used in a variety of medical applications, such as implants, prosthetics, and drug delivery systems
  • Green and sustainable materials: This includes materials that are made from renewable resources and that can be recycled or reused
  • Nanomaterials: The unique properties of nanomaterials make them attractive for a wide range of applications, such as catalysis, electronics, and medicine
  • Composite materials: Made by layering two or more different materials that are combined to create a new material with desired properties. Composite materials are often stronger and lighter than traditional materials, and they are used in a wide range of applications, such as aerospace, automotive, and construction
  • Anti-corrosion: Developing new materials to resist corrosion and other forms of degradation

MSE research is a dynamic and rapidly growing field and there are exciting opportunities for researchers to make significant contributions to science and technology. MSE researchers are actively involved with industry, working to develop new materials and technologies that can be used in industrial applications. PI-KEM's involvement in MSE research is helping to drive innovation that has the potential to make a real difference to the world. PI-KEM supplies a wide range of materials, including advanced ceramics, silicon, single crystals, and metals, all in multiple forms, alongside a wide range of material characterisation, processing, and testing equipment. Our multi-disciplinary Business Development Team work collaboratively with their customers to provide advice and guidance to enable the development of unique materials and processes.

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  • Research Focus

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    The UK and Europe are home to leading universities and research institutes in materials science and engineering. These institutions are at the forefront of research into new materials and advanced manufacturing technologies. The UK and European materials science and engineering sector is highly innovative and experienced in commercialising these novel technologies.

    • The Graphene Flagship: A €1 billion research initiative funded by the European Commission to develop graphene-based technologies for a wide range of applications.

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    • The Centre for Process Innovation: A UK-based research and technology organization that develops new manufacturing processes for advanced materials.

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    • The Materials Chemistry Centre: A UK-based research centre that develops new materials for energy, healthcare, and sustainability.

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    • The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research: A German research institute that develops new materials for construction, electronics, and medicine.

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    • The MaP Centre at ETH Zurich: Based in Switzerland the Additive Manufacturing Research Community is made up of over 40 research groups devising improved materials for 3D printing for a range of applications from functional materials, sensors through to customised metal components and drug delivery implants.

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    • Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research: Based in Stuttgart, Germany researchers are focusing on nanoscale materials that behave differently at large scale for use in photovoltaics, semiconductors, and EV cars.

    Click here to read more

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