Our home planet is unique and full of precious but finite natural resources. We have succeeded to design and create materials of all types in response to our everyday-life needs. However, materials used are often disposed without fully maximizing its value through its useful life. For example, in the UK; 540m tonnes of products and materials enter the economy each year but only 117m tonnes of this get recycled (WRAP, 2013). In addition to this, materials and materials flows are often key players on the overall performance of a particular system, product or service.
In this context, The Materials Innovation Lab is a new Community of Practice within the rapidly expanding Centre for Competitive Creative Design (C4D) that aims the design and materials life cycle sustainability. Work at the lab, aims to generate quantitative and qualitative data to evaluate and understand raw, manufactured and components materials key properties i.e. chemical and physical. Data is produced by standard materials testing methods and thorough characterization using state-of-the-art characterization techniques such as Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM / ESEM), Focus Ion Beam Analysis (FIB), Thermal Gravimetrical Analysis (TGA), standard optical microscopy techniques, etc. The analysis and comparison of these data sets, allows researchers to understand materials failure to propose innovative solutions to a particular material related scenario. The Materials Innovation CoP works closely and in constant collaboration with other schools across campus.
We seek for a broad range of graduate, engineers, designers and scientists seeking to develop their knowledge and skills in the research of current and new materials in different systems to extend materials components and products life’s to ensure a more sustainable future.
Dr Adriana Encinas-Oropesa leads the Materials Innovation CoP. Working closely with Industry; Adriana has gain more than 15 years of experience evaluating performance and degradation of materials at Cranfield. Adriana is passionate for the strategic development and evaluation of materials and methodologies as innovative solutions through a sustainable vision.
The Materials Innovation community of practice is strongly linked to other CoPs at C4D i.e. Circular, Breakthrough and data-driven Innovation. Active industrial partners and funding bodies include Rolls Royce plc, MTU Aero Engines (Germany), National Council of Science and Technology CONACyT (Mexico), Autonomous University of State of Mexico (UAEM), Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), Innovate UK among others.