University’s MACH1 team celebrates first anniversary

Swansea University’s Materials Advanced Characterisation Centre (MACH1) celebrated its first anniversary in September 2014, a year before the team will move to the Engineering Manufacturing Centre (EMC) in the new Science and Innovation Bay Campus.

The MACH1 centre, part of Swansea University’s College of Engineering, is fully funded by the Welsh Government’s Academic Expertise for Business (A4B) programme. It aims to support the Welsh advanced manufacturing industry with the provision of high throughput materials characterisation, materials selection and analysis.

ERDF logo NEWThe Bay Campus will be home to the College of Engineering which includes Engineering East and Central home to the Engineering Manufacturing Centre and the Innovation Hub – which have been part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through Welsh Government – as well as the Institute of Structural Materials and the Energy Safety Research Institute.

High-throughput techniques are being increasingly used to accelerate the analysis and characterisation of specimens, most notably in the pharmaceutical industry. The MACH1 centre provides the capabilities to apply such techniques to metallurgical samples, including novel alloys, providing a complete set of properties for a given material.

As materials are ubiquitous and intimately related to manufacturing processes, the development and selection of advanced materials for engineered applications will increase the competiveness of suppliers in the automotive, aerospace and opto-electronics sectors.

MACH1 offers a wide range of material and measurement capabilities to deliver multi-sample, high-throughput testing of advanced materials to industry. The centre offers a multi-sample laser flash system for measurement of Thermal Diffusivity, multi-sample Thermogravimetry (TGA) and Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), a multi-material pushrod dilatometer, and a small – disk punch tester for high speed small sample tensile testing.  

Other facilities include an automated benchtop cutter and moulder, multi-sample polishers, multi-throughput benchtop Scanning Electron Microscopes with Energy-dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy capabilities, and a multi-sample automated hardness indenter.

MACH1 teamThe team’s recent research has involved materials characterisation of steels, metal powders, high temperature ceramics and working with industrial partners including TATA Steel, Weartech International, Sandvik Osprey and LASE Ltd.

Brian Edy, Technical Development Manager of Tata Strip Products said: “The MACH1 project is great news for companies like ours as it has the potential to significantly speed up the development of new alloys. The facilities available will provide invaluable data that can help direct our strategies for future products.”

Dr Nick Lavery, MACH1’s Centre Director said: “We are thrilled to be celebrating MACH1’s first anniversary. The last year has allowed us to develop closer links with our industry partners, and to undertake brand new research in the field of metallurgy. We are looking forward to the next stage of our work, and moving into our new facilities in the Engineering Manufacturing Centre at the new Bay Campus next year.”

MACH1 will be hosting a showcase event in Swansea on Wednesday 26th November, which will include presentations by Dr Nick Lavery, and Professor Steve Brown, Deputy Director of MACH1, as well as various industry speakers.

For more information about MACH1, please visit: www.swansea.ac.uk/engineering/mach1.

For more information about the new Science and Innovation Bay Campus, please visit: http://www.swansea.ac.uk/campus-development/.