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MatIC: Materials Innovation Through Industry Focused R&D

Mon, 09 August, 2021

The Materials Innovation Centre (MatIC) is a long-term strategic collaboration between partners the University of Leicester and TWI Ltd. Led by Centre Director Shiladitya Paul, MatIC brings together expertise from different organisations to focus on the fundamental understanding of metallic materials, and how their properties and performance are related to processing-dependent microstructures.

Research and development (R&D) lies at the heart of the Centre’s activities, and the MatIC team is currently working with RTOs industry and SME partners to develop and deliver a number of exciting, technology-based projects:

  • WeldGalaxy – a knowledge platform for welding in manufacturing
  • GeoHeX – development of advanced materials for geothermal heat exchangers
  • FORGE – novel, cost-effective coatings for energy-intensive industries
  • Sol-Rec2 – an environmentally friendly methods of recycling multi-materials packaging waste
  • INHALE – development of halide-free ionic liquids for the electrodeposition of zinc and zinc alloys (Horizon 2020 MSCA)
  • Battman3D – creation of novel, multi-material, 3D printed batteries

WeldGalaxy, GeoHeX, Sol-Rec2 and FORGE are funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, INHALE is funded by Horizon 2020: MSCA, and Battman3D is funded by Innovate UK. In addition, MatIC recently completed the FlexiBat project to create thin and flexible printed batteries, also funded by Innovate UK.

The MatIC team members lending their expertise to the Centre’s research projects are:

  • Vikas Kumar – a Post-Doctoral Research Assistant (PDRA), with a background in solid-state physics, Vikas joined MatIC after PDRA experience from the University of Sheffield, and has recently been involved in the selection and assessment of battery electrodes and electrolytes on projects.
  • Zihui Dong – a Materials Engineer with PhD and PDRA experience in CALPHAD, Machine Learning (ML) and data processing methods for selection of new metals and alloys, Zihui completed his undergraduate and graduate studies with the University of Leicester.
  • Garima Mittal – a Nanotechnologist who has been working on the development of nanomaterials-derived coatings for geothermal applications, Garima has a PhD in nanocomposites and previously worked as a PDRA in South Korea before joining MatIC.
  • Kranthi Maniam – specialising in the development of electroplating methods using environmentally friendly electrolytes, Kranthi has published several papers on ionic liquids and has recently been working on halide-free ionic liquids as a Marie Curie Fellow. He has extensive research experience in electroplating, process modelling and simulations, and worked in Industry and academia before joining MatIC.
  • Berenika Syrek-Gerstenkorn – an Electrochemist and Corrosion Scientist by training, Berenika carried out her PhD at the University of Birmingham as a National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC) student. She is currently working on developing methods for recycling multi-material systems as a MatIC Researcher.

Centre Director Shiladitya Paul said “Since its inception, I am pleased to report that MatIC has gone from strength to strength, and continues to innovate in the world of materials, delivering a robust and industry focused portfolio of publicly funded, collaborative projects, that combine cutting edge R&D with a strong environmental focus.”  “In addition, this would not be possible without the expertise of the Centre’s staff and the support of the University of Leicester and TWI” he added.

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