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NSIRC Research and Innovation Conference 2021

Wed, 15 September, 2021

Now called the NSIRC Research and Innovation Conference 2021, this year’s National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC) annual conference took place on 8-9 September.

Continuing the successful format established with last year’s NSIRC 2020 LIVE, the 2021 event was also brought to delegates virtually, enabling NSIRC students, partners, associates and TWI Industrial Members to attend the conference, no matter where they were in the world.

Around 200 people, who praised both the content and the experience of the two-day event, attended the conference.

As well as its core focus on NSIRC, for 2021, the conference included a new addition to the programme, turning the spotlight towards TWI’s Core Research Programme (CRP) and introducing a number of industrial needs-based projects, which have been completed over the past 12 months.

Now in its tenth year, NSIRC, which was founded by partners Lloyd’s Register Foundation and TWI, is a postgraduate education and research centre that combines teaching with high-quality research and development (R&D), and industry-based experience, in structural integrity and engineering specialisms. Students work alongside TWI technical experts and have full use of our state-of-the-art engineering laboratories to conduct investigations and work on projects. Generous scholarships and competitively enhanced stipends are available annually to UK, European and international students to support their studies.

The CRP is steered and monitored by TWI’s Research Board, made up of representatives from around 40 TWI Industrial Member companies. Each year, the CRP invests half of TWI’s Industrial Membership subscriptions to develop new technologies that have the potential for industrial application in 3-5 years’ time. The programme is delivered through a rolling programme of 30-40 projects, with 10-15 new projects starting every year, some of which also provide opportunities for NSIRC students. Technology themes are identified collaboratively between TWI and our Industrial Members.

Introduced by Prof Tat-Hean Gan, Director of NSIRC and TWI’s Director of Innovation and Skills, day one of the conference began with a talk on, ‘Scanning the Horizon for a Net Zero Future,’ by keynote speaker Luca Corradi, Innovation Network Director of the Net Zero Technology Centre. This was followed by presentations from over 20 NSIRC students who gave insights into their PhD-based R&D projects, spanning areas including composites and polymers, additive manufacturing (AM), industry 4.0, joining technologies and structural integrity. Conference attendees could choose to attend a number of simultaneous CRP project presentations on subjects including thermoplastic composites, welding of AM materials and hydrogen embrittlement of hardenable nickel alloys.

Day two featured a presentation called ‘Technology Matters’ by Mark Thomson, Executive Chair of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). This was followed by a further 15 presentations by NSIRC PhD students on their R&D activities in relation to inspection and monitoring, coating and joining technologies, and structural integrity and standards projects. As with the first day, attendees also had the option of joining CRP project presentations, which, on day two, covered topics related to refill friction stir spot welding, ultrasonic inspection of austenitic welds and structural bonding applications.

NSIRC Director, Tat-Hean Gan said, “Once again, through their presentations, our NSIRC students have demonstrated the depth and breadth of their PhD topics, the dedication they are applying to their studies and their competence in mastering industry-related R&D to enable new engineering-based technologies. We were also delighted to introduce the TWI Core Research Programme showcase to this year’s event, demonstrating some of the projects that are of particular relevance to TWI’s Industrial Member companies, TWI and the industries they both operate in, in the future.”

He added, “Lastly, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you, on behalf of myself and my colleagues, to all our sponsors, students, speakers and presenters, and delegates from across academia and industry, for their valued contribution to, and support for, this year’s NSIRC Research and Innovation Conference 2021.”

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