Fri, 10 September, 2021
Under a new title of 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 new format established last year with 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 are working from in the world currently.
NSIRC Research and Innovation Conference 2021 was attended by around 200 people, and garnered much praise for the content and experience it delivered over its two day duration.
As well as its core focus on NSIRC, for 2021, the conference also included a new addition to its programme, turning the spotlight onto TWI’s Core Research Programme (CRP) and introducing a number of industrial, needs-based projects which were completed the previous year.
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 the organisation’s state-of-the-art engineering laboratories in which 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.
"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."
Professor Tat-Hean Gan, NSIRC Director and TWI Director of Innovation and Skills
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 to work on them. Technology themes are identified collaboratively between TWI and its Industrial Members.
Introduced by Prof Tat-Hean Gan, Director of NSIRC and TWI’s Director of Innovation and Skills, Day 1 of the conference kicked off 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 an insight into their PhD-based R&D projects spanning areas such as composites and polymers, additive manufacturing (AM), industry 4.0, joining technologies and structural integrity. Simultaneously, conference attendees could choose to attend a number of CRP project presentations on subjects including thermoplastic composites, welding of AM materials and hydrogen embrittlement of hardenable nickel alloys.
Day 2 featured a presentation on Technology Matters by Mark Thomson, Executive Chair of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), 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 on Day 1, attendees also had the option of attending CRP project presentations, which on Day 2 covered topics related to refill friction stir spot welding, ultrasonic inspection of austenitic welds and structural bonding applications.
Tat-Hean Gan, Director of NSIRC 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.”
“Lastly” said Prof Gan, “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.”