Our Work Packages

This page is designed to let you know what we have been working on. The current Knowledge Transfer Network term started on 1 April 2014 and work programmes for the next term will be published as soon as they are finalised.

Previous knowledge transfer activities involving Polymers were aimed at supporting both the plastics and rubber industries within the UK. These work packages were split across 3 top level themes, identified in the Technology Strategy Board's Advanced Materials Strategy, of Energy, Sustainability and High Value Markets.

Details of these work packages can be found below, if you are interested in finding out more about any of these or in getting involved please contact the person responsible for each work package.

Year 4 Work Packages
Condition monitoring of elastomer failure mechanisms & smart elastomers for energy capture
Investigating how to monitor and/or capture the energy from elastomer bearings/dynamic devices to better understand methods applicable to potential energy capture in elastomer devices. The project may lead to the development of a commercially available product which predicts failure or captures energy.
Contact: Dr Sally Beken.

Dental Applications for Materials
This activity follows on from the March 2012 and July 2011 meetings on dental materials which confirmed there was need and interest in innovative materials for dental applications. The aim is to publish a report on the dental sector's needs for materials technology and setup a project group that could address the issues raised. 
Contact: Dr Matthew Thornton

Melt Strength vs. Melt Flow Index
Following on from the work done in the Year 3 work package, the aim is to build a successful consortium, including representation from the supply chain and academia, to bid for project funding with the projects outcome being a deeper understanding of the rheological characteristics of polymers resulting in a more useful method of identifying polymer processing requirements that can be adopted by industry.
Contact: Jan Czerski or download the report and presentations from the webinar.

Year Three Work packages
Developing and implementing a strategic research agenda for materials in the healthcare sector - High Value Markets
Current and future uses of polymeric surfaces and coatings in the Medical Sector for both in vivo and in vitro applications. The objectives are to publish a State of the Art Review, case studies and articles for PR.
Contact: Dr Sally Beken or Download the 'in-vitro' report and/or the 'in-vivo' report.

Evaluation of Melt Strength as an alternative to Melt Index when evaluating a polymer in terms of its performance in application also moulding capability - High Value Markets 
The objective is to develop theoutcomes of the original Polymer IRC MuPP project to produce a new test method and software, demonstrate this to the moulding industry and introduce a new commercial product.
Contact: Jan Czerski or Download the report.

Led by the Smart and Emerging Technologies Sector – Energy generation devices for harnessing energy whilst mobile for use, in particular, in the sports and leisure arena - Energy / High Value Markets 
How Polymers contribute towards energy generation in ‘mobile' applications – the objective is to carry out a literature study and cross Materials KTN review of materials and technologies that are currently available, publish a report, case studies and articles for PR.
Contact: Dr Sally Beken

Year Two Work packages
Supplying Polymer based Products to the Medical Industry - High Value Markets
Produced and published a guide on how to supply polymer based products to the medical industry. The guide details the processes and regulations involved in the submission of documents to regulatory bodies for approval, it outlines possible routes to market dependant on the application of the medical product, be it an implantable device, assisted living product, drug deliver device etc...
Contact: Dr Sally Beken or Download the report.

Biopolymer Materials Categorisation and Clarification of Information - Sustainability
Produce and publish an website listing the types of biopolymers that are available on the market with contact details for companies that supply these.
Contact: Malcolm Harold

The Active Role of Elastomers in Dynamic Products - Sustainability / Energy / High Value Markets 
The challenges for elastomers are to work in extremes of environments such as temperature or pressure, to be medically clean or to be smart by responding to their environment. This work package will deliver a series of work packages to showcase recent technological advancements taking place in the field of elastomers. The first of these webinars was on 'Elastomers as Smart Materials' held in November 2010, and the second was on 'Elastomers as Energy Generation Platforms' held in March 2011, the third webinar was on 'Elastomers and their Use in the Defence Arena' held on 24 June 2011.
Contact: Dr Sally Beken

Weathering of Recycled Photodegraded Polymers - Sustainability
The aim of this work package is to study the effects of the inclusion of photo-degraded polymer as recyclate in virgin polymers. Work is being carried out in collaboration with NPL, Triton Technology Ltd and Axion Polymers. A report on the findings of this work is scheduled to be published by the end of March 2011.
Contact: Jan Czerski or Download the report

Extra Benefit of Injection Moulding Insulation - Sustainability
The aim of this work package is to progress work that has already been undertaken through a SPARK Award which indicated that when an injection moulding machine cylinder is insulated, apart from a confirmed energy saving, the quality of the product produced can be improved e.g. higher tensile strength in nylon 6-6 cable ties. This work package will investigate this effect in more detail with the use of insulated and non-insulated machines and a selection of materials. Studies are underway in collaboration with HellermannTyton and The University of Manchester and a report detailing these finding is scheduled to be published in March 2011.
Contact: Jan Czerski or Download the Report

Thermosetting Materials with Thermally Breakable Linkages - Sustainability
The aim of this work package is to study the viability / performance of thermosetting polymers with thermally breakable linkages with a view to promoting the development of a new material that can be more easily recycled than those currently available. The new material is currently being developed by Dr Ezat Khosravi at the University of Durham and a presentation on this subject was given at the joint BPF / Materials KTN Recycling Seminar that was held in October 2010.
Contact: Jan Czerski

Year One Work packages
Energy from Mixed Textile and Plastic Waste - Sustainability / Energy
This was aimed at minimising the materials waste stream to landfill by encouraging the adoption of difficult to reuse/recycle wastes to be used for energy generation.
Impact: Review of UK supply chain capability and technology needs. Benchmark study of technologies applied successfully in Europe and elsewhere leading to dissemination workshops and development of a UK market position report.
Contact: Jan Czerski
or Download the report

The Effect of PLA on the Recyclability of PET - Sustainability
This was aimed at determining whether or not the inclusion of PLA in a PET recyclate stream has any effect upon the overall recyclability of PET, a study was commissioned by the Materials KTN and carried out by Smithers Rapra.
Contact: Jan Czerski
or Download the report

Sustainable Polymers in Construction - Sustainability
The aim of this work package was to showcase how the use of polymers can enable more sustainable construction practices. A workshop was held, in conjucntion with BASF, at the University of Nottingham on the 27th July 2010.
Contact: Jan Czerski
or Click here for further information

Realising the Potential of Nanoscale Polymeric Materials in Transport - High Value Markets
The aim of this work package was to demonstrate how nanoscale polymeric materials are being used in the transport sector and to develop a cross-industry roadmap. The work package started by proposing a list of the "Top Ten Nano-materials used in Polymer Applications in Transport" and then we held a workshop on the 7th July 2010 to bring the community together to develop a roadmap.
Contact: Dr Sally Beken
or Download the Roadmap and the Presentations from the Workshop

Natural Fibre Filled Surf Boards - High Value Markets
The aim of this work package was to determine whether or not natural fibres could be used with a polymer matrix to form a composite that could be made into high value sporting goods such as surf boards and bicycle frames. Read an article on the subject here.
Contact: Dr Sally Beken

Hybrid and Electric Vehicles - Design for Disassembly (D4D) and Recycle/Re-use - High Value Markets
Within Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV's) and Electric Vehicles (EV's) there are some radically different expected life spans of components and subsystems. This work package aimed to highlight materials and technologies that can facilitate quick and reliable replacement components as D4D is more than end of life, it covers mid-life technology/sub assembly upgrades. Additionally, D4D is likely to use materials/ technologies that are not so specialised or unique to OEM's that they could be impossible or uneconomic to put back to original condition in a local garage, therefore, this D4D work package also included D4RA (design for re-assembly). The work packages was delivered through a workshop held in conjunction with MIRA and the Transport KTN on the 18th May 2010 follwoed by a report on the current state of the art.
Contact: Malcolm Harold
or Download the Report and the Presentations from the Workshop

Lightweight Antiballistic Polymers - High Value Markets
The aim of this work package was to organise a workshop to showcase new ideas, technologies and materials for antiballistic polymers. It was decided that this was a cross cutting work package and so a workshop was organised with other sectors of the Materials KTN, TWI and the Defence, Safety and Security Committee of IOM3, this was held at TWI on the 9th June 2010. Read more about the event here.
Contact: Dr Matthew Thornton

Bio-plastic Food Packaging: Needs, Uncertainties and Opportunities - Sustainability
The aim of this work package was to hold a one-day seminar in conjunction with the West Midlands Regional Food Academy, to show how "green plastics", innovations in packaging and meeting the consumer demand to be environmentally friendly can drive the implementation and use of bio-plastics in food packaging. Read more about the event here.
Contact: Malcolm Harold
or Download the Presentations from the Workshop