Our Work Packages

The Materials Community's current contract with the Technology Strategy Board started on 1st April 2014. The Smart Materials Group has and will deliver a number of work packages for the benefit of the smart materials community under the TSB's advanced materials strategy and the 3 main themes of energy, sustainability and high value markets.

Details of the current work packages can be found below and we would welcome comments and questions which can be directed to Steve Morris


Current work packages (to July 2014)

Auxetics and Metamaterials State of the Art Report

Complete and publish a state of the art report 

Energy Harvesting and Designers

Develop a plan to deliver a workshop that will include designers and technical people in developing project  proposals for forthcoming calls

Commercialising Hidden Technologies

Develop a proposal to build on the previous events and on the experience of developing the case for metamaterials to improve the access to the wider commercial world of defence technologies


Year 5 Work Packages

Smart Design Showcase
Smart Materials Group ran a showcase of smart materials in order to challenge design students to use smart materials and technology to solve challenges.

Smart and Functional Materials Network
We are helping to signpost R&D and industry involved in the development of smart and functional materials and systems.
We will form a group under Smart Materials Sector on _connect - "Smart and Functional Materials Networking".
We will be approaching University departments and SME's and inviting them to  submit details of their skills, equipment, people and programmes associated with smart and functional materials with a view to delivering a directory of academic research in the area, the supply chain players and a directory of equipment.
We plan to deliver a number of activities including 2 webinars on selected topics of interest and a group members face to face focus meeting.

Auxetics Network
Smart Materials Group is setting up a group under Materials Community to showcase R&D and the latest developments in auxetic materials.
As a part of this effort to raise the profile of these metamaterials there is a plan to organise at least one webinar and one workshop in an application of commercial interest.

Smart materials ideas pipeline
Smart Materials Group is keen to focus on smart materials technologies and the challenges facing them in order to generate some feedback on issues facing the smart materials community. The event will include involvement from both SME's and academics and as an introductory event be "wide spread" followed by narrow and focused workshop or workshops in the future.

Smart Coatings
A seminar to introduce the current research and technology in smart coatings will be delivered in partnership  with CPI (Centre for Process Innovation) in June and to lead to a further focused event


Year 4 Work Packages

Structural Power as an emerging technology in the defence sector
Smart Materials will deliver a conference in partnership with the Functional Materials Group and the Defence Security and Safety Committee of the Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining that will focus on the challenges of making structural power a commercial reality. Following the conference we will produce a report on the gaps in the current technology, details of project proposals that would fill those gaps and the identification of potential partners to deliver the projects. This would allow us to highlight the opportunities for future funding calls.

Smart Materials and Emerging Technologies within the Catapults
We will be promoting the smart materials and emerging technologies sector's skills and knowledge to the Catapults referencing the key technologies and their TRL's in addition to sites of expertise. A report on key areas of potential collaboration between Catapults and academia will be delivered as well as a case study highlighting the value of Catapult/KTN collaboration in driving innovation.

Energy Harvesting
Following a review of the current technology for rectification and storage of harvested energy the gaps will be prioritised and projects developed to fill them with appropriate collaborators that can access up and coming calls from the TSB and EU. This work will be delivered and detailed under the Energy Harvesting Special Interest Group.

Printed self-sensing and self-healing multifunctional materials in aircraft structures
The sector is working with the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Sheffield to identify collaborators to work with them to develop an innovative ink-jet printing technology into a self-healing system for aircraft structures so allowing the expansion of the use of smart lightweight structures in the industry. Further details are available on the website.

Commercialising Hidden Technologies
The sector will deliver 2 events that will allow SME's to discuss expertise and technology developed in the defence and security industry (within defence contractors such as BAE Systems, RTO's such as QinetiQ, and government organisations such as Dstl) and allied to structural power and radiation shielding. A report on potential projects and a case study will be delivered following the events.


Year 3 Work Packages

Energy Harvesting
This will consider the challenge of how to store harvested energy through the collation of a report to highlight the various approaches to energy storage and to link this with the current scientific and technical status of micro- and nano- energy harvesting research and technologies. This will be presented to leaders in the industrial sector with a view to the development of a plan to develop appropriate integrated energy storage technologies for commercial use.

Standards for anti-microbial surfaces
Last year's work programme identified a need for standards in order for new materials and technologies to be introduced into this challenging area for the healthcare sector. Working with BSI, industry, research development organisations and academia we will deliver a workshop and report to contribute to the development of standards.

Auxetic technologies in non-invasive healthcare applications
The potential for auxetic technology in the healthcare sector is large but so too are the barriers to adoption and commercialisation in this sector, not least of which is the granting of approvals. In order to aid-pull through of this innovative technology we will run a workshop with leaders in industry and research. The workshop objective is to identify and develop non-invasive applications that attract less demanding approvals and might provide improved products. Examples include pressure regulating and drug eluting bandages. The workshop will also offer a forum to showcase applications for future products for invasive procedures such as stents.

Smart Coatings
There is a huge challenge in the defence, oil and gas and construction industries to extend life of vehicles and infrastructure. Smart coatings such as self-healing and self-indicating, (for example; exceeding strain limit, operating temperature or impact damage limits) could provide structural protection for longer and provide an indicator for condition-based maintenance or repair. The focus of this project will be the identification of solution providers in industry and the access to funding in defence to solve their issues with platform life and leading ultimately to technologies being commercialised in the private sector too.

Hidden technologies
There is a large amount of technology developed by researchers working in the defence sector. Many of these are ‘Dual Use' technologies that could be of significant benefit to wider UK industry but are not publicised widely in the open literature or through the media. Consequently these novel technology concepts are not brought to the attention of civil product-focused industries for commercialisation. The purpose of this work package is to identify appropriate ‘Dual Use' technologies for commercialising in the private sector and select the 3 most promising to roadmap describing the application needs, the technologies and the benefits they bring, a viable exploitation mechanism path together with a planning framework within which the technology developments can be coordinated.

Intelligent Textiles
The increase in number and sophistication of electronic aids carried by security forces has seen a rising need to address the weight, volume, distribution and related burden resulting from batteries and other electrical power sources, connections and cabling necessary for the equipment to function and to enable effortless use by the wearer. There is also a need to reduce other physiological burdens encountered by uniformed personnel including higher thermal load, reduced agility and reduced mobility. It is planned to review the available textile-based technologies that might provide combined reduced weight and volume, improved distribution and reduced physiological burden paying particular attention to thermal load.


Year 2 Work Packages

Morphing Structures in Marine Applications
A report was published that looks at the potential for both passive and active adaptation of structures in marine craft and renewables to increase energy efficiency and improve performance. The Smart materials group worked with the Composites group in the Materials Community, the BMF (British Marine Federation) , Composites UK and Marine Southeast to deliver an event, "Boatbuilding with Composite Materials: Safe, Sustainable and Smart". The presentations given at the event are available to members of the Composites Sector. For further information please contact Adrian Waddhams

Intelligent Energy Harvesting
A workshop was delivered that aimed to investigate the challenges to the intelligent utilisation of energy harvesting technology on a wider basis and identify potential projects that might meet those challenges. Details of the event include a report and presentations that can be downloaded. As an addition to this and as a part of laying some groundwork for the Year 3 work package considering the storage of harvested energy, the sector looked at current research into battery technology and issued an internal report on the findings. For further information please contact Steve Morris.

Self-healing Materials
With the potential to greatly reduce the need for maintenance and repair in transport applications the latest technology was investigated at the 3rd International Conference on Self-healing Materials in Bath in June 2011. A report is currently being prepared and will be available by 24th November. 

Anti-fouling Standards
Following a work package that looked at anti-fouling technology in Year 1, identifying a lack of standards as a barrier to the adoption of new and innovative solutions, this work package sought to encourage the community to work together to improve standardisation of testing practices for assessing new coatings. A sub-group on anti-fouling was formed as a forum for the exchange of ideas. A formal workshop was not followed through as key influencers were progressing this, e.g.. through US ONR workshops and the book "Biofouling Methods", to be published in 2012. Activity continued in making introductions for research collaboration.  For further information please contact Stella Job.

Auxetics in Healthcare
A workshop was delivered that aimed to raise the awareness of the potential for auxetic technology in the healthcare sector. It identified the need to perhaps approach showcasing technology through an alternative application such as sportswear due to the regulation in the healthcare sector. Details of the event include a report and presentations that can be downloaded by members. 

Smart Solutions for Anti-microbials in Healthcare
A workshop was delivered that identified a lack of standards and metrology in this area which is being addressed in a Year 3 work package. Details of the event include a report and presentations that can be downloaded by members.


Year 1 Work Packages

Smart and biomimetic anti-fouling coatings
A State of the Art Report on Anti-fouling technologies was delivered as was an event bringing together key people in the industry to discuss the available technologies and how they might be adopted. The outcome was the identification of a need for standardisation of anti-fouling testing methods which was the subject of a Year 2 work package. Details of the event include presentations that can be downloaded by members.

Structural Health Monitoring
A review of the current application of structural health monitoring technology was undertaken and a report issued.
The technologies available for structural health monitoring were the subject of a State of the Art Report issued in 2006.

Electroactive Polymers
The UK research and industrial capability in electroactive or semi-conducting polymers was investigated with a view to taking advantage of an emerging market for their use in biomedical applications. Whilst the UK has expertise in these polymers, it is related almost exclusively to plastic electronics as the report states.

Smart Packaging
There was a substantial amount of work undertaken to identify the state of commercialisation of technologies related to the use of smart materials in packaging applications. This was to build on a report issued in 2006, Smart and Active Packaging to Reduce Food Waste.
A planned workshop and updated report were not undertaken due to a lack of interest from the community at the time. For further information please contact Steve Morris

Smart Materials in Healthcare
A review of the current smart technologies in the healthcare sector was undertaken using data from up to the date proceeding from CIMTEC 2008. An external report was not issued. For further information please contact Steve Morris.