Realising innovative and adaptive product design...

...and optimisation through an integrated materials and modelling system

LJMU researchers have utilised their expertise in materials engineering, theoretical/numerical modelling and product development to influence product design processes and optimisation.

Researchers from LJMU’s Mechanical Engineering and Materials Research Centre (MEMARC) have been working with industrial partners to develop different types of advanced materials which have significant economic, social and environmental impacts across a range of sectors and industries.

The research behind this work combines complex materials engineering with theoretical and numerical modelling techniques to develop and test new products. This includes testing materials under different conditions and at different scales, such as atomic level, crystal nucleation and microstructure.

By combining Finite Element modelling with Computer Aided Engineering, researchers were able to create advanced materials which have been used to improve the production and durability of materials used in welded structures, medical engineering and sportswear design.

In sportswear design, this type of approach was used to model the biomechanics of the human foot under abnormal loading conditions. By studying the effects of landing angle under different conditions, researchers were able to design new materials systems which have been incorporated into the design of a new basketball shoe. The shoe incorporated different foams and layered materials to protect the metatarsal to prevent sports injuries. The product has been taken to market by an industrial partner with an estimated market value of £2 million.

A recent joint research project with a leading cancer treatment centre in the North West of England has led to advances the understanding prostate cancer treatment procedures. The research involved modelling model material system and MRI images to stimulate human prostate movement and bladder filling. This allowed medical researchers to understand how the effects of water filling in the human bladder effects radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer patients.

In the mining, iron and steel production industries, the research has been used to improve the process of reclaiming/repairing key engineering components (a process known as welded hardfacing). Prior to this research, high value components such as tool steel had poor weldability and were expensive to process, requiring a full scale heating process, which had a significant environmental impact.

Find out more about the research within the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Research Centre.

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