Swansea University, Wales, UK, has opened the Institute for Innovative Materials, Processing and Numerical Technologies (IMPACT), a £35 million materials and engineering research facility, at the College of Engineering on Swansea University’s Bay Campus, reports Materials World magazine.
Offically opened by First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford AM on February, the new facility is intended to cater for collaborative research projects between industry and academia. It will reportedly target five core research areas including future manufacturing, next-generation material property measurement, advanced structural materials, thin films and coatings, and data-centric engineering.
According to the university, in order to serve multiple needs, the IMPACT building is split across two sections which include an office and a laboratory, connected via a central corridor. The administrative section in the Engineering North portion houses eighty single-occupancy offices and a hub to sit 150 people, with co-location space for collaborative working.
The functional area has 1,600 m2 of open plan laboratories and the building has been fitted with cutting-edge equipment set to serve projects in innovative materials, modelling and manufacturing, and advanced engineering to support both theoretical and applied research projects. The facility also features robotics, cobots and Additive Manufacturing capabilities, and a £1.2 million wind tunnel for testing airflow movements around solid objects.
“IMPACT supports the global engineering economy through collaborative, fundamental and applied research, development and innovation,” stated Professor Johann Sienz, Director of Innovation and Engagement at the College, and Director of IMPACT. “Our unique colocation facility means we can offer a transformative research environment for academia-industry partnerships.”
“These highly specialised laboratories will bring industry and academia closer together and the funding received from the European Regional Development Fund has greatly contributed to our growth as a leader in our field in the UK and beyond,” added Prof Sienz. This unique facility will, therefore, help further support Wales as a global destination for innovation in advanced engineering and smart manufacturing.”
“The future is brighter not only for the students who pass through these doors, but for Wales, which will benefit from their knowledge and innovations,” commented Drakeford. “As the world faces multiple challenges, such as climate change – it is the thinkers, the makers and the doers we will look to innovate and help us find solutions for the future.”