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InterTrade Ireland “Research Connections Event ” Overview of Research Activities and Capabilities in Polymers at Queens University Gerry Mc Nally Senior Lecturer, Polymer Research Cluster Director of New Business and Strategic Partnerships POLYMER PROCESSING RESEARCH CENTRE
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InterTradeIreland “Research Connections Event ” Overview of Research Activities and Capabilities in Polymers at Queens University Gerry Mc Nally Senior Lecturer, Polymer Research Cluster Director of New Business and Strategic Partnerships POLYMER PROCESSING RESEARCH CENTRE QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY BELFAST
Contents. • Background of QUB. • Activities of Polymers Research Cluster. • Overview of PPRC and Facilities. • PPRC Industrial Research Activities. • PPRC Working with Industry. • Academic Benefits of Working with Industry.
1. Queens University Belfast Background • Established 160 years • Russell group (top 20) of UK Universities • 25,000 students • Research led University • 1500 academics and research staff • Annual turnover £200m --£40m research/ contracts • Spectrum of research Excellence • 24 Schools returned in 2008 RAE Cancer Research, Civil Engineering, Music, Mech & Aer Engineering ranked 4th in University. (Polymer Research Cluster)
Polymer Research Cluster at QUB Academic Staff Peter Hornsby (Director) Professor Processing Eileen Harkin-Jones Professor Process Modelling John Orr Professor Biomaterials Cecil Armstrong Professor Process Modelling Gerry McNally Senior Lecturer Director of PPRC Peter Martin Senior Lecturer Thermoforming Modelling Tony McNally Senior Lecturer Nanocomposite Fraser Buchanan Senior Lecturer Biomaterials Steve Thompson Senior Lecturer Process Control Nicholas Dunne Lecturer Biomaterials Marion McAfee Lecturer Process Control Gary Menary Lecturer Process Modelling Polymer Research Cluster has around 40-45 Post Grads, Post Docs, etc.
2. Polymers Research Cluster • Scope of Research Leading edge multidisciplinary research into the processing, modeling and development of high performance polymeric materials, including their use in medical applications. • Research Centres within the Cluster Polymer Processing Research Centre (PPRC) formed in 1996, to focus on advanced extrusion, rotational moulding and thermoforming technologies Medical Polymers Research Institute (MPRI), established in 2002 through a joint initiative with the School of Pharmacy,and dedicated to high technology R&D for healthcare industries in respect of medical materials and devices. • Infrastructure Excellent processing, analytical and testing facilities for undertaking high quality applied and fundamental research.
Polymers Cluster Biomaterials Polymer Processing Nanomaterials Modelling & Control Polymer & ceramic based cements Structure & property relationships Melt blending of nanofillers Thermoforming Bioresorbable polymers & ceramics Free surface moulding Surface functionalisation of nanofillers Stretch blow moulding Rotational moulding Modification of textile fibre Using nanofillers Polymer blends Marine biomaterials Dental materials Medical polymers Polymer foams reinforced With nanofillers Soft sensor viscosity control of polymer extrusion Polymer Cluster Research Themes Enhanced extrusion/ moulding technologies Nano-fibre-reinforced polymer biocomposites
POLYMER PROCESSING RESEARCH CENTRES • AT QUEENS UNIVERSITY
Knowledge Transfer Activities (KTPs etc)with Industry at PPRC • PPRC committed to working with the plastic industry • Involved in KTPs (TCS) since 1985 • Over 350 KTP to date, greatest no. for any UK University • 45 live KTP programmes at present • PPRC around 40 KTPs (TCS) since 1992 • KTPs has been the main driver in establishing the PPRC over 12 years ago • KTP activities has been one of the main sources of income for sustaining the PPRC and has been the main focus for generating research activities • KTP activities has been one of main drivers in supporting the R&D in plastics industry in Northern Ireland and has led to growth in the local economy.
Plastics Processing Industry on the Island (a) Northern Ireland Around 80 companies, 6,000 employees 70 % SMEs (b) Republic of Ireland, Around 150 companies, 12,000 employees, 75% SMEs Total, 230 companies, 18,000 employees, turnover $4Billion Medical Polymer Industry on the Island of Ireland ( The Irish Medical Device Association) 120 companies, 25,000 employees, turnover $9Billion. Overall total, 310 companies, 43,000 employees turnover $12Billion pa.75% SMEs.
Overview • PPRC Established in 1996 [INI (TDP) – £1.2 million (75%)] • Prior to 1996 - Multilayer film and tube extrusion facilities (Chemical Engineering, DKB) funded by TCS/START (1993-95) - Rotational Moulding Centre (Mechanical Engineering, Ashby) funded by STRIDE (1994)
Main Aims • To improve R&D capabilities of N.I. Plastics Industry • (82 companies, 6000 employees, 78% SMEs) • To expand research activities at QUB • Provide state of the art facilities for undergraduate and • postgraduate courses • To improve training for N.I. Industry • To become self financing • Mission • To become the centre of Excellence in Polymer Processing in UK and Europe PPRC Overview
PPRC Overview • PPRC is unique in the Faculty because it is a fully Integrated, and Visionary Centre of Balanced Excellence in terms of - providing enhanced teachingboth locally and internationally - providing research outputs, knowledge transfer and improved competancies - providing outreach to the industrial community (training & support) - provides state-of-the-art facilitiesfor undergraduates and postgraduates - self financing • Forward Business Plan and Research Strategy - MPRI (£4.2 million) – 2003 - Polymer Competence Centre (New Building) - 2010
Packaging Recycling mono/multilayer cast & blown film mono/multilayer sheet mono/multilayer tubes thermoplastics thermosetts - SBR PPRC Core Competencies Extrusion Moulding Analysis & Testing Automotive Construction multilayer tubes multilayer tanks Tanks, pipes, profiles, conveyor belts, grinding wheels, bathroom ware Polymer Nanocomposites Medical masterbatches for film/sheet masterbatches for tubes tubes – multilayer, multilumen films – multilayer injection moulding
PPRC Facilities • 1. Extrusion Processing Equipment • Monolayer – Triple layer Tube Extrusion • Monolayer – Triple layer Blown Film Extrusion • Monolayer – Triple layer, 5 layer Sheet Extrusion • Monolayer – Triple layer, 5 layer Cast Film Extrusion • Compounding • Injection Moulding • etc. • 2. Rotational Moulding • 2 Pilot Plant Rotational • Moulding Machines • Full-scale Grinder • Powder Testing / Analysis • Temperature Monitoring • Systems • 3. Thermoforming • Biaxial Testing
PPRC Facilities • 4. Analysis Facilities • Rheometry (capillary, stress, etc.) • Thermal Analysis • Mechanical Analysis • Spectroscopy (FTIR, WAXD, SAXD) • Microscopy (Optical, SEM, TEM, AFM, Laser) • Permeability Analysis - Mocon (H2O, CO2, O2) • Chromatography (GC, HPLC) • 5. Packaging Specific Facilities • Heat Sealing • Coefficient of Friction • Crush/Peel Test • Burst Test
MPRI Extrusion Equipment Multilayer sheet dies 100 and 250mm wide Multilayer tube die Water cooling and haul off Air cooling Chill roll unit Pelletiser Multilayer tube extrusion with water cooling Compounding with die face pelletiser and air cooling Two x 20mm single screw extruders Die face pelletiser Kneader elements Two x 25mm single screw extruders Computer control system Cross-sections Multilayer sheet extrusion Twin screw extruder (kneader)
Multilayer Tube Extrusion Water cooling and haul off Multilayer tube extrusion Multilayer tube die
Facilities at MPRI Multi-Layer Extrusion Equipment
PPRC RESEARCH ACTIVITIES • Rotational Moulding Research • Film & Sheet Extrusion-- Applications for medical devices & food packaging and protective battle dress • Polymer Blends and Additives (PVC replacements) • Polymers for fluid handling Applications • Polymers in Medical Devices
4. Research Themes (Extrusion) • Films, Tubes & Sheet • Multilayer for improved barrier performance. • Materials (nylons, PET, PVdF THV etc). • Applications-- packaging, medical device, automotive, defence • (battle dress). • Polymer Nanocomposites • For improved mechanical and barrier properties. • Investigated wide range of nanoclays. • Polymers nylon 12, nylons, polyethylenes, polypropylene. • Masterbatch manufacture. • New synthetic LDH nanoparticles (Oxford). • Other Polymer Additives • PIB for stretch and cling wrap films. • Antimicrobials additives (silver based) and radio-opaque fillers. • Pigments, slip agents, bioactives . • Additives for biodegradability of polymers. • Water based barrier emulsions for carton board. • 4. Recycling – Thermoplastics, wood polymers, thermoset polyurethanes.
Material development & Process optimisation • - PA / PVDF / PP / PET / PMMA / PPS / Pebax • - Co-polyesters • - Nanocomposites • - Biodegradable materials • - Fibres / Fillers 4. RotomouldingResearch • Development of new generation metallocene materials • Development of skin / foam technology – PBA / CBA • Micropellet analysis and development
4. Rotational Moulding Research • Collaborative research projects with local and international companies: Processors, Material Suppliers, Tool Makers, Designers & End users • Short term problem solving and consultancy work to medium term development and long term applied and fundamental research • - EU CRAFT projects • - EU Collective projects • e.g. ‘Micromelt’ Sept ‘06
4. Motorcycle Fuel Tank Research • PPRC conducted development • trials in Italy and USA
5. PPRC Working with the Polymer Industry Nationallyand Internationally
5. PPRC: Working with the Polymer Industry Industrial Partnerships with PPRC can contribute to Increase in client base Increase in product portfolio Increase in turnover Increase in no. of employees PPRC Partnerships with Industry, contribution to University profile Greatly increased levels of research activity on Polymers Publications in Journals and International Conferences Invited papers and presentations worldwide Underpins global recognition for PPRC
5. Invest NI/DTI Knowledge Transfer Programmes with PPRC 40 Programmes 45 Associates 25 Grade 1 3 National Awards 1997 - Best KTP with a SME - Wilsanco 1998 - Best KTP - Jordan Plastics 2002 - Best KTP for Engineering Excellence (Royal Academy of Engineering) - Steve Orr LTD
INI PROOF OF CONCEPT COMPEP AHC/GMN/IMJ 2005-2007 INI R&D PROGRMMES START HUTAMACHI, PM/AHC 2006-2009 COMPETE COLORITE EUROPE, GMN/AHC 2007-2009 EU PROGRAMMES MICROMELT, MK/PH DTI PROGRAMMES ANTI-SLASH CURTAINS, GMN/AHC 2007 INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH TOTAL FINA, MK FLEXIBLE FABRICS, AHC/GMN/IMJ Total 25 current live major projects 5. PPRC: Current Research Projects with the Polymer Industry KTP CANYON EUROPE (Belfast), GMN/AHC 2003-2008 CHERRY PIPES (Loughgall), AHC/GMN 2006-2008 SMILELY MONROE (Lisburn), AHC/GMN 2006-2008 PERFECSEAL (Derry), GMN/AHC 2006-2008 STEVE ORR Ltd. (Dromore), GMN/AHC 2006-2008 ARTGLASS (Derry), AHC/BM 2005-2007 BAPCO CLOSURES (Larne), MB/BM 2006-2008 ROTOTECH (England), MK/GMN 2007-2009 FUSION PROGRAMMES EARTHWOOD (Mullingar), AHC/GMN 2005-2007 IRISH COMPOSITES (Galway), MK 2005-2007 ATTO ABRASIVES (Wexford), GMN/AHC 2005-2007 VISTAMED (Carrick/Shannon), GMN 2006-2008 CREGANNA (Galway), GMN 2007-2009 INTERTRADE IRELAND ALL ISLAND POLYMER NETWORK PROGRAMME, GMN (PPRC/NIPA/PIA)
Academic Benefits and Challenges of Industry Collaboration Personal ReflectionsBenefits1.Funding for Institutions, improved facilities and other resources 2.Publications at international conferences, journals etc 3.More informed teaching up to date case studies.4.Networking with other companies, more research projects and funding Challenges1.The urgent need to align research areas with industry needs 2.The need to deliver programmes in a timely fashion3. Lack of suitable resources4. Lack of recognition by academic peers and institution5. Lack of good graduates
4. PPRC Presentations at SPE ANTEC Conferences Total: 150 Papers
4. Research Areas & Publications • Polymer Processing Symposia at PPRC • 2002 – 21 papers (1 day event) • 2003 – 20 papers (1 day event) • 2004 – 36 papers (2 days) – SPE Europe event • 2006 – 40 papers (2 days) – SPE Europe event
200 delegates • 5 keynote speakers • 7 sessions/45papers • 20 exhibitors 4.Tenth Anniversary Conference5-6 April 2006 Mr Leslie Morrison, CEO INI, Mr Len Czuba, President Society of Plastics Engineers, Mr Gerry McNally, Director PPRC QUB, Mr Peter Davis, Director General British Plastics Federation at the PPRC Conference 5th, 6th April 2006.
Conclusion • Large, diverse, dynamic industry, several firms have developed a strong research and development focus and as such have become global market leaders. • Urgent need for investment in more “Industry Led Centres of Excellence” and more collaboration from academics for industry focused research • Urgent need for investment in Polymer Processing Competence Centre, to reflect the urgent needs of industry and translate research to industry in a more timely fashion. • Prerequisite to have pilot plant and characterisation equipment at these Centres for proof of concept and prototyping • NIPA have applied for INI funding for new Industry led Polymer Competence Centre, min £10-12 M (2009-2004). Inviting collaboration with PI. • Need to recruit and retain expert engineering and science staff to translate and deliver programmes • Urgent need to train good graduates in multidiscipline courses for the industry.