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article imageManufacturing immortality project established

By Tim Sandle     Jan 15, 2018 in Technology
Bristol - Imagine a cracked mobile phone screen that self-heals, or a cable underneath the ocean that self-repairs. These are the goals of the European Union ‘Manufacturing Immortality Project’.
A consortium of seven institutions, which will be led by the University of Bristol, have been granted £2.7 million ($3.5 million) to carry out innovative research into manufacturing new materials. The core aim is for these materials to have the ability to self-heal or even to regenerate.
The new funding forms part of the ‘Manufacturing Immortality Project’. This is a three-year scheme, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The project will investigate how new materials can be constructed, using biological and non-biological parts, with the aim of the materials being sufficiently ‘smart’ to self-heal.
The project scope includes:
1. Electrochemical energy devices, such as fuel cells and batteries that power devices from mobile phones to electric cars.
2. Consumer electronics, like computers or televisions.
3. Safety critical systems that are used in the nuclear industry and deep sea technologies.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council is the U.K.'s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences.
The first tranche of research will examine materials that can be applied for use in inaccessible places. This includes self-healing deep-sea cables or materials used in radioactive sites, such as power stations. The second wave of research will consider consumer goods, including smartphone screens that can self-heal when cracked.
Bełchatów Power Station is a lignite-fired power station that produces 27-28 TWh of electricity pe...
Bełchatów Power Station is a lignite-fired power station that produces 27-28 TWh of electricity per year, or 20 percent of the total power generation in Poland.
Morgre/Wikipedia
The research will begin with the development of functional inorganic materials capable of integration into “immortal systems” and on hybrid integration and proof of concept studies.
Commenting on the project, Dr Paul Race, who is the Principal Investigator as well as being a practicing biochemist at the University of Bristol, enthused: “This is a hugely exciting project that leverages the combined expertise of researchers across seven universities.”
Moving onto the project scope, Dr. Race stated: “The aim of the Manufacturing Immortality consortium is to create new materials which have the ability to regenerate – or are very difficult to break — by combining bio and non-biological composites, such as bacteria with ceramics, glass and electronics.”
A plumber inspecting the pipes in a building
A plumber inspecting the pipes in a building
Courtesy City of Victoria
The researchers have set a target of 18 months within which they hope to issue reports about progress, and with the aim of showcasing some self-healing technologies at the mid-point of the project lifecycle.
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