Weighty transport problem gets £5.7m boost

Advanced Sheet Metal Forming Committee
27 Sep 2010

Scientists at the University of Manchester will use a £5.7m grant to help develop new super-light materials solutions for building greener cars and aircraft.
The five and a half year collaborative project – led by the University - aims to help deliver dramatic reductions in the environmental impact of transport, by finding ways of improving the design of high performance light alloys in the transport sector. A team of eight multi-disciplinary academics, led by Professor George Thompson in the School of Materials, will investigate techniques for forming complex component architectures, joining advanced alloys and dissimilar materials, and engineering surfaces for low environmental impact, while ensuring low cost and recyclability. They will also investigate the use of coatings that provide self-healing properties to protect critical materials in the new design solutions. Researchers will exploit exciting and innovative approaches to process modelling and simulation in order to accelerate the use of new techniques and technology in industry.

The LATEST2 (Light Alloys Towards Environmentally Sustainable Transport Second Generation) Project is being funded by a Programme Grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).George Thompson, Professor of Corrosion Science and Engineering, said: “This important grant provides us with secure funding over several years to develop the scientific understanding to meet the challenge of building lighter vehicles and aircraft with lower carbon emissions and better fuel economy.” The Programme Grant will build on the success of the original LATEST Portfolio Partnership. For details see

Project partners are AIRBUS UK, Alcoa Europe Flat Rolled Products, Bridgnorth Aluminium Ltd, CSIRO, FEI Company Tools for Nanotechnology, GKSS Research Centre, Innoval Technology Ltd, Jaguar Land Rover, Keronite International Ltd, Magnesium Elektron Ltd, Meridian Business Development UK, NAMTEC, Norton Aluminium Ltd, Novelis Global Technology Centre, Rio Tinto Alcan, Rolls-Royce plc and TWI Limited.