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“Academic excellence with industrial relevance has always been at the heart of what we do….it’s what makes us unique”

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya Kt CBE FREng FRS
Regius Professor of Manufacturing
Chairman and Founder

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Dr Kogila Balakrishnan joins expert line-up at prestigious Chevening Conference

Dr Kogila Balakrishnan Director of Client and Business Development at WMG, University of Warwick, Dr Kogila Balakrishnan, is on the expert panel on Friday (12th April) at the Chevening Conference 2019.

She joins senior academics from across the world, Chevening Alumni, and inspiring community leaders for Chevening’s 35th annual conference entitled ‘Pushing boundaries and shaping the future.’

Dr Balakrishnan, a Chevening Alumnus herself, will discuss, debate, and share ideas on pushing boundaries and the importance of building international networks, as well as those documented in her recent book ‘Technology Offsets in International Defence Procurement.’ The book is the first to focus on both the theory and practice of offsets, combining developmental economic theories, technology theories, business and management theories and international business practice.

Dr Balakrishnan is responsible for international business development, research in defence management and offsets as well as teaching at WMG. Her specific role is to develop and enhance education and research collaboration focused in Malaysia and South East Asia.

Find out more and book your place here.

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High-resolution scanning helps secure guilty verdict against child’s mother

Researchers from WMG at The University of Warwick, have used a high resolution X-ray (micro-CT) scanner, a novel 3D imaging technology more commonly employed in industry and materials research, to scan 9 week old Teri-Rae’s rib cage.

The scans images with one thousand times of the detail of a hospital scanner, meaning they were able to detect 2 more microscopic injuries which could otherwise have been missed by conventional medical CT scanners.

The evidence produced helped reveal a total of ten injuries of varying ages. 3D renderings of these injuries were shown during trial to provide visual context and support the bone specialist’s expert testimony.

This secured a guilty verdict for the charge of manslaughter for Teri-Rae’s mother Abigail Palmer, who has been sentenced today - 4th April 2019.

The work was conducted as part of an ongoing research partnership between Warwick University and West Midlands Police which uses such scanning technologies to support homicide investigations.

Professor Mark Williams of WMG at the University of Warwick comments:

“State-of-the-art 3D scanning technology allowed us to identify multiple fractures to Teri-Rae’s ribs that had occurred over an extended period of time.

“The ability to produce highly detailed 3D images of these shocking injuries that could be presented at court helped establish the truth and show what had happened. It’s an honour for us to provide critical evidence to this case, and to be able to help the police investigate such an unfortunate tragedy.”

West Midlands Police Sergeant Mick Byron from the Child Abuse Investigation Team, comments:

“We were able to show that Teri-Rae suffered 10 rib fractures over a four to 12 hour period between 3am and 11am on 2 January.

“Palmer had been at a pub for six hours on New Year’s Day but claimed to have drank mainly squash, not alcohol, as that would have breached a condition of the Child Protection Plan she was bound by.

“We don’t believe her… and neither did the jury. We suspect she came home drunk, was awoken by her baby in the night and inflicted these terrible images in response to Teri-Rae’s crying.

“Palmer admitted the baby was never out of her sight and never mishandled by anyone else; she offered no plausible accidental explanation for her daughter’s injuries. There was no indication Teri-Rae suffered a bone fragility condition and she was not independently mobile enough to have injured herself.

“Significant force is required to cause rib fractures in a baby… the presence of rib fractures in a baby of this age is indicative of abusive, deliberately inflicted, injury. This was a truly heart-breaking case to investigate, that a little baby’s life was taken by the one person who should have been protecting her.”

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New technique to make transparent polythene films as strong as aluminium that could be used in impact resistant glazing, windscreens, and displays

Research led by Professor Ton Peijs of WMG at the University of Warwick and Professor Cees Bastiaansen at Queen Mary University of London, has devised a processing technique that can create transparent polythene film that can be stronger as aluminium but at a fraction of the weight, and which could be used use in glazing, windscreens, visors and displays in ways that add strength and resilience while reducing weight.

In a new research paper entitled “Glass-like transparent high strength polyethylene films by tuning drawing temperature.” Published online today - 1st April 2019 - in the Journal Polymer, the authors show that after carefully selecting the type polythene and by tuning the temperature during the creation of oriented polythene films a balance can be created that produces a highly useful and lightweight transparent material with a significant strength and resilience approaching, and in some ways, exceeding that of metals.

Previously anyone looking to replace heavy and often brittle glasses with a transparent plastic have looked at conventional transparent plastics like polycarbonate (PC) and poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMMA) both of which possess relatively unsatisfactory mechanical performance compared to an engineering material like aluminium.

Current methods of creating high strength plastic films such as hot-drawing of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) can lead to materials that can compete or even out-perform traditional engineering materials like metals.

“The microstructure of polymers before drawing very much resembles that of a bowl of cooked spaghetti or noodles, while after stretching or drawing the molecules become aligned in a way similar to that of uncooked spaghetti, meaning that they can carry more load” explains Yunyin Lin, a PhD student in Professors Peijs and Bastiaansen’s team.

However, drawn polythene materials normally have an opaque appearance due to defects and voids introduced by the drawing process, limiting applications where both mechanical properties and optical transparency are required.

Some success has recently been achieved by using highly specific additives in hot-drawn HDPE materials that can then produce 90% transparency while giving high strength. However, the research team led by Professors Peijs and Bastiaansen have now developed a new post-manufacturing technique for HDPE that endows strength and resilience while preserving transparency without using additives.

The researchers took HDPE polythene sheets and drew out these sheets at a range of temperatures below the melting temperature of HDPE. By tuning the drawing temperature they could achieve a transparency of 90% in the visible range. However, the best balance between strength and transparency was achieved at drawing temperatures between 90 and 110 degrees centigrade.

Professor Ton Peijs of WMG at the University of Warwick said:

“We expect greater polymer chain mobility at these high drawing temperatures to be responsible for creating fewer defects in the drawn films, resulting in less light scattering by defects and therefore a higher clarity”

The highly transparent films possess a maximum resilience or Young’s Modulus of 27 GPa and a maximum tensile strength of 800 MPa along the drawing direction, both of which are more than 10 times higher than those of PC and PMMA plastics. For comparison, aluminium has a Young’s Modulus of 69 GPa and aerospace grade aluminium alloy can have tensile strengths up to around 500 MPa. However, polythene has a density of less than 1000 kg/m3 while aluminium has a density of around 2700 kg/m3, meaning that on weight basis these high strength transparent polymer films can outperform such metals.

Professor Ton Peijs in WMG at the University of Warwick concludes that:

“Our results showed that a wide processing window ranging from 90 °C to 110 °C can be used to tailor the required balance between optical and mechanical performance. It is anticipated that these lightweight, low-cost, highly transparent, high strength and high stiffness HDPE films can be used in laminates and laminated composites, replacing or strengthening traditional inorganic or polymeric glass for applications in automotive glazing, buildings, windshields, visors, displays etc.”

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Coventry Cathedral hosts family, friends, and leading figures from business, politics, & education in service of thanksgiving for the life of Professor Lord Bhattacharyya

At 11am on Saturday 30th of March 2019, Coventry Cathedral enabled hundreds of people to gather for a special service of thanksgiving for the life of Freeman of the City of Coventry and Founding Chairman of WMG, at the University of Warwick, Professor Lord Bhattacharyya CBE FRS FREng (Born 6th June 1940 – Died 1st March 2019).

The Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth, the Bishop of Coventry, and Coventry Cathedral Precentor and Sub-Dean the Reverend Canon David Stone welcomed Lady Bridie Bhattacharyya, Lord and Lady Bhattacharyya’s three daughters Anita, Tina and Malini, and the Lord-Lieutenant for the West Midlands and his wife Mrs Diana Crabtree, and Lord and Lady Mayoress of Coventry, as well as the rest of the congregation to the Cathedral.

The Bishop gave the address from the pulpit and the service included a number of touching tributes to the life of Professor Lord Bhattacharyya. These were led by a tribute by Miss Tina Bhattacharyya, on behalf of the family.

Other tributes were given by:

  • Former Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Gordon Brown
  • Councillor Abdul Khan, Deputy Leader of Coventry City Council
  • Mr Ratan Tata GBE, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, and Chairman of Tata Trusts. (Ratan Tata and Professor Lord Bhattacharyya were both made Honorary Freemen of the City of Coventry at the same ceremony in 2015).
  • Mr Venu Srinivasan, Chairman and Managing Director, TVS Motor Company
  • The Right Honourable the Lord Baker of Dorking CH PC, Chairman of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, and former Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Education
  • Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of the Confederation of Indian Industry
  • Dr John Ferrie CBE FREng, Member of the Council of the University of Warwick

Later, that same day, the University of Warwick formally unveiled a plinth outside the new £150 million building on the University campus hosting the National Automotive Innovation Centre, which now proudly bears the name “The Prof. Lord Bhattacharyya Building”.

Further information:

  • Lord Bhattacharyya’s family and the University of Warwick would like to thank the Bishop of Coventry, Coventry Cathedral, Coventry City Council, the West Midlands Combined Authority, and National Express West Midlands for their help in arranging the service of thanksgiving.
  • There have been a great many tributes made by a wide range of leading figures to the life of Professor Lord Bhattacharyya since his passing on 1st March 2019.
    You can see many of those tributes here: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/about/chairman/obituary/tributes/ and you can find an obituary published by WMG and the University here https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/about/chairman/obituary/
  • The following charity donation page for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has been set up for those who would like to make a contribution in memory of Lord Bhattacharyya: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/professorlordkumarbhattacharyya
  • Lord Bhattacharyya served for four decades at Warwick, founding and leading the WMG. To commemorate his life's work, The Professor Lord Bhattacharyya Memorial Fund will create opportunities for young people to thrive, by supporting projects he was passionate about. It will provide funds to enrich the experiences of students at the University of Warwick and the two WMG Academies he was so proud of. In this way, he will continue to play a role in shaping how young people develop the practical and problem solving skills that transform their lives and have a lasting impact on the local and global economy. To contribute to the fund please visit www.warwick.ac.uk/BhattacharyyaFund
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