Professor Gordon Smith is a Principal Research Fellow with WMG and heads the Materials Group which comprises 20 staff plus PhD students. He is a chemist who specialises in research on material processing and product usage with an emphasis on the application of advanced materials.
His industrial background in metal fabrication research and development, followed by several years as technical manager and latterly divisional manager of a company supplying polymer and composites to the heavy electrical and aerospace industries, led to the interest in the opportunities for new materials in the high volume automotive industry.
He has worked with major automotive suppliers in the introduction of many materials innovations such as highly structural polymeric composite components such as safety critical subframes, wheels and wishbones. Major successes were the introduction of a plastic manifold and ‘in mould’ decoration of body panels in order to avoid paint shops.
His group at WMG has grown to be a leading team with extensive research facilities and a prototype manufacturing facility for body panels. He has been granted many automotive related patents and has published extensively. Included in these grants was an IMI/DTI programme called Structurally Advanced Light Weight Vehicle Objective -filling the manufacturing Gap (GR/K81553), which was led by Gordon Smith and involved Rover Group and over 30 automotive supplier companies. His experience has led to regular invitations to serve on committees e.g. Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining (IOM3) and Foresight Vehicle.He undertakes peer review for funding bodies in the UK and EC and participates in fact finding missions (e.g. DTI/EPSRC – FASMAT mission to the US studying materials and processing in the automotive industry). Professor Smith undertakes technology transfer in the support of local industry through Polymer Clusters, which is a partnership with the University of Wolverhampton and funded by regional government (AWM).
Carbon Trust funded project: Inspired carbon reduction in automotive paint shops