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Materials and Manufacturing

The Materials and Manufacturing group aims to design and manufacture the next generation of lightweighting solutions in response to the significant challenges facing the UK and global transportation industry, as a result of the low carbon agenda. The group forms part of the Lightweight Technologies Centre of Excellence within the WMG centre High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

The group builds upon a 10 year track record in delivering solutions to industry through a series of TSB, AWM and ERDF funded collaborative R&D projects. Our work is materials agnostic covering metals, ceramics, polymers, composites and hybrids. The primary application focus is in automotive, addressing the UK Automotive Council Lightweight Structures and Powertrain R&D priority however we work with our rail and aerospace/defence partners to identify and exploit cross-sector opportunities. These key challenges address needs which span the rail, aerospace and defence industries, as well as the automotive sector.

Current research projects

ULTRAN: The project will develop complementary lightweight technologies to deliver a step change in transmission and driveline weight. Using the latest developments in sustainable materials, coupled with novel manufacturing processes and pioneering computer aided analysis techniques, an optimised passenger car drivetrain will be developed.

ENLIGHT: The electric cars of the future require lightweight solutions that are cost effective and sustainable throughout their lifecycle. ENLIGHT aims to accelerate the technological development of a portfolio of innovative thermoset, thermoplastic, bio-based and hybrid materials which together can be applied to medium-high volume electric vehicles in 2020-25.

REALCAR2 develops the opportunity to use aluminium scrap from post-consumer sources (includes drinks cans, aerosols and foil) as an input into an aluminium alloy sheet for automotive body use.

VARCITY targets the development of key affordable CFRP technologies for body structural applications that will deliver a 50-60% weight saving over conventional steel body designs.

See all projects for the Engineering Materials and Manufacturing Group.


A key facility for the group is the Automotive Composites Research Centre at WMG.

This group uses a range of facilities for the following:

Forming: including a 500 Tonne press / extrusion facility, 100 Tonne press for Thermoplastic Composites, 100 Tonne Forming Press, Injection Moulding Machines, a 1700T Composites Forming Press and an Erichsen Universal Sheet Metal Testing Machine

Joining: including an IRB2400 automated fusion welding/brazing robot, an automated resistance spot welding system and a Comau Smartlaser Remote Laser Welding System

Performance: including an 11kJ 17m/s spring-assisted instrumented drop tower, a 20m/s very high strain-rate testing machine, static and dynamic mechanical testing, high speed digital image correlation / thermal imaging and a large chamber Carl Zeiss Sigma Field Emission Gun - Scanning Electron Microscope (FEG-SEM).

Simulation: Commercial codes: i.e. PAM-STAMP, PAM-FORM, AutoForm, LS-Dyna, MSC Marc

See full details of the technical equipment we have available.

Watch our demonstrator videos for:

Key Publications

Hierarchically structured titanium foams for tissue scaffold applications
Acta Biomaterialia
Singh, R., Lee, P. D., Jones, J. R., Poologasundarampillai, G., Post, T., Lindley, T. C. and Dashwood, R. J.

In situ synchrotron diffraction of the electrochemical reduction pathway of TiO2
Acta Materialia
Bhagat, R. (Rohit), Dye, D., Raghunathan, S. L., Talling, R. J., Inman, D. (Douglas), Jackson, B. K., Rao, K. K. (Kartik K.) and Dashwood, R. J.

The development of superplastic magnesium alloy sheet
Key Engineering Materials
Dashwood, R. J., Klaumunzer, David, Jackson, Martin, Fan, Zhongyun and Grimes, Roger.

The flow behavior and microstructural evolution of Ti-5Al-5Mo-5V-3Cr during subtransus isothermal forging
Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A - Physical Metallurgy and Materials Science
Jones, N. G., Dashwood, R. J., Dye, D. and Jackson, M.

On the mechanism of superelasticity in gum metal
Acta Materialia
Talling, R. J., Dashwood, R. J., Jackson, M. and Dye, D.

A novel inspection method for determining the cosmetic quality of automotive skin panels
Journal of Materials Processing Technology
Hazra S, Roy R, Williams D, Aylmore R, Hollingdale D

Media and Press

See WMG in the Media for additional press coverage.