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The Importance of Composites in Driving Carbon Reduction

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Professor Richard Day, Vice-Chancellor of Research and Professor of composites engineering at Wrexham Glyndwr University, spoke with Business News Wales about the importance of composites in driving carbon reduction, and how the university is keen to engage with businesses and work mutually to improve their products and sustainability.

 

Interview Highlights

  • We’re looking for greener strategies for making composites and also into areas where we can place other materials, such as wood composites, which tend to be lighter and therefore more energy efficient. Our wide range of facilities support research and a broad spectrum of industries.
  • We can do mechanical testing of a range of structures, and we can do that from 250C down to -100C, which is very important for aerospace structures where there might be very hot environments on the runway and then when flying, it could be -50C to -60C outside.
  • We can now perform impact tests, which will allow us to measure the toughness of samples, this time between about 150C and -70C, which is highly relevant for the aerospace industry and also pseudo satellites and drones. We’ll measure the material performance to make sure that they're fit for purpose, but then more widely our lab can make composites for these purposes too.
  • Composites are very important in driving sustainability and emissions reduction because generally, they're very, very stiff and strong, but quite light. Therefore they can be used to replace other materials, reducing the weight of structures and the amount of fuel needed.
  • The same principle applies to technology such as wind turbines where you can make a bigger wind turbine by using composites. Composite blades are used in very large wind turbines because often the blades are 90 to 100 meters long. If they weren't made from those materials, they would break under their own weight!
  • The team at Glyndwr University are very keen to engage with business and support them, whether it be on a short-term project or a much longer-term project. For instance, we understand the move from metal technology to composite technology is quite a big change for a company and their employees, but we can help them through that entire process.

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From a rich history to a bright future for education in North Wales – Wrexham Glyndwr University gives each student’s learning and future personal attention.

We’ve been delivering education at our main Wrexham campus since 1887, when we were known as the Wrexham School of Science and Art. We first started offering degrees in 1924 but we’ve come a long way since then.

We became Denbighsire Technical Institute in 1927, moving to Regent Street, now home to our creative arts courses. As the Institute and demand for courses grew, the development of what is now our main Plas Coch campus began and the Denbighshire Technical College was born in 1939.

Sir Patrick Abercromby, the famous Liverpool-Dublin architect, was responsible for the internal design of the College, which featured in a number of Architecture magazines in the early 1950s. Peggy Angus was commissioned to design suitable tiles for the main foyer. These were unique to the College and represent a flow of learning with a Welsh background. These tiles are still in place today and are protected as a Grade II listing.

It soon became necessary to merge the three main colleges of the County of Clwyd: Denbighshire Technical College, Cartrefle Teacher Training College (situated at the other end of Wrexham) and Kelsterton College in Connah’s Quay near Chester.

The resulting North East Wales Institute of Higher Education (NEWI) became one of the largest colleges of its kind in Britain with over 9,000 students and an annual budget in 1975 of £5 million.

The College grew both in the number of students and in reputation as its expertise became sought after throughout the world.

In 2008, NEWI gained university status and Glyndwr University was born.

 

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