The New Aston Institute of Materials Research (AIMR)

AIMR Launch
Professor Ian Nabney and Dr Paul Topham at the launch of Aston Institute of Materials Research (AIMR)
4th October 2016

The Launch

On Tuesday 27th September, EAS launched its latest Research Institute, Aston Institute of Materials Research (AIMR).

Officially opened by our departing Vice Chancellor, Dame Julia King, and our Associate Dean for Research, Professor David Webb, the focus of the event was to discover and explore AIMR’s scope, goals and activities, and to create new (and strengthen existing) multi-disciplinary collaborations across the School and the University. 

The Director of AIMR, Dr Paul Topham, delivered a presentation about the new research institute, highlighting the strengths that we have in Materials across the School. 

The multi-disciplinary team within AIMR encompasses the following: Mathematicians/Modellers, Polymer Scientists, Chemists/Biologists, Chemical Engineers, Analytical Scientists, Process/Formulation Engineers, Physicists, Mechanical Engineers and Materials Scientists. 

Participants showcased their research in materials and discussed future collaborative projects, which is going to be the key to success of the Aston Institute of Materials Research.

To view photos of the launch, click here. 

The First Phase of Exciting New Equipment

Two new pieces of equipment were delivered and installed in August as part of the AIMR's first phase of material testing equipment upgrades. The equipment can be used to measure the mechanical properties of materials including their response to cyclic loading and dynamic response to mechanical loading. For example, the repeated loading of the femur (leg) bone could be replicated in order to test a new bone screw design, or polymer materials, such as silicones, could be loaded under high frequencies in order to measure their viscoelastic response.

The two multi-axial test systems from Electroforce operate using electromagnetic motion, making them frictionless and able to operate at high frequency, load and displacement when testing the dynamic properties of materials. They come with a variety of load cells, grips and a hot/cold chamber.

•The 3200 Series test instrument operates at a 450 N maximum force, with ± 6.5 mm displacement. It has a wide bandwidth, capable of performing tests from static conditions to cyclic tests up to 300 Hz and 200 Hz for DMA.

•The 3330 system provides static to 100 Hz performance with a maximum load of ±3000 N and displacement of ± 12.5 mm, allowing versatile performance for a variety of test applications. It can also perform torsional tests at ± 24 Nm.

For more information please contact Dr Laura Leslie at [email protected]


Four research papers have recently been published in peer-reviewed journals by AIMR :

1.O. A. Efremova, Y. A. Vorotnikov, K. Brylev, N. A. Vorotnikova, I. Novozhilov, N. Kuratieva, M. V. Edeleva, D. Benoit, N. Kitamura, Y. V. Mironov, M. A. Shestopalov, A. J. Sutherland, Dalton Transactions (2016), DOI: 10.1039/C6DT02863B

2.J. M. Smith, R. A. Martin, D. T. Bowron, A. C. Hannon, R. J. Newport, Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids (2016), 10.1016/j.jnoncrysol.2016.05.019

3.H. S. Silva, I. Fraga Domínguez, A. Perthué, P. D. Topham, P.-O. Bussière, R. C. Hiorns, C. Lombard, A. Rivaton, D. Bégué, B. Pépin-Donat. Designing intrinsically photostable low band gap polymers: a smart tool combining EPR spectroscopy and DFT calculations. Journal of Materials Chemistry A (2016). 10.1039/C6TA05455B

4.D. Toolan, A. Isakova, R. Hodgkinson, N. Reeves-McLaren, O. Hammond, K. Edler, W. Briscoe, T. Arnold, T. Gough, P. D. Topham, J. R. Howse.* Dynamic in situ studies of the effect of solvent on the crystallization of poly(ethylene oxide) during spin-coating. Macromolecules (2016), 49(12), 4579-4586.

For more information on the Aston Institute of Materials Research, please contact Dr Paul Topham at [email protected]