Overview

The Polymer IRC Laboratories at Bradford provide a coherent, internationally leading Polymer Research grouping; genuinely interdisciplinary, with major academic collaborations worldwide, and major industrial involvement in our research.

Our research addresses significant global and local societal and commercial needs particularly in the areas of:

  • medical technology - 
    • materials and devices for tissue and joint repair, 
    • biomedical materials, including bioresorbable and shape memory materials, 
    • drug eluting implants and fixations, 
    • drug delivery technologies, 
    • minimally invasive surgery technologies
    • prosthetics and gait; 
  • precision manufacturing (micromoulding and conventional moulding) for 
    • control of surface features and properties, including antimicrobial surfaces and drug delivery techniques such as micro needles,
    • telecommunications, optics and anti-counterfeiting,
    • automotive and structural parts in polymer composites; 
  • solid phase orientation polymer technologies for property enhancements for 
    • medical devices, such as tissue fixations and arterial stents, 
    • building products (see Eovations LLC) ranging from decking to hurricane-resistant building products; 
  • 3-d printing for novel manufacturing using multiple streams of polymers
  • resource efficient materials including upcycling for food containers, thermal/acoustic barriers and enhanced properties for high added value; 
  • modelling of novel processing and product performance in all of the above sectors.

We are a world leading research laboratory for process structuring of polymers, polymer composites/nanocomposites,  biomaterials and pharmaceuticals, with novel and conventional materials processing.  Our 4500 sq m area laboratories (see plan here) include:  40 advanced manufacturing computer monitored lines for melt phase, solid phase and reactive processing and 3-d printing; a clean room for nanomaterials and pharmaceuticals processing; cell culture and extensive physical and chemical characterisation over the length scales, and computer modelling of polymer melts and solids.  We have wide-ranging academic collaborations and currently work with over 150 companies (see our Bradford Industry Group).   

In Bradford, we cross the engineering, physics, chemistry and life sciences boundaries, hosting focussed but overlapping research centres as shown in the diagram below:

We are building on and evolving the Polymer IRC original structure, which was originally formed in 1989  by an EPSRC major grant (£23m over 11 years) to Leeds, Bradford and Durham Universities.  Sheffield University joined in 2003-4.  A timeline is shown below:

This identifies some major ‘step functions’ in our development.  Our reach in the UK and especially internationally continues to develop, with extensive collaborations  such as the RCUK Bradford Science Bridges China programme and its associated UK-China Advanced Materials Research Institute (which involve over 30 leading Chinese groups - with two Joint Laboratories in Sichuan and Changchun now formed - and UK universities, especially Leeds, Sheffield, Durham), together with major UK collaborations including the recent EPSRC MeDe Centre of Innovative Manufacturing in Medical Devices (Leeds, Bradford, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield).

© PDC/IRC 1989-2017