Our Capabilities

The Henry Royce Institute at Sheffield has developed capabilities to deliver a step-change in the discovery and making of new material systems, enabling concepts development from early, fundamental research right through to translation to industry and, crucially, covering Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) one to six.

An engineer in full protective clothing holding a 3D-printed lattice hip joint

Our strengths include alloy development, powder processing, post production powder optimisation, additive manufactured part design and build, microstructural modelling, and materials characterisation and testing.

We work with industry on real-life production issues, transferring our knowledge to SMEs and larger companies active in the aerospace, automotive, medical, energy, manufacturing and construction supply chains.

In Sheffield, the Henry Royce Institute is able to facilitate end-to-end research activities in advanced materials development and manufacturing methods, allowing businesses to take product and process ideas from initial concept, through development, testing and optimisation to the point where they are ready to be trialled by industry.

We offer a unique and wide range of industrial grade machines, with particular emphasis on metal powders and additive manufacturing. To view our full equipment range, as well as all of the state-of-the-art kit hosted by the other partners of the Henry Royce Institute, visit royce.ac.uk/equipment-and-facilities.

Materials discovery and prototyping

Through computational material design, high-throughput materials discovery, rapid scale-up and material property screening, we aim to develop stronger, lighter alloys for applications ranging from aerospace to automotive. Our capabilities will support the innovation of processes to efficiently and effectively fabricate and test materials, while capturing essential information to pass on to manufacturers to enable rapid deployment.

Materials discovery and prototyping

Powder production

With Near Net Shape (NNS) Manufacturing being increasingly used by key industries such as aerospace, automotive and biomedical, metal powder production is a vital capability at the Henry Royce Institute in Sheffield. Our aim is to develop novel, bespoke alloys in small powder batches, which can be trialled and evaluated in the various NNS technologies in order to achieve the optimum materials for each process. Our specialist equipment covers gas atomisation, attrition milling and spheroidisation.

Powder production

Manufacturing advanced materials

Our capabilities aim to support the introduction of new, resource efficient, sustainable and lightweight materials and processes for modern manufacturing technologies. We can provide access to world-leading systems that are capable of consolidating metal powders to large scale, fully dense products. These include our hot isostatic press and spark plasma sintering systems, which can significantly improve the properties of materials by closing the porosity.

Manufacturing advanced materials

Near Net Shape (NNS) manufacturing technologies

NNS manufacturing technologies, which include additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing, are increasingly being used by key industries like aerospace, automotive and biomedical to produce and modify complex parts and components to the point where they are close to the finished size and shape. These technologies have the potential to disruptively displace existing technologies with the benefits of increasing productivity while reducing material waste.

Near Net Shape (NNS) manufacturing technologies

Characterisation and testing

As an integral part of research and development, our characterisation and testing capabilities span all of the other functions at the Henry Royce Institute in Sheffield. The techniques we have available play a vital role in our iterative approach to the design, make, refine process. We have a broad range of equipment, which helps us to evaluate and analyse the structure of materials and extract important data from each stage in the powder metallurgy process to help us identify the optimum material properties and processes for each supply chain.

Characterisation and testing

Materials in the circular economy

For additive manufacturing to realise its full potential, high cost metal powders must undergo a step-change reduction in price, which will be achieved by recycling, down cycling and new primary metal production processes. Our aim is to devise new 'cradle to cradle' strategies to ensure that our advanced metal processes produce very low wastage and that we reuse waste products such as rejected powder and degraded materials wherever possible.

Materials in the circular economy

Top in the Russell Group

We are the top-ranked Russell Group university for Graduate Prospects in Materials Science and Engineering. (The Times Good University Guide 2020)

Flagship institutes

The University’s four flagship institutes bring together our key strengths to tackle global issues, turning interdisciplinary and translational research into real-world solutions.