Substitution and Sustainability in Functional Materials and Devices (SUBST) 

A new initiative at Materials Science and Engineering, Sheffield funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/L017563/1).

Functional Materials and Devices (FMD) is a rapidly evolving subject which underpins many aspects of modern life such as antennas, energy storage devices, multicomponent sensors and smart materials. However, functional materials and devices rely heavily on raw materials, which have geopolitical, geological and environmental constraints.

The challenge is to accelerate the development of novel material substitutes and/or more efficient alternative processing routes to meet burgeoning industrial demand. This requires a multidisciplinary response to provide guidance for suitable alternative materials or processes.

Our vision is to utilise materials engineering, multiscale modelling, advanced manufacturing, supply chain/life cycle analysis and industrial partnerships to establish an holistic response to substitution and sustainability.

Please take a look the themes of our research:

Multi-scale modelling Lifecycle analysis Scale-up manufacturing Prototype devices Materials engineering

SoS RARE Project

The rare earth elements (REE) are vital to many modern technologies and are recognised as critical raw materials by the European Commission and other authorities, because of security of supply concerns.

The SoS RARE project aims to develop new REE deposits and new recovery methods that are environmentally friendly and economically viable. The Sheffield based team, Professor John Harding and Dr Colin Freeman, will be using computer simulations to model the REE bearing minerals and understand their formation and geology. With the information used to design and improve methods of extraction and separation of the REE elements.