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Materials & Manufacturing Research

(opens in a new window)I-Form is the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing. The Centre’s mission is to shape the future of manufacturing through high-impact research into the application of digital technologies to materials processing.

(opens in a new window)I-Form is funded under the SFI Centres programme, which has established a network of Centres, focusing on key research priorities for Ireland. By partnering with 7 academic institutions across Ireland, (opens in a new window)I-Form brings together a nationwide pool of expertise in materials science, engineering, data analytics and cognitive computing. I-Form’s research expertise involves a team of over 150 multi-disciplinary academics and researchers. The Centre is actively engaged across a range of different materials processing technologies, with a particular focus on Additive Manufacturing (3D printing).

(opens in a new window)I-Form works in close collaboration with industry to deliver a step-change in competitiveness for Irish manufacturing using customised digital tools. We partner with start-ups, SMEs, and large enterprises to advance the low-cost, low-risk design of new products and the manufacture of high-value components exhibiting enhanced material performance, while reducing processing times and achieving improved process reliability.


Engineers at UCD have recently been contracted by the European Space Agency to find new ways of controlling vibrations in spacecraft. Rockets obviously need to be as light as possible but with lightness comes flexibility and control is then an issue. This problem arises in many fields of engineering from computer disk drives to large cranes but is particularly acute in space with large structures and flexible appendages. This research is concerned with understanding and then offsetting the complex vibrations that occur in solid structures.

Steadying the spaceship

Find out more - (opens in a new window)here.

Read about related work on control of sloshing fuels - here

Contact – (opens in a new window)william.oconnor@ucd.ie

It’s possible to shield an experiment from vibration, electricity, dirt and noise but not from the effects of gravity. Not on earth, anyway. But why would you want to do this? Metal casting is one of the oldest technologies known to man but the solidification process is extremely difficult to model. Gravity exerts an influence on the convective heat flows within the molten metal so conducting a solidification experiment in its absence can be instructive. This is the rationale behind exciting research, in partnership with the European Space Agency,  to carry out experiments on free-falling sounding rockets which mimic the effects of zero-g.

Mechanical engineering in space

Find out more - (opens in a new window)here.

Contact – (opens in a new window)david.browne@ucd.ie

The fourth state of matter – as well as solid, liquid and gas – is plasma. Stars and lightening are well-known examples so you may not think that exposure to the skin would be a good idea. However plasma medicine is an innovative and emerging field which uses cold atmospheric plasma for therapeutic applications in areas such as skin disease and wound healing. UCD has carried out extensive studies in this area and gained a greater understanding of the mode of action of the plasma.

Find out more - here

Read about related research carried out by the Surface Engineering Group - here.

Contact – (opens in a new window)denis.dowling@ucd.ie

Gamma-ray space telescopes ‘see’ by directing gamma rays on to a ‘scintillator’ that converts a portion of their energy into visible light which can then be captured using a conventional photo-detector. This work has developed and tested glass-ceramic scintillators which offer many advantages – not least cost – than the tradition rare earth halide scintillators. Applications include study of the surfaces of different planets in space telemetry and medical imaging scanners and oil exploration here on earth.


Find out more - (opens in a new window)here.

Read about other ESA missions in the broader programme - (opens in a new window)here.

Contact – (opens in a new window)kenneth.stanton@ucd.ie 

In court, the questions is often put, ‘What force was involved in producing this stab wound?’ This is critical in determining how much intent there was. To help answer the question, State Pathologist Marie Cassidy collaborated with engineers in UCD to try to put a number on the force required to produce a particular wound with a particular weapon. To do this, tests were carried out on a custom-built rig and a computer model of skin and soft tissue was developed.

The Mechanics of Stabbing

Find out more - (opens in a new window)here.

Read about related work on sports helmet design - (opens in a new window)here.

Contact – (opens in a new window)aisling.niannaidh@ucd.ie

In the modern business world, global is the new local. Goods and services are exchanged, in real-time, across continents. This creates complex supply-chains necessitating sophisticated understanding. The UCD-IBM Integrated Supply Chain Consortium analyses applications as diverse as workforce planning for disaster resilience and border security, and helping dairy industry partners to design cost-competitive supply chains in the post-EU milk quota era.

Find out more - (opens in a new window)here.

Read about related work on workforce planning - (opens in a new window)here.

Contact – (opens in a new window)vincent.hargaden@ucd.ie 

Adhesives are the best way to join composite materials, as bolt- and rivet-holes can break the reinforcing carbon /glass fibres and introduce cracks. One problem with high-performance adhesives is brittleness but recent work a the UCD Centre of Adhesives and Adhesion (CAA) has explored ways to introduce nano-sized particles to toughen adhesive joints. These nano-toughened adhesives could have tailored properties such as stiffness, toughness, durability and conductivity. Multi-scale computer simulation plays a fundamental role in this work.

 Adhesives, Nuts and bolts of the modern world

Read about related work advanced ceramics - (opens in a new window)here.

Contact - (opens in a new window)neal.murphy@ucd.ie

High Performance Cutting (HPC) is a seeks to minimize production times while maximizing product quality. The development of ultra-hard cutting tool materials such as CBN (Cubic Boron Nitride) and ceramics exhibiting excellent wear resistance, chemical stability and hardness at high temperatures have enabled much higher cutting speeds and dry machining. The aim of this project is to determine the optimum strategy for high performance cutting of grey cast iron, which both reduced operating costs and improved the working environment.

A Cleaner Cut

Find out more - here

Read about new challenges in manufacturing engineering - here

Contact – (opens in a new window)eamonn.ahearne@ucd.ie

UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering

UCD Engineering & Materials Science Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 1884 | E: mme@ucd.ie | Location Map(opens in a new window)