GKN Aerospace establishes RAEng research chair to progress AM

Professor Iain Todd, in the Mercury Centre, with a 3D lattice structure.
Professor Iain Todd, in the Mercury Centre, with a 3D lattice structure.

GKN Aerospace  is about to sponsor a five year Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) research chair to focus on developing additive manufacture for aerospace and other high value industrial sectors at the University of Sheffield.

The chair aims to assist in the industrialisation of the current state-of-the-art technology as GKN moves towards production; to develop required technology to enable the integration of materials and processes, extending the application of AM in the short term; and to create entirely innovative processes and materials that will carry industry well beyond what is currently possible.

Russ Dunn, Senior Vice President Engineering & Technology says, “AM technologies promise a paradigm shift in engineering design and materials. We will be able to create previously impossible or totally uneconomical shapes, with little or no material wastage, and in the longer term we will be able to develop completely new materials and structures fully optimised for the role they perform. This new chair will build on GKN’s existing developments in additive manufacture and will sit at the heart of work to ensure UK industry continues to be a pioneering force in this global revolution in engineering.”

Professor Iain Todd, who has led AM research at the University of Sheffield since its start in 2006, has been nominated for the Chair and he has been a driving force in the growth of AM research facility, The Mercury Centre. The current university AM research portfolio includes work on the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) supported, £15M Horizon Programme, led by GKN Aerospace, in addition to collaborative research with organisations like the Culham Centre for Fusion Engineering and CERN.

GKN Aerospace, the University of Sheffield and the Royal Academy of Engineering will make a combined investment worth £1M to support the chair over the five years, with the GKN Aerospace investment including funding for an additional 10 PhD students to support Professor Todd and the team of over 20 senior research staff already operating at the university.

GKN Aerospace has already been a partner with the University of Sheffield through the Horizon AM programme, along with Renishaw and Delcam. GKN Aerospace also supports PhD and EngD programmes at the university and provides student placements.

GKN Aerospace is also the industrial sponsor of a five year RAE Chair based at the University of Bath and focused on advancing the manufacture of aerospace composites.