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Professor Iain Todd, Director of the Mercury Centre, has been appointed The University of Sheffield and GKN Aerospace Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) research chair in additive manufacturing.

Supported by GKN Aerospace, the University and the Royal Academy of Engineering, for the next five years Prof Todd will focus on harnessing and developing the extraordinary potential of additive manufacturing (AM) for aerospace and other high value industrial sectors.

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

Russ Dunn, Senior Vice President Engineering & Technology, explains: “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 optimized for the role they perform.  This new chair will build on GKN’s existing developments in additive manufacturing 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 says “I’m delighted and honored to be appointed to this prestigious role and look forward to working with GKN Aerospace and the Royal Academy of Engineering in promoting, researching and helping to drive this hugely exciting and disruptive manufacturing technology forwards. This is a very exciting time for advanced manufacturing and materials research in the UK. My role will be to strengthen the link between industry and academia in these fields and to transfer the engineering and scientific breakthroughs at the University level to industrial practice helping to drive productivity and competitiveness.

Professor Ric Parker CBE FREng, Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering Research and Secondments Committee, says: “We are delighted to support this Chair as part of the University of Sheffield’s ongoing and productive collaboration with GKN. Additive manufacturing is an important area for research and development, which has enormous potential to improve industrial processes and UK productivity in the future.”

Professor Todd is recognized as a leading academic researcher in the fields of novel processing and alloys. He has led research into additive manufacturing at the University of Sheffield since its commencement in 2006 and has been a driving force in the growth of the world-leading manufacturing research facility, The Mercury Centre. The current University of Sheffield AM research portfolio includes work on the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) supported, £15M Horizon Programme, led by GKN Aerospace, as well as collaborative research with organizations such as the Culham Centre for Fusion Engineering and CERN.

The University, GKN Aerospace 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.

The University has an established relationship with GKN Aerospace, most recently through the Horizon AM programme. They also support PhD and EngD programmes and provide undergraduate student placements.

For more information, visit: www.sheffield.ac.uk/materials/staff/itodd

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