Science and engineering


Ref: 2624 - Dielectrophoretic liquid zipping actuators

A novel actuator technology that provides for high speed and high efficiency actuation, with potential applications across traditional and soft robotic applications.

The actuator comprises a dielectrophoretic liquid zipping actuator with a high permittivity insulating layer, conductor layers and a liquid dielectric (e.g. silicone, mineral or even vegetable oil) applied as a bead at the zipping locus. This actuation technology can be applied in a wide range of morphologies for operation in linear and torsional applications.

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Ref: 1909 - High Performance Discontinuous Fibre (HiPerDif) Technology

This invention relates to producing high performance discontinuous fibre composite materials. The technology processes and aligns virgin or reclaimed short length synthetic or natural fibres, which are then coupled with a thermoplastic or thermosetting matrix. Mechanical properties of the resulting composite material are comparable with those of continuous fibre composites, and, as well as enabling sustainability, this technology provides the potential for optimising material design and performance.

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Ref: 1871 - Multi-robot cooperation

A robot assembly where multiple robots can physically join together to perform a single operation

The invention, which originates from the National Composites Centre via HVM Catapult funding, relates to a new level of robot cooperation enabling tasks to be conducted to a higher level of precision. In particular, multiple robots can physically connect to the same end-effector in a non-conflicting manner to perform a single operation, e.g. drilling. The enhanced precision is derived from the improved stability of the connected robot assembly, which reduces the cantilever and play inherent in a robot working on its own

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Ref: 1537 - Morphing air scoop

A novel deployable bistable morphing structure

The morphing air scoop essentially consists of three main components: A deployable structure that deflects the airflow into the aircraft, a tube-like component to manage the airflow inside the aircraft and a structure to integrate these two components into the aircraft skin. In its retracted state the air scoop must be as flush as possible with the external aircraft skin to minimise aerodynamic drag. The air scoop must be able to maintain this flush geometry whilst being subject to aerodynamic loads. Once actuated the air scoop must move into its deployed shape and remain in this state without further actuation. The basic principle could be applied to any bistable actuator for a variety of applications on land, sea or air.

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Ref: 2332 - Composite Sensors

‌Composite sensors

This family of novel, strip-like sensors easily attach to different parts of a structure to provide a simple and reliable indication of when critical loading conditions have been reached or surpassed. The sensors can cover all or part of a structure for a range of conditions such as strain overload, fatigue and impact.

The strain sensor is fully black when initially manufactured, but exhibits striations when a predetermined load condition is reached in service. The fatigue sensor displays a bright band to indicate the number of load cycles experienced by the structure.

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Ref: 1656 - Low work function diamond surface

A method for producing a low work function surface on any material electrode that incorporates diamond.

The efficiency of a thermionic device can be improved by changing the structure of the cathode emitter. In doing this it is desirable to produce a surface with a lower work function and which can also operate at lower temperatures. The Bristol invention is a simple method of producing such as surface on materials that incorporate diamond or diamond-like particle layers or coatings. The method may be advantageously applied to the fabrication of many types of vacuum device employing electrodes to significantly improve the efficiency with which they produce a source of electrons.

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Ref: 1976 - New materials for targeted vaccine delivery

Researchers at Bristol have developed a toolkit of α-helical coiled coil peptide modules as building blocks for creating self-assembling biomimetic structures. The latest designed structures are hollow spheres (~100 nm in diameter) constructed from simple peptide modules, which when mixed form hexagonal lattices that close to form cages. The new structures (SAGEs) mimic those in natural en-capsulation systems, like virus capsids. The SAGEs offer the poten-tial for simple, reproducible presentation and/or encapsulation and release systems for controlled delivery of vaccines and drugs.

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Ref: 1529 - Real-time dosimetry system for real-time verification of modulated radiotherapy treatments

A team from the Universities of Bristol and Swansea together with University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust has developed a novel radiation detector device for determining the dose from Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) in real time. The detector is positioned upstream of the patient (between radiation source and patient) and is a very thin silicon detector camera system.

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