The Shell-Imperial Advanced Interfacial Materials Science (AIMS) Centre was launched in March 2016.
The Shell-Imperial Advanced Interfacial Materials Science (AIMS) Centre was launched in March 2016 with the aim of delivering new insights into materials behaviour and enabling optimal materials selection, design and enhanced predicative capabilities.
The Centre, based in the Department of Materials, focuses on the development of innovative solutions using state-of-the-art and in operando characterisation approaches to materials challenges in the engineering and energy industry.
The Centre focuses on five technical themes exploring research that links nanoscale processes to large-scale materials behaviour. The interdisciplinary research team, which includes six PhD students and three Post-Docs, has been exploiting developments in new ambient pressure systems for spectroscopy and microscopy, as well as central synchrotron facilities to develop new in-situ approaches to study complex systems over length and timescales relevant to industrial processes. The long-term goal of the Centre is to make industrial processes safer, more predictable and more efficient, ultimately resulting in better asset management and operational performance.
The Centre is led by Professor Mary Ryan and was established as a result of a synergistic, ongoing partnership between Shell’s Materials and Corrosion R&D team, led by Dr. Lene Hviid, and Imperial’s Department of Materials. Professor Ryan also currently holds the Shell/RAEng Chair in Interfacial Nanoscience for Engineering Systems.
“We are providing enhanced materials capabilities across the range of business units within Shell; both in their core and developing areas,” Professor Ryan commented. “The Centre is founded on the strong relationship between Imperial and Shell and a great advantage of our programme is the ability to work closely with our technical colleagues within Shell, exchanging knowledge and gaining real insights into operational materials challenges.”
The Price of Wear & Tear
The Centre represents a major step forward in corrosion minimisation for Shell, with the 2016 NACE International IMPACT report estimating the global cost of corrosion to be US$2.5 trillion. Corrosion has become a substantial obstacle in many industries, including energy, chemicals, nuclear and automotive with the cost equivalent to 3.4% of global GDP in 2013.
Dr Lene Hviid, General Manager Materials & Corrosion, Shell Global Solutions said, “Increasing our understanding of materials through the nanoscience approach will create a huge opportunity for developing materials with corrosion minimisation and a good performance predictability.
The design of sophisticated next-generation, anti-corrosion protocols and accurate lifetime predictions is exceptionally challenging and requires a dedicated multi-disciplinary approach
– Dr. Lene Hviid
General Manager Materials & Corrosion, Shell Global Solutions
“The design of sophisticated next-generation, anti-corrosion protocols and accurate lifetime predictions is exceptionally challenging and requires a dedicated multi-disciplinary approach to provide the holistic understanding which will ultimately lead to greatly enhanced engineering performance and real world impact. We have been delighted to welcome Professor Ryan and the research team into our technology centres around the globe to further the understanding of the technical challenges, to drive technical innovation and to support the development of transferable methodology in this critical area of research.”
The Centre forms one more facet to the longstanding Shell-Imperial relationship with ongoing work at the Sustainable Gas Institute, the fuels and lubricants University Technology Centre and the Qatar Carbonate and Carbon Storage Research Centre.