Knowledge Centre for Materials Chemistry

The Knowledge Centre for Materials Chemistry (KCMC) coordinates, develops and exploits cutting-edge research in materials chemistry.

The KCMC does this by providing fast track industry access to research facilities knowledge and expertise in applied materials chemistry from STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire and the universities of Liverpool, Manchester and Bolton.

KCMC’s aim is to encourage innovative, multi-disciplinary research and drive industrial growth for UK industries that rely on materials chemistry. Key industry sectors notably include electronics, personal care products, catalysts, medical devices and pharmaceuticals, coatings, chemicals and advanced materials, construction, adhesives and wastewater treatment. KCMC acts as a national centre and a single point of access for its expertise.

Formulating and designing new products is at the heart of many businesses - be it novel fuel cell technology, polymers for coatings, advanced gas sensors or new semiconductor devices. This is why companies look to materials chemistry research for solutions.

The recent opening of the Hartree Centre, a new centre of expertise for High Performance Computing (HPC), based at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, provides access to techniques and capabilities which could revolutionise materials chemistry. By simulating new materials on supercomputers, researchers can analyse properties and composition without the need for long and involved experiments in a lab. New codes being produced specifically for materials chemistry look at providing in depth visualisations of compounds, saving time and money during the initial research phase.

Key facts

Materials chemistry covers a broad range of science and technology and is used in a number of important areas:

  • energy – such as for the low carbon economy, biofuels, enhanced oil recovery, photovoltaics and fuel cells
  • sustainability – such as renewable feedstock chemistry, sustainable materials and processing and CO2 incorporation into polymers
  • electronics and photonics – such as semiconductors, dielectrics, nanoparticulate metals, devices, sensors, actuators and spintronics
  • healthcare and biomedical materials – such as materials for medical devices and regenerative medicine, controlled and stimulated delivery of drugs, diagnostics, antimicrobial agents and biocides
  • formulated products – such as multi-component products, fire retardant agents and materials, mesoscale modelling and new solid forms
  • multi-functional materials – such as microporous materials, membranes, gas storage, novel catalyst/material combinations, nanoparticles and high performance computing for material design.

Working with KCMC gives companies

  • a single point of contact to four research institutions, ensuring a ‘best fit’ to company requirements
  • proactive help to develop and deliver industry projects
  • fast track projects via dedicated scientists in partner institutions
  • access to national networks, grants and support for collaborative R & D

Chemistry Innovation, the Knowledge Transfer Network for UK chemistry-using industries, hosts an independent knowledge transfer team. The team works to develop and manage the collaborative research projects and ensure that the Centre’s services are linked to what industries need.

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000