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PPRC is pleased to support the South Belfast Food Bank

PPRC is pleased to support the South Belfast Food Bank ( and recently made its first donation of food and other essential items collected by the PPRC Staff.  A partnership of several organisations, the South Belfast Food Bank, is working to fight poverty in our community with the vision that people of all backgrounds should be included and have the opportunity to live life to the full by developing, running and enabling communities to replicate sustainable projects that combat poverty and exclusion.

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Practical Hands-On Seminar in Injection Moulding

Dr Paul Hanna from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering’s Polymer Processing Research Centre (PPRC), along with colleagues Dr Bronagh Millar and Dr Paula Douglas, recently delivered a bespoke Practical Hands-On Seminar in Injection Moulding to award-winning local company Environmental Products and Services.  The delegates attending the training course were given the opportunity to put theory into practice by using an Arburg 50 tonne injection moulding machine.  Topics covered included:

  • analysing flow behaviour of plastics and their influence on injection moulding
  • setting up of mould and injection unit
  • setting process parameters and cycle optimisation
  • trouble-shooting and analysis of common faults
  • mechanical testing and material characterisation

Nick Loughrey, Engineering Manager at EPAS Ltd. commented that the course was “first class, informative; staff to be commended”. 

For further information please contact Dr Paul Hanna (

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PPRC Promotion of STEM Careers in the Polymer Industry

PPRC is pleased to have contributed to a recent supplement in the Belfast Telegraph promoting STEM careers.  For a copy of the publication please follow the link and see page 22 for PPRC article.

Please Click for the Article: Belfast Telegraph promoting STEM careers


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SERC & NIT Toyama visit to QUB

Professor Mark Price (centre) welcomes visitors from National Institute of Technology, Toyama and SERC to the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering.

Back row from left: Mr David Milford (SERC Lecturer and Japanese visit co-ordinator) Dr Bronagh Millar (PPRC Characterisation Manager), Dr Paul Hanna (PPRC Process Engineer), Mr Alan Clarke (PPRC Extrusion Manager) and Mrs Denise Price (PPRC Business Manager) with students visiting from Toyama, Maizuru and Toyota Colleges.

Building on the Polymer Processing Research Centre (PPRC) relationship with South Eastern Regional College (SERC) being developed through the DEL Funded ConnectEd Programme, the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering in Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) was pleased to host a guest lecture given by Professor Sotomi Ishihara, President of the National Institute of Technology, Toyama, Visiting Principal Lecturer in SERC and Professor Emeritus of Toyama University, on 9th September 2014.

The lecture was introduced by Dr Nicholas Dunne, Director of the Advanced Materials & Processing Research Cluster and Director of PPRC for which staff and researchers from QUB & SERC were joined by students of SERC on Mechanical Engineering HND and Foundation Degree to hear Professor Ishihara speak on the topic of “A Study on Fatigue Lifetime of the Forging Die.

Also in attendance were students from National Institutes of Technology, Toyama and Maizuru and Toyota Colleges in Japan on a study programme in learning and using English in a technical context with SERC.

The lecture concluded with a Questions and Answers session and vote of thanks given by Professor Mark Price, Head of School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, on behalf of QUB.

Later that same week, the Japanese students returned to QUB Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering for a tour of PPRC and demonstrations of the Centre’s extrusion and moulding equipment and material characterisation facilities led by Alan Clarke, Paul Hanna and Bronagh Millar respectively.


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PPRC signs MOU for research cooperation with AMBER

Dr Nicholas Dunne, Director of PPRC and Director of Advanced Materials and Processing Research Cluster & Professor Stefano Sanvito, Investigator Amber Centre Trinity College Dublin

The PPRC and AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland funded materials science centre based at Trinity College Dublin have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that outlines key terms for research cooperation.  

The MoU recognises that AMBER and PPRC have complementary expertise and capabilities in areas of research related to advanced materials such as processing of nanocomposites and characterisation of nanomaterials. 

The Memorandum will see both institutions working closely with industrial partners on collaborative research projects that exploit the materials development expertise in AMBER and the polymer processing expertise in PPRC. These research projects will focus largely on the development, modification and characterisation of polymer and composite materials, and will also establish ways to transfer these to industry. Applications can be found in broad fields of use but particularly for packaging films, medical device sectors, and composite materials for the automotive industry.

Furthermore, the partnership will enable AMBER and Queen’s University to benefit from funding opportunities in Ireland, Northern Ireland, UK and the EU. This will enable them to work together on innovative research projects from early stage fundamental research right through to prototyping and scale-up particularly for medical device, automotive and industrial applications.

Dr Ramesh Babu, Investigator with AMBER and Trinity College Dublin’s School of Physics who is a lead researcher in these fields, said: “The signing of the MoU is another step forward for AMBER in its goal to forge strong links with the best in academia and research. We look forward to working more closely with The Queen’s University of Belfast through conducting joint research projects as well as exchanging researchers and sharing expertise on advanced materials and processing.  The partnership aims to grow those collaborations and to take advantage of the excellent research that is being conducted in both institutions.”  “I am sure that the collaboration will lead to some exciting opportunities for both institutions and that industry will benefit from the pooling of our extensive knowledge and our high-tech research facilities.”

Dr Nicholas Dunne, Director of Polymer Processing Research Centre and Director of Advanced Materials and Processing Research Cluster at The Queen’s University of Belfast, said: “The PPRC has a world-renowned reputation for the high quality of their translational research capability in Polymer Processing. The signing of a memorandum of understanding between PPRC in Queen’s and AMBER of Trinity College Dublin creates an exciting platform to drive increased collaboration and commercialisation of our research base for the benefit of the local and national economies.”

 “This is a very significant partnership that will ensure that the quality of our research continues to be of the highest international standard. It will provide substantial opportunities to lever financial investment from major Irish and UK funding bodies and it will also allow us to share models for achieving timely technology transfer and commercialisation.”

 “By combining the strengths of both AMBER and the PPRC, it will bring about significant synergies that will ensure our collaborative leadership in Advanced Materials and Processing from research activities through to commercialisation.”


AMBER (Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research) is a Science Foundation Ireland funded centre which provides a partnership between leading researchers in material science and industry to develop new materials and devices for a range of sectors, particularly the ICT, medical devices and industrial technology sectors. The centre is hosted in Trinity College Dublin, working in collaboration with CRANN (Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices), the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering and with University College Cork and the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland.

To find out more about the Amber Centre at Trinity College Dublin, please click here:

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A Rotomoulding Revolution: Rotocooler®

For more than 30 years, Queen’s University, Belfast (QUB) has been internationally renowned for its innovative research into the rotational moulding of plastics. Most recently QUB has finalised a License Agreement with Maus GmbH, Germany for a ‘Rotocooler’ internal water spray cooling device. The Rotocooler® Device has been in development in various guises at QUB for more than 10 years and is a new technology developed and aimed specifically at speeding up the manufacturing times of rotationally moulded products such as water and oil storage tanks. For too long, critics of the rotational moulding process point to its long cycle times required to produce a plastic part, as opposed to other processes such as injection moulding or blow moulding. For too long, the rotational moulding process has suffered from long production times due to the long cooling times.

Click link for full details:

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Green Impact Silver Award for PPRC

PPRC is proud to have retained its Silver Award in the Green Impact Scheme,  the national environmental accreditation and award scheme run by the National Union of Students.

For further information on the Scheme, which supports departments in making tangible and powerful changes in behaviour and policy in terms of sustainability, please visit:

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May 2014 edition of the PPRC Newsletter

Welcome to this May 2014 edition of the PPRC Newsletter which provides information on support for Technology Transfer and some Projects in which the Centre is involved.

Click Here to Download A Copy.


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PPRC Visit to ISPA March 2014

PPRC Visit to ISPA

PPRC Process Engineers Dr Paul Hanna and Mr Mark Billham were invited by the Higher Institute of Plastics, Alencon (ISPA) in France to lecture on the current state of the art in Rotational Moulding and Multi-layer Extrusion respectively.  The lectures were attended by over fifty Polymer Engineering Bachelors/Masters degree students as well as ISPA staff.  Internationally leading research conducted at the PPRC, including its impact on wider society, was also showcased during the presentations.

Following tours of ISPAs facilities, discussions were held on current and potential areas for research collaboration, during which ISPA were keen to establish a joint PhD programme of study.

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Launch of Bio-PolyTec EU FP7 Research Project

Left to Right: Mr Joe Molloy (IPC Polymers), Mr Mark Billham (PPRC), Dr Marion McAfee (IT Sligo).

Joe Molloy, Technical Director with IPC polymers, Mark Billham, Research Fellow at the Polymer Precision Research Centre at Queen's University, Belfast and Dr Marion McAfee, of the Department of Mechanical and Electronic Engineering, IT Sligo, demonstrate an artificial knee joint at the launch the €1million Bio-PolyTec EU FP7 research project. The project aims to progress the commercial availability of bioresorbable and drug-eluting medical implants.

Researchers at Queen’s are collaborating on a €1 million EU funded project to pave the way for people to receive better and cheaper medical implants in a more timely manner.

The Queen’s team are based within the Polymer Processing Research Centre (PPRC) located in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The two-year initiative is funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (EU FP7) for Research and Technological Development. The project, termed ‘Bio-PolyTec’, targets greater use of bioresorbable polymer materials rather than metals in implants, thereby bringing important benefits for patients and manufacturers.

Professor Fraser Buchanan, who leads the Queen’s team, said: “Bioresorbable polymers are set to play a major role in the future development of implantable medical devices. They are becoming established in a number of key applications ranging from orthopaedic to cardiovascular. Bioresorbable polymers have key advantages over traditional metal implants. They naturally breakdown into non-toxic by-products and are gradually replaced by the patient’s own tissue, leading to improved patient recovery.”

The materials are seeing increasing application in treatment of trauma and sports injuries, including internal bone fixation devices (screws, plates and pins) and reattachment of ruptured ligaments (suture anchors). Furthermore an innovative new product called ‘RegJoint’ is now produced by project partner Scaffdex, for the treatment of osteo and rheumatoid arthritis in the small joints of the hand and foot. Bioresorbable polymers can also incorporate drugs and bioactive additives, which are slowly released as they degrade, broadening applications to pharmaceutical therapies.

Dr Nicholas Dunne, Director of Queen’s PPRC, says that one of main obstacle to wider use of bioresorbable implants for medical applications has been challenges in their manufacture. With the project consortium now having access to the world-class facilities available within the PPRC there is an opportunity for the Bio-PolyTec team to develop novel monitoring and control techniques which will speed up processing methods and significantly reduce scrap-rate of the costly material.

Mark Billham, PPRC Research Fellow on this project, has extensive industrial and collaborative research experience in many areas of polymer extrusion and polymer materials, and will be working in close cooperation with all industrial and academic project partners.

The project partners are from the UK, Finland, Germany and Ireland. They include academics at two universities, including Sligo Institute of Technology, who coordinate the project, and Tampere University, who originally founded the use of bioresorbable implants. Industrialists include biomaterial processors, device manufacturers and specialists in sensor technology.

The other partners in the initiative are:

  • IPC Polymers Ltd (Ireland), a manufacturer of polymer compounds for the medical industry
  • Scaffdex Oy (Finland), which makes bioresorbable tissue scaffolds for treatment of arthritic joints
  • Fos-Messtechnik GmbH (Germany), whichmanufacture sensors for the process industry, particularly optic sensors and related technologies
  • Plasma-Biotal Ltd (UK), who provide bio-active particles for orthopaedic implants.
  • Corbion Purac (Netherlands), a manufacturer of bioresorbable polymer

Media inquiries to QUB Communications Office. Tel: 028 9097 3091.

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Contact Information

Polymer Processing Research Centre
Queen's University Belfast
Ashby Building
Stranmillis Road
Belfast BT9 5AH

Tel: 028 90974700
Fax: 028 90660631

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