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An introduction to the NPL’s Advanced Materials Metrology Strategy


The UK’s National Advanced Materials Metrology Strategy was developed following an in-depth review of UK and international strategies for advanced materials and metrology.

Advanced materials are an important enabling technology, which underpin many of our critical technologies and these materials show significant improvement in properties or performance compared to conventional materials.

To be able to develop new technologies which incorporate advanced materials with confidence, we need to be able to measure the properties of the materials with greater accuracy and precision, enabling the design of materials that have never been possible before. Materials metrology is key to achieving this.

The strategy identifies how critical drivers of change, including the energy and the digital transitions, require innovation in measurement capability and a new approach to delivering the UK materials metrology infrastructure.

Two major trends are also highlighted in the strategy, the first is measurement at frontiers which include measurements at multiple scales, harsh environments, real world applications and complex environments. The second trend is smart and interconnected, this includes hybrid metrology, materials informatics, digital/virtual testing alongside self-sensing – self calibrating.

The strategy therefore includes key recommendations to enable UK competitiveness and economic growth in this sector. NPL’s recommendations include establishing:

  • A national centre for materials verification and assurance, bringing together materials metrology, materials science and industry expertise.

  • A nationwide materials database to empower innovation through materials informatics and the digitally driven design-make-test-use cycle.

  • A strategy and funding framework to maintain UK leadership.

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