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Bangor University

Bangor University
Bangor University
Students: 9,700 Staff: 2,000 Contact for R&D Engagement: Bryn Jones bryn.jones@bangor.ac.uk

Research Strengths:
– Nuclear
– Earth observation (marine focus)

Location: School of Computing & Engineering, Dean Street, Bangor

Space Research Areas:
– Nuclear
– Materials
– Propulsion

Point of Contact:
Dr Simon Middleburgh


30 staff across the institute, circa 4 directly involved in space research

Facilities & Equipment:
Fabrication lab facilities:
– Rigs for molten lead, vacuum furnace (2400K), glove box, fume hood, ball mill
– Vertical furnace with robotic arm (for scintillating glass)
– Arc welder, STA (for thermal analysis) and DSE (measuring differential heat flow)
– Stores of nuclear materials
– Viscometer & zeta potential measure (for surface charge)
– Spray drier and downflow booth (repurposed technology from industry)
– Mechanical tester (measures sample stress & strain at high temperatures)

Grinding and Polishing room:
– Mechanical diamond cutter
– Scanning electron microscope (frequently used by collaborators)
– Raman microscope – for 3D profiling

‘Bangor University fuel fabrication facility’
– Pellet press (from pharmaceutical industry, gives active feedback on material properties)
– Gravity driven diamond saw
– 2x glove boxes with safes for radioactive material
– Liquid form particle sizer & scattering profile laser
– Alpha & Beta radiation meter (safety device for nuclear materials)
– Pycnometer (measures volume/density of material)
– XRF machine (x-ray emission spectroscopy)
– Custom bench setup for annealing & testing:
» Dilatometer, sub-micron accuracy (measure changes in shape/size)
» Setup for different atmospheres (air/hydrogen/steam/inert)
» Mass spectrometer
» Afterburner (for hydrogen experiments)
– Remote camera setup for livestreaming full whole manufacturing process in lab

Collaboration History:
Industry engagement with Rolls Royce, UKSA, National Nuclear Laboratory. Academic collaborations with Imperial and Bristol through the Centre for Doctoral Training in Nuclear Energy Futures and historic links with Aberystwyth through CAFMaD. Cutting-edge equipment is used by a range of research groups within Bangor, including environmental sciences.

Summary of Unique Capabilities:
Funding through the Welsh Government Sêr Cymru program to develop a world-class nuclear research institute. The group is investigating innovative processes for making fuel, utilising technologies developed for the food and manufacturing industries. Also conducting research into the use of nuclear heating in space, the effects of space radiation exposure, and small reactors for planetary surfaces.

Centre for Applied Marine Sciences

The Centre for Applied Marine Sciences sits within the School of Ocean Sciences, a major area of research strength within the university and one of the largest marine science centres in Europe. This Centre links academic research with real world applications in areas
such as oceanography, marine biology, and geoscience. Its research may use downstream applications of space technology, for example, using satellites to improve modelling of ocean currents and environmental processes.


Photonics and Communications Research Group

The Photonics and Communications Research Group is a world leader in research into optical communications and digital signal processing for telecommunications. Close collaboration with universities in Germany, US, Vietnam and China happens across several key photonic research areas. There is significant potential for involvement in the upstream space research area of Optics and photonics as well as in Satellite communications.


Energy, Environment and Bio-sensing Research Group

The Energy, Environment and Bio-sensing Research Group focuses on the development of low carbon energy sources and environmental sensing. Research into solar power through the Sparc II consortium could be utilised for space purposes, while ground-based environmental sensing could be complemented by equivalent space-based measurements.


Nuclear Futures Institute

The Nuclear Futures Institute hosts several relevant research groups. The Materials for Nuclear and Extreme Environments Group is involved in researching the use of alpha radiation for power generation in high temperature, high radiation environments, including space. The Nuclear Instrumentation and Control Engineering Group and Reactor Design and Thermal Hydraulics Research Group are less directly involved in space research but could contribute significantly towards space-based reactor technology as this area of research matures. The Regulation and Policy Research Group houses expertise in nuclear safeguards and licensing and has the potential to contribute to the future regulation of nuclear for space.


Visualisation, Data, Modelling and Graphics Research Group

The Visualisation, Data, Modelling and Graphics Research Group uses data visualisation tools for a variety of purposes, including cultural heritage, linguistics, and environmental resource management. Tools include virtual and augmented reality environments, image modelling and learning analytics. These tools have the potential for use in education and public engagement around space research, or in auxiliary space services, like training and design visualisations prior to spaceflight.


Nuclear Futures Institute
Bangor University Fuel Fabrication Facility (dilatometer, mass spectrometer, and afterburner), Nuclear Futures Institute, Dean Street Site

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Supporting Organisations

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The RAD capabilities and facilities relating to the space sector in Wales


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