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Wrexham Glyndŵr University

Wrexham Glyndwr University

Students: 7,500
Staff: 500

Contact for R&D Engagement:
Emma Taylor

Research Strengths:
– Optics and photonics
– Space observation
– Computational modelling

Location: Split between Hawarden Airport and
Plas Coch Campus, Wrexham

Space Research Areas:
– Materials

Point of Contact:
Dr Martyn Jones

3 research staff, plus lab technicians

Facilities & Equipment:

Wrexham Campus: (mainly teaching rather than research)
– Wind tunnels (super & sub sonic)
– Flight simulator
– Fourier transform in IR (FTIR) device
– Impact test machine
– 3D-priting facility
– High performance computer (based at OpTIC)

ACTDC: (quarter of facility is Wrexham Glyndŵr, rest is Airbus)
– Vacuum former
– Vacuum oven (for composite curing process)
– Microwave curing setup
– Waterjet cutter
– Microwave digestor (for fibre testing/resin chemistry analysis)
– Tensile strength tester (-100 to 300C, up to 50kN)
– Dynamic mechanical analyser (for measuring deflection)
– Thermochemical analyser (for measuring thermal expansion)
– Microwave resin tester
– Small-scale NDT equipment
– 3D printers
– Composite compression device

Collaboration History:
Work has included the FASTFAN project, which is exploring electric propulsion and pseudo- satellites. Academic collaborations with UCL on the design of composite mirrors and Lethbridge University in Canada. The group has previously worked on the EU’s Horizon Framework 7.

Summary of Unique Capabilities:
The ACTDC was launched in 2010 as a partnership between Wrexham Glyndŵr University, Airbus, Coleg Cambria, and the Welsh Government in order to advance cooperation between academia and industry in North Wales. Research led by the centre is targeted at developing faster manufacturing and processing techniques for composite materials, which will help to meet future demand for aircraft and composites in general. Research includes the use of composites for UAVs and pseudo-satellites, electric propulsion, 3D printing, low-temperature testing and heat exchange systems (which has potential application for satellites).

Location: The OpTIC Technology Centre, St Asaph

Space Research Areas:
– Space observation
– Optics and photonics

Point of Contact:
Professor Paul Rees
Lizzie Embleton


Circa 13 staff

Facilities & Equipment:

Optical fabrication:
– CNC vertical machining centre
– Range of polishing heads and bespoke tools
– 7 axis CNC polishing machine (up to 2 metre optics with ~nm accuracy) – 5-axis CNC for milling and lathing

Metrology capabilities:
– Contact metrology including Ion Laser Tracker, Precision Digital Spherometer, long
range contact profilometers, and Atomic Force Microscope
– 3x Twyman Green Interferometers
– Optical Surface profilometer
– Dynamic surface roughness profiler
– Bespoke NOM optical profilometer
– 10m optical test tower
– Isolated optical benches

Environmental testing and coating facilities:
– Vacuum coating chamber (for the development of thin-film coatings)
– Spectrophotometer (measurable wavelength range 175-3300nm)
– Environmental chamber (-70 to 150C, up to 98% humidity)

Collaboration History:
The group has completed several prestigious projects for various scientific and advanced technology organisations including the plano-convex entrance window for the JPCAM, the large cryogenic camera, for the J-PAS (Javalambre Physics of the Accelerating Universe Astrophysical Survey) Telescope. It was also involved in the design and manufacture of pre-focal optics for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) in Chile.

Summary of Unique Capabilities:
The Precision Optical Systems Group sits within Glyndwr Innovations Ltd – which is in turn a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wrexham Glyndŵr University. The polishing facilities housed there for large optical components (up to 1.8m) are unique within the UK. The group has specialist expertise in the design, production, metrology, and testing of precision optical systems. The activity is supported by engineering and metrology teams working in a dedicated manufacturing area and labs.

Computational Mechanics, Manufacturing, Simulation, Design and Optimisation Group (CoMManDO)

The CoMManDO group’s research themes include fluid-structure interaction, fatigue and fracture mechanics, system dynamics, algorithm development, computational intelligence, and optimisation. The group engages with research partners at Monash University, University of Ulster, Moscow Bauman State Technical University, TU Dresden and Samara University. Previous publications have performed analysis of optical systems for IR space interferometers.


Centre for Photonics Expertise (CPE)

CPE is a cross-university collaborative initiative directed by Wrexham Glyndŵr University (WGU). It coordinates the application of photonics R&D capabilities from WGU, Aberystwyth University, Bangor University, and the University of South Wales to industrial challenges of businesses in the West, North Wales and the Valleys regions. The centre facilitates collaborative research projects into the application of light-based technologies
to business challenges and the introduction of new processes, products and services. This could potentially include space-related challenges. CPE was funded via WEFO until the end of 2022 and is pursuing its next stage funding.


Analytical Decision Making Research Group

The group spans a wide range of computational engineering topics, including business strategies, finance and economics, and theoretical and computational methods. It uses data modelling to develop efficient processes – for example in the manufacture of composite products (COMP-LIFE Innovate UK study). The ability to track performance diagnostics, procurement processes, and sustainable decision making could be a very valuable tool for the future of the space sector.


Optical fabrication setup, Precision Optical Systems Group, The OpTIC Technology Centre
Optical fabrication setup, Precision Optical Systems Group, The OpTIC Technology Centre

Image credit: Lizzie Embleton, Glyndŵr Innovations Ltd

Strengthening the space sector in Wales

Space Research Areas

Welsh universities cover virtually the full range of space research areas

Supporting Organisations

Nine organisations that support space-related research in Wales


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


Contact information for the Universities in Wales with Space sector capabilities