Posted: 24 November 2021
Dr Ben Spencer is the Experimental Officer (specialist in surface science) in the School of Materials at the University of Manchester. The department is the largest materials science teaching and research department in Europe, ranked no. 1 for research power in materials science in the UK. They are famous for the discovery of the “supermaterial” graphene.
Advanced materials is one of the University of Manchester’s research beacons which are examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships that are tackling some of the biggest questions facing the planet.
ATC have worked with The University of Manchester supplying over 20 chillers to various departments. This includes the Corrosion and Protection Centre, which is one of the oldest research centres in Europe dealing exclusively with corrosive science and engineering. Following the recommendation of a colleague with previous experience of ATC chillers, the School of Materials purchased a K1 recirculating chiller to replace an existing unit. The crucial reason the School of Materials chose to work with ATC was due to our reputation and proven performance on other facilities such as X-ray diffraction.
ATC pride ourselves on understanding and reacting to our customer’s needs, providing a fast service and delivery with an appreciation of the importance of minimising any downtime. Ben says, “A key factor in the decision to work with ATC was consideration of the downtime of the spectrometer, so the fast lead time available from ATC was important.”
ATC build a range of units to hold in stock, which means we are often able to provide a chiller on a next day delivery. When we don’t have a specific chiller in stock, depending on the specification we can sometimes offer a loan unit to get customers back up and running quickly.
The chiller is used for water cooling system on an x-ray photoelectron spectrometer, where cooling water is required to maintain a constant temperature for X-ray anodes, vacuum pumps at an ambient temperature of 20⁰C. This is vital for the effective function of the instrument enabling it to give accurate readings and to prevent damage by overheating.
The school have some advanced spectrometers such as X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) which, while aged now, are still functioning at near-optimal conditions. However, a variety of supporting equipment (such as power supplies, water chillers) require replacement. Using an ATC chiller enabled the school to continue operating their valuable spectrometer and a vital part of their resources. Hopefully, this will prolong its life for at least another 10-15 years.
In the XPS facility, they typically measure over 2500 samples annually for researchers across the whole faculty of Science and Engineering, from disciplines including materials science, chemistry, physics, earth science, mechanical engineering, and many others. This equipment is an invaluable resource across the entire department.
The school has numerous prestigious plans in development, including involvement in the establishment of the Sir Henry Royce Institute for advanced materials research, and the establishment of a new Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD). Find out more about the School of Materials at Manchester University and ATC K1 chillers.