Advanced Materials Characterisation and Simulation Hub logo with University of Birmingham and European Regional Development Fund logoThe AMCASH project is an ERDF part-funded initiative established to support small-to-medium businesses (SMEs) across 2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas, Black Country and Coventry and Warwickshire.

The AMCASH project, which is a part-funded ERDF programme, is co-ordinated through the School of Metallurgy & Materials at the University of Birmingham. The project offers regional SME organisations technical assistance of typically a 2-day duration, within materials science related projects.

The initial AMCASH project ran from January 2017 until December 2019, however the project successfully met its business engagement targets, thus the team have successfully extended the AMCASH funding with the ERDF and the MHCLG bodies for a further three years, and will now run until December 2022.

The AMCASH project specifically covers the following technical areas:


Project Offering to SMEs

We are able to offer a minimum of two days work for qualifying SMEs. In order to qualify, the SME must be based within one of the four target LEP areas, and meet the financial definitions of an SME organsisation, namely having less than 250 employees, and less than €50M turnover.
AMCASH offers a wide range of support to SMEs, including:

  1. Access to research and development facilities at the University
  2. Analytical services
  3. Contract research
  4. Consultancy
  5. Collaborative projects

Equipment Available

In order to best address and support the needs and project requirements of the regional SMEs, the project has access to a number of useful equipment for use on AMCASH assist projects, in the following key themed areas:

Microscopy & Characterisation:

  • Numerous Jeol and FEI Scanning Electron Miscroscopes (SEM)
  • Numerous FEI and Jeol Transmission Electron Microscopes (TEM)
  • Dimension 3100 Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)
  • UES Robomet3D tomography
  • Nikon H225 X-ray tomography (XRT / CT)
  • FEI Quanta 3D FEG Focused Ion Beam (FIB) SEM
  • FEI Talos 200X Scanning / Transmission microscope (S/T EM)
  • Bruker S2 Ranger X-ray Flourescence (XRF)

Polymer Science:

  • Hot Press
  • Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) - Mettler DSC1 and FLASH DSC fast scanning chip-calorimeter
  • Laser FLASH - Netzsch 427 Laser Flash Apparatus
  • Infra-red spectroscopy (FTIR) – ThermoNicolet 8700
  • Hot-stage microscopy – polarised optical microscope with a Linkam hot-stage.
  • Dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA) - Polymer Labs/ Netzsch DMTA.
  • Dielectric thermal analysis – Polymer labs DETA and Solartron impedance analyser.
  • Thermal mechanical analysers (TMA) – dilatometer.
  • Rheology – Malvern Kinexus Pro Rheometer, TA Instruments Ares Rheometer.
  • Mechanical Testing – Instron 5566.
  • Thermal Gravimetric Analysis (TGA).

Computational Modelling:

  • Numerous academic-licenced CFD and FE commercial software packages.
  • The University of Birmingham super-computer, BlueBEAR
  • Data-storage backed-up network drives
  • Micro-epsilon TIM160 Thermal Imaging camera
  • Photron Fastcam Mini UX100 High Speed camera
  • Thermocouple data-logger
  • Micro-Epsilon optoNCDT laser triangulation sensors
  • Infra-red Thermometer


The AMCASH team consists of 8 full-time Research Fellows, a project manager and two staff responsible for business engagement activities, working for the technical-lead academic staff. The research staff have different areas of expertise covering the three technology areas of the AMCASH project. 

Project Management & SME Business Engagement:
Mrs LiPing Byron-Liu
Mr Omar Bellfield

Microscopy and Materials Characterisation:
Dr Minshi Wang
Dr Subash Rai
Dr Gnanavel Thirunavukkarasu
Dr Xinyu Lu

Polymer Science:
Dr Catherine Kelly
Dr Kate Robbins

Computational Modelling:
Dr Richard Turner

Ceramic Engineering: 

Upcoming AMCASH Events

Microstructure and Mechanical Property Characterisation Workshop

April 10th 2019

School of Metallurgy & Materials, University of Birmingham

 Microstructure plays an important role in determining the performance of material components. Quality control often relies on proper microstructure control which is then defined by the right selection of materials and manufacturing processing conditions (such as alloy composition; condition/procedure for casting conditions, roll/extrusion/forging and heat-treatment). The mechanical properties (strength, hardness, ductility, creep resistance and fatigue resistance) are key criteria of quality control.

As such, the University of Birmingham is running an ERDF-funded Microstructure and Mechanical Property Characterisation Workshop for SME businesses, to demonstrate the methods and best practice that can be used to evaluate the microstructure and mechanical properties of various components. Over the duration of the workshop, you can meet and discuss with experts and also get hands-on practical experience of the following activities:

  • Using of Optical Metallography of Metals and Alloys including Steels
  • Using of Electron Microscopy for Microstructural and Chemical Analysis
  • Using of X-ray diffraction/Raman/FTIR/Laser Confocal Techniques
  • Using of various Surface Engineering Characterisation Techniques
  • Comprehensive Mechanical Property Characterisation including Tension, Compression, Fatigue, Creep, Hardness Tests


Contact Us:

To contact the business engagement team for the AMCASH project:

Telephone: +44 (0)121 4143436


Further information on the AMCASH project can be found on our external website.

 Advanced Materials Characterisation and Simulation Hub logo with University of Birmingham and European Regional Development Fund logo