Fundamentals # 1985 York
The Polymer Engineering Directorate of SERC has piayed a major part in sponsoring research and development of plastics pressure pipe systems over the past eight years. Since its inception PED has been involved with both thermoplastic and GRP pipe programmes and to date has invested approx. £2 million of Government finance in Research and Development.
The programmes sponsored have covered processing, properties and acesign aspects and have ail been collaborative ventures with academic groups and industrial partners.
During the early years of the 19/0's 1t was recognised that the expansion of the use of polymers in many different engineering application warranted the development of a new discipline of Polymer Engineering. At that time there was very little co-ordinated activity between research groups in academy and industry and for the most part, University research was heavily concentrated on thermoplastics processing activities in the Fluid -Mechanics/Heat Transfer Sections of Engineering Departments and on Polymer Physics studies - largely in loose co-operation with major resin suppliers.
Funding tor these research activities was made to the Universities via the Science Research Council and there was no requirement for research groups to be engaged in other than 'blue sky' activities.
In arrajor attempt to change not only the direction of research activities but also the attitudes of both academics and industrialists towards joint-venture research programmes, the SRC set up the Polymer Engineering Directorate (PED) to co-ordinate SRC funding of research and education in Polymer Engineering.
The inttlal concept was to form an "Invisible University" made up of a widespread group of academics in both Engineering and Polymer Physics/Technology Departments of different Universities and Polytechnics. The generation and co-ordination of this community is a primary function of PED, who also provide the direct link with Industry to ensure that the activities which are sponsored are of more immediate, direct relevance, than the general polymer research projects funded by conventional SERC Committees.