LONDON, UK – April 21, 2016 – Element Materials Technology’s collaboration with key research and development (R&D) stakeholders in the Automotive industry to test innovative, weight-efficient biomaterials has secured new funding.

Innovate UK, the UK government’s innovation agency, has awarded new funds to the research consortium comprising the University of East Anglia (UEA), NetComposites, Westfield Sportscars, and Element’s leading composite materials laboratory in Hitchin. The project will investigate the modification of cellulose fibers and plant oils to produce new materials which could replace carbon and glass fiber reinforced polymers. Sample external car parts will be created then tested to compare their characteristics with existing state-of-the-art materials. This work builds on the experience of Element Hitchin in European-funded R&D projects in biocomposites.

Element Hitchin will provide testing services including accelerated aging tests and measurement of key mechanical properties, as well as finite element analysis of the components. This testing will allow the consortium to compare performance of both new and existing materials, characterizing both mechanical performance and long-term durability.

John R. Nelson, Element’s Executive Vice President, Transportation and Industrials, comments: “Advances in biomaterials for use in vehicle manufacture could allow for radical reductions in weight thereby enhancing the fuel efficiency of vehicles. Regulatory bodies are making ever-increasing demands on OEMs in the Transportation sector, so the research is critical for the industry to find the necessary solutions in both the short- and long-term.

“The leading capabilities of Element Hitchin’s Engaged Experts in composite material and component testing have seen the location play a key role in the development of new technologies for applications in the Automotive industry.”

About Element: 

Element is a company with a global presence; its laboratories are staffed by experts specializing in materials testing, product qualification testing and failure analysis for the Aerospace, Oil & Gas and Transportation and Industrials sectors. Element’s team of over 1,800 scientists, engineers and technicians work in 53 laboratories located throughout the U.S. and Europe. For a complete list of Accreditations & Approvals and more information, please visit

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“Advances in biomaterials for use in vehicle manufacture could allow for radical reductions in weight thereby enhancing the fuel efficiency of vehicles.”

John R Nelson

evp, transportation & industrials