Academic consultant from Newcastle University makes material difference to science services firm

Offshore oil and gas platforms must meet high safety standards. Hydrocarbon fires are intense and it is important to understand how all construction materials will behave.

MMI Engineering, a technical consultancy working with BP, approached Newcastle University for expertise on the fire behaviour of fibreglass gratings, which are widely used on such platforms.

The University’s Enterprise team put them in touch with Professor Geoff Gibson, a leading authority on composite materials. His consultancy and testing work was part-funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund, giving MMI a discount to ensure the study was affordable.

The academic perspective gave both MMI and BP a better understanding of the fire behaviour of composite gratings, which an industry perspective alone would not have provided. The work also resulted in the publication of revised guidance by the UK Health and Safety Executive. The publication of the results in an academic journal also meant that wider industry benefitted, enabling the development of new, safer products.

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