University of Birmingham High Temperature Research Centre

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Case Study Details


Client’s Requirements 

The University of Birmingham commissioned the construction of new high tech ultra-clean research facility at their central campus, funded by Rolls Royce, to advance chemical and materials research into single crystal casting for large civil aero engines. The new facility is recognised as being one of the most advanced research centres in the world.

The centre includes a new ISO class 7 clean room, materials and wet chemistry laboratories, variable environment casting room, corrosive chemical and high temperature leaching room, low vibration measurement room and X-ray & microscopic surface inspection rooms.


Silcock Leedham’s Contribution

The facility needed varying environmental conditions for each of the specific & specialist spaces, each demanding an exact internal environment with very different internal criteria.  This required a multi-chamber approach to the design of the mechanical and electrical engineering services, so that the required close control requirements could be achieved.  There was also a high demand for medical grade compressed air and argon to create inert micro-climate conditions.

The ability to vary the internal conditions in the wax and shell research areas were onerous in environmental terms, as there was a high level of ceramic drying which resulted in variable evaporation levels and environmental moisture removal.  Silcock Leedham re-developed an integrated variable set-point drying facility in the air conditioning system that could be utilised in commercial & production applications.


Added Value / Unique Selling Points

Silcock Leedham acted as mechanical and electrical engineers working closely with the installing contractor and specialist suppliers, to meet the research requirements for international aviation & international materials & chemical research including ventilation, specialist LEV, medical grade compressed air, effluent treatment and disposal, chemical delivery, process gas systems, laboratory & containment systems, HV and LV distribution and high capacity data networks.

As with all our projects, we developed a BIM using REVIT to produce fully coordinated 3D drawings with embedded intelligence, incorporating all 3rd Party specialist systems such that all ‘handshake’ points between the specialist factory systems and the buildings mechanical and electrical systems could be identified and coordinated. The Silcock Leedham BIM and handshake points manual was utilised by all suppliers and specialists as the master coordination and control point and was undated with new information such that at the end of the project the Building Information Model (BIM) could be used for Facilities Management.