DMEx to develop advanced defence materials

New materials that can withstand extreme temperatures and blasts are to be developed by DMEx, a £42.5m research partnership set up by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

British army Challenger 2 FV4034 main battle tank
British army Challenger 2 FV4034 main battle tank - AdobeStock

Opening later in 2024, the Defence Materials Centre of Excellence (DMEx) will bring together UK experts to accelerate advances in defence material technology for extreme physical environments.

The DMEx will research, create, and prototype new materials for the armed forces that can survive in the harshest conditions including temperatures of 1,000°C, high impact vibrations, shock, and extreme water depth.

The Henry Royce Institute for advanced materials at Manchester University will lead the centre of excellence with 23 other partners from academia, industry, and research organisations including the Catapult Network.


In a statement, Dstl chief executive Dr Paul Hollinshead OBE MBA said: “Advanced materials are the building blocks of the future and an area of great international competition. We are putting the UK on path to maintain its strategic advantage by harnessing all the nation’s talents.

“This highly collaborative partnership between Dstl, academia and industry will create operational advantage for our armed forces, while supporting UK growth and prosperity.”


Dstl’s collaborative materials research includes reducing a 40-stage process to produce titanium down to two stages, which halved the cost of the process. Dstl is now working with Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land, Sheffield University, BAE Systems, MBDA, Transition International and the Advanced Forming Research Centre on creating more affordable titanium for defence with 30 to 40 per cent weight reduction while maintaining survivability.

Dstl and Centre of Excellence principal scientist Matthew Lunt said: “Advanced materials are critical in so many areas and we are delighted to bring so much talent together to ensure we can create, sustain and develop these highly specialised and skilled jobs for years to come.”

A study commissioned by the UK government showed that activity related to advanced materials contributes an estimated £14.4bn in gross value added to the UK economy.