Materials issues in defence and security
The Welding and Joining Society hosted the anticipated Materials Technical Group Meeting on Wednesday 9 June 2010 at TWI Cambridge Conference Centre and captured some of the ongoing issues and latest developments, initiatives centred in Defence and Security through presentations and discussions.
This year's meeting, held in an intimate atmosphere, was the very first event of the Defence, Safety and Security Committee which was recently set up in the framework of the IOM3, joint technical sponsors of this event, alongside Materials Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN). Consequently, the programme attracted a lot of interest and was very well attended. Following registration of the delegates, a photograph of the speakers together with the chairman and secretary was taken on the beautiful grounds of Abington Hall in brilliant sunshine.
After a warm welcome and introduction by the chairman Dr Peter Boothby, the event kicked off with the keynote speaker Dr Dan Kells from BAE Systems, who gave the audience a highly strategic insight into the MAST programme dedicated to materials and technological issues associated with defence applications. During the brief question and answer session, the audience was provided with additional information on the way in which MAST team operates and the constructive ethos behind this important formation. It was emphasised that new members can add onto the existing skills and are still welcome. It was added that the MAST team thrives to offer an innovation and exploitation platform for technology developments with a view to address some crucial technical challenges that underline the defence sector, notably for The Ministry of Defence in the UK.
The stage was then taken by Dr Eoin O'Keefe from QinetiQ who presented a highly informative overview of combat identification materials that have been researched to prevent accidental destruction due to misidentification of "friends" as "enemies" in security operations while maintaining mission effectiveness. The talk was an excellent opportunity for the newcomers into the defence industry, to appreciate the extent of which a broad range of technologies are employed in order to address maintainability, if possible at lower costs, without compromising from product robustness and performance.
The last act of the morning session continued with a technical presentation by Alec Gunner of TWI-Cambridge, who captured recent advances at TWI in joining and non-destructive testing of ballistic ceramics. The lecture included some very interesting results and attracted considerable interest from the audience.
The morning session then came to a close and delegates had a chance to network and establish contacts throughout lunch. Those, particularly interested in professional development were encouraged to explore potential memberships of WJS, The Welding Institute, IOM3, and Materials KTN. The available information included benefits of professional development and the registration with the Engineering Council towards for example, CEng status, plus events that can contribute to this such as Powders 2010, a Materials KTN event due to be held in Loughborough later in the month.
The meeting continued with Diccon Booth of The Royal Navy, a major end user of defence products, who talked on what technology in defence meant on the ground. The presentation began with a highly interactive and awe-inspiring video and gave a compact overview of the capabilities and future requirements in terms of multifunctionality of the Navy with examples of both old and new vessel specifications that are employed. It was one of the most visually effective talks that TWI and WJS Materials Technical Group has ever hosted.
The second presentation in the afternoon was by Dr Chris Munnings from Loughborough University, on characterisation of aluminium/alumina bond within interpenetrating metal ceramic composites, where a thorough understanding of the relationship between stress development and differences between thermal expansion of materials were crucial for achieving successful metal-ceramic joints.
The final speaker of the day was John Cotton of Ceram, who captured the latest developments in the frame of Materials KTN, as an interactive platform to facilitate networking, stimulate innovation from academic and industrial collaborations, and most importantly provide a medium for related dissemination and technology transfer. As part of the discussion session that followed, delegates were made aware of the benefits of Knowledge Transfer Networks in a wider spectrum. KTNs' potentially influential role in the development of UK Technology Strategy Board research and feasibility initiatives was highlighted and attendees were encouraged to consider taking part in collaborative R&D programmes.
The meeting came to a close witha final speech from the Chairman, who acknowledged the support of co-sponsors, including the Defence, Safety and Security Committee of IOM3 and TWI, in organising the event, which turned out to be a highly successful one.Defence, safety & security, 05 Jul 2010