Coventry and Warwickshire Materials Society: Cornflour, Ketchup and Parts for Cars’

16 May 2019

6.00 p.m. CWMS AGM

6.30 p.m. Lecture

What’s the connection between cornflour, ketchup and parts for cars? Cornflour mixed with water behaves in a strange way. When it is stirred it gets thicker, whereas if you hold it in your hands it becomes runny. This is the opposite of what happens with ketchup. Give it a good shake and it becomes runny, allow it to stand and it thickens up again. It is thixotropic. Metallic alloys can also be thixotropic when they are part solid and part liquid. This property has been exploited in the process called thixoforming to make parts for cars. Professor Atkinson will talk about research to improve thixoforming (semi-solid processing) and  future prospects.


Professor Helen Atkinson is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor - Aerospace, Transport, Manufacturing at Cranfield University. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the highest honour for an engineer in the UK, in 2007. At the time she was one of only 29 women fellows alongside 1400 men. She was the first woman President of the Engineering Professors’ Council (the body which represents engineering in universities throughout the UK) in its fifty year history and has also served as a Vice President and Trustee of the Royal Academy of Engineering. In 2010 she won a national award as a Woman of Outstanding Achievement in Science, Engineering and Technology for ‘leadership and inspiration to others’

Light refreshments provided - please confirm attendance for catering purposes.

Venue and booking

Event Location: 
International Manufacturing Centre
University of Warwick
United Kingdom
Contact details: 

Sarah Boad

01926 430185

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