Manufacturing a change – The decline of engineering, science and manufacturing in the UK

In my November 2006 column, I responded to news that the University of Reading's physics department was to close in a piece entitled ‘Physics at crisis point'. In the Guardian...

Waste watch - Alternative strategies for packaging disposal

Alternative strategies and materials to reduce landfill sites are resulting from the public's perception of the environmental impact of packaging.

Going platinum – Recycled platinum meets high demand

Platinum is a rare metal. The main use of platinum is in the manufacture of autocatalysts. The second largests use is in jewellery, and then there is its use in the electronic, chemical and refining industries. Due to the high demand for platinum its price has risen, and this has highlighted the need for recycling and the switch to other precious group metals such as palladium.

Lead-free soldering - The search for lead-free solder materials

Due to EU legislation (RoHS) on the need to remove hazardous substances and importantly toxic lead from electrical and electronic equipment there is a search for a replacement for traditional lead-tin solder. In 2001 Professors Herbert Ipser and Adolf Mikula, University of Vienna, Austria, submitted a proposal to COST, the European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research, on research efforts to find lead-free solder materials.

Searching for solutions - alternative energy sources

The importance of the improvement of energy technologies. The article highlights issues such as wasting energy, the use of renewable energy sources, controlling energy by storage and transportation, and possibilities for future use.