Young Persons’ Lecture Competition – South East Regional Final

27 Mar 2013

The 2013 south east regional final of the Young Persons' Lecture Competition will be held on Wednesday 27 March at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining in London. Each participant is a local society finalist of the heats which take place in the south east region of the UK.

The event is organised by the London Materials Society and the West Surrey Materials Society, with additional support from the other south east regional societies. This event is open to the public and free of charge.

Participants will give a 15-minute presentation, followed by questions from the judges.


Abstracts from the entrants


In-situ exploration of deformation mechanism in GO paper by AFM-synchrotron FTIR

Congwei Wang is representing The London Materials Society, from Queen Mary University of London

Graphene, the first 2 dimension material, was initially predicted as unachievable in nature, but finally unveiled through the easiest way: peeling off graphite using scotch tape. Graphene oxide (GO) and GO paper, the precursors of manufacturing industrial scale graphene, is promising potential in new generation energy storage, high-performance composite and transparent, stretchable electrodes. To fulfil their designed function, a comprehensive understanding of the mechanical properties of graphene paper is critical. More importantly, this understanding will guide scientists to optimize GO paper and tailor according to specific design requirements.

In this presentation, a novel technique combined atomic force microscope (AFM) and synchrotron- Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) is introduced to in situ probe the deformation mechanism of GO paper. The employment of FTIR could provide information on chemical bond changes during deformation, which provides molecular level insights. We successfully show two kinds of chemical bonds contribute to the overall material deformation.

Expanding the horizons of reconstructive surgery

Jessica Smith is representing Oxford Materials Society, from Oxford University

This presentation aims to show how materials science can be utilized to make a difference in the field of tissue expansion- the growth of excess skin prior to reconstructive surgery. This skin is needed, either to make up the deficit when damaged skin must be removed, or to allow the reconstruction of an absent feature. The first half of the talk will explore the use of currently available devices, and by considering the limitations of these, will define the properties of the perfect tissue expander. The second half of the talk gives an overview of a proposed solution, subsequently discussing the theory and reality of each aspect of the device. The presentation will draw to a close with a summary of how close we are to achieving our goal- to expand the horizons of reconstructive surgery.


Hybrid Joints: Multi-Material Structures that ‘Work’

Daniel Graham is representing the West Surrey Materials Society, from the University of Surrey

Fibre reinforced composites are attractive for a range of engineering applications which make use of their high specific stiffness and strength.  A particular challenge with fibre composites is the development of suitable joining technologies.  Bolted joints are heavy and damage the composite material. Adhesive joints are very sensitive to surface preparation, degrade in hot/wet environments, and high-strength adhesives tend to exhibit brittle failure.

An advanced hybrid joining method has been developed and is explored in this work. These joints combine adhesive bonding with macro-scale interlocking features. Important joint characteristics including strength, mechanical fatigue, damage tolerance and durability are discussed, as well as options for manufacture and industrial scale-up. The results indicate that with hybrid joints it is possible to achieve the benefits of the respective bonded and bolted systems but with zero net weight gain.


Characterization of the effects of grain size to mine water quality and Acid Rock Drainage (ARD) production in Kinetic Testing

Rodrigo Embile Jr is representing MinSouth, from The University of Exeter 

The quality of mine drainage from sulfide containing waste dumps is controlled by several factors and surface area (grain size) exposed to weathering conditions is important. However, the textural variation may control the main driving mechanisms for an acid generating or neutralizing reactions. Depending on their rates and intrinsic properties, leachate chemistry for a certain grain size can be characterized through different types of tests and analysis. Kinetic test using humidity columns is performed on five different grain size ranges of waste rocks. Water leachate quality is analysed on a weekly basis for their pH, alkalinity, conductivity, anions, cations and dissolved metal concentrations. Results showed that finer grains produced near neutral to neutral pH and higher sulfate production rates unlike for coarser grains. This indicates that the rate of sulphide oxidation and neutralization may be only partly controlled by grain size as well as a number of interrelated factors.


Fungi applications in future design scenarios for materials fabrication

Ninela Ivanova is representing the London & South East Packaging Society, from Kingston University

This presentation offers a synopsis of a practice-based PhD project, and will discuss the role of design in the fabrication of novel materials and products derived from fungi.
Contemporary scientific debates about the role of microorganisms in our ecosystem argues that people’s obsession with eradicating “germs” from the urban environment, is the cause for todays “aches of mankind” (Dunn, 2011). Re-engaging with nature could offer solutions to how we manufacture, consume and recycle (McKenna, 1992).
Science has explored a variety of fungi applications in medicines, food and beverages production, in the form of dyes, flavours and fragrances. Interdisciplinary collaborations are beginning to propose novel solutions for fungi materials in broader design contexts.
Advancing human perception of fungi for material futures appears key to realising the potential of design in innovation scenarios, resulting in viable fabrication processes and products that will impact many fields, including wellbeing and sustainability.


Characterisation of III-Nitride semiconductors by X-ray diffraction

Fabien Massabuau is representing the Cambridge & Anglian Materials Society, from the university of Cambridge

III-Nitride semiconductors are probably the most promising materials to use in highly efficient light emitting diodes and laser diodes. Such devices normally consist of thin films of III-Nitride materials grown on a hetero-epitaxial “pseudo-substrate” (sapphire, silicon, etc.). Due to the growth conditions and to the high lattice mismatch between the film and its substrate, this process results in strain and a high density of defects in the structures and therefore might affect the device performance. Hence it is necessary to provide feedback to the growth by characterising the material. In that, X-ray diffraction is an important technique as it provides a non-destructive way to assess the composition and thickness of the films, as well as their strain, their orientation and their dislocation density. Hence this lecture aims to develop the different aspects of crystalline sample characterisation by X-ray diffraction based on the particular example of III-Nitride materials.

Tea/Coffee 5:15 to 6:00 pm

Lecture 6:00 to 8:00 pm (Prompt start and finish)

Buffet 8:00 to 9:00 pm

Venue and booking

Event Location: 
The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining
1 Carlton House Terrace
United Kingdom
Contact details: 

Patrick Pryce

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