Meet two of the Institute’s female members and find out more about their careers. Part of this issue's special section on Women in Engineering
Materials World - all features 2012
Maria Felice looks at the properties of Polytetrafluoroethylene, commonly referred to as PTFE or the trade name Teflon
The nickel market is a lucrative one, often perceived as the domain of
world-leading companies. Michael Forrest investigates how smaller ﬁrms
can achieve success in the market
Michael Forrest looks at how the Cameroon government plans to overcome
infrastructure challenges posed by an emerging iron-ore market
Almost half co-ed maintained schools in the UK do not send even one girl to study A-Level physics. And yet women have successful careers in the sector. What can be done to redress the balance? Louise Kittle spoke to women working in materials science and engineering about the issues facing the industry.
"Once I got to
university it turned out I was rubbish at maths and the only part of the
engineering course I actually enjoyed was the Materials Properties module. At
the end of my first year, my university tutors allowed me to switch to the
materials science & metallurgy degree course and I haven’t looked back since"
"Hearing my boys say, ‘My mum helped to build this tunnel’ or ‘My mum helped to design this’ is very rewarding"
"There are many career options, for example engineering management
(product, process, operations), project management, self-employment (as
an engineering consultant or contractor) or something completely
"I get the satisfaction of solving very tricky, academic problems as well
as knowing that I am contributing to making flying safer"
"Titanium has only been in use for the last 60 years and there are so
many more things to discover about it. It truly is the best engineering
material in the world. I’m proud to be a Titanium Girl"
"I knew that I didn’t want to do a
repetitive desk job, and I thought metallurgy and materials science
would provide variety"
Dame Julia Stretton Higgins, former Principal of the Faculty of
Engineering at Imperial College London, discusses the shortage of
skilled female engineers in the UK and how we might redress the balance
Driven by EU renewables targets, demand for biomass wood pellets is set
to increase over the next decade as utilities displace coal-ﬁred generation. How will the industry cope?
GL Noble Denton outlines the potential problems of joining two pieces of
pipe together, in the ﬁrst of a two-part series examining pipeline
Advances in microscope technology are stretching the capabilities of
laboratories and improving our knowledge of materials.
Maria Felice examines how the materials used for painting have changed over the millennia
As interest in nanotechnology continues to grow, Rachel Lawler looks at some of the equipment making developments possible.
Could the African Rift Valley be the new Patagonia for gold deposits? David Hall of Stratex International plc reports.
Dr Roland Brandenburg, Project Coordinator of M-era.Net, talks to Melanie Rutherford about the funding network’s recent joint call for transnational projects in materials science and engineering, and how companies can apply.
A new high-technology coating has the potential to signiﬁcantly reduce
the manufacturing costs of new-generation solar photovoltaic cells and
other optoelectronic devices.
Grid-connected, battery-based energy storage systems have many
beneﬁts, including renewable energy integration, enhanced grid capacity
and improved power quality. Recognising these advantages, some of the
world’s largest power equipment OEMs are developing turnkey energy
A unique restoration project at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy,
called for a special material to match its Renaissance style. Melanie
Rutherford ﬁnds out why a copper alloy proved the perfect choice.
Craig Durham puts forward a candidate for the greatest material on Earth that is literally the foundation of modern society, and yet evidence of its use has been found dating back 9,000 years.
Increasing world population and improved standards of living have
led to a rise in demand for renewable and nuclear sources for fuel.
Kevin Hesketh and Jeremy Davison of the UK’s National Nuclear
Laboratory examine the potential of uranium and plutonium as energy
What prompts a company to set up a base perched on the edge of the
Arctic Circle, more than 200km from the nearest town? Michael Forrest
talks to Jim Paterson of Kivalliq Energy Corp to ﬁnd out.
A closer look at the gold ﬁelds of Argentina is set to reap rewards
for UK-based Samco Gold Ltd. Michael Forrest spoke to CEO Paul Richardson to ﬁnd out more.
Superconducting power cables can carry 100 times more electricity than copper, but costs can be prohibitive.
Energy harvesting is the scavenging of energy from sources that would
normally be lost to the environment, for example solar, thermal, wind
and kinetic energy. Despite more than 10 years of academic and
industrial interest, it is still an emerging technology.
Bristol is arguably the spiritual home of marine energy. Tim Probert visits two companies at differing stages of development.
Dr Carsten Schwandt reviews R&D work in the ﬁeld of molten salts in
the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge, UK.
Skill levels are dwindling and master manufacturers are ageing. A scheme at Swansea
University is trying to change this.
Ultrasonic technology is increasingly being used to detect ﬂaws in
materials and structures in industries including oil and gas, defence
Helping Great Britain’s Olympic track cyclists to gold medal glory was
BAE Systems, which adapted its military expertise to engineer a unique
laser timing technology.
Michael Forrest visits the historic mining town of Jerome, Arizona, in search of one of the world’s richest copper deposits.
A steep rise in iron ore consumption is forcing China’s steel industry
to look further afield for raw materials. Michael Forrest talks to
Tayfun Eldem, President and CEO of Alderon Iron Ore Corporation in
Canada, about how the junior mining company is breaking into a market no
longer restricted to the big players.
UK Government efforts to create a green economy are putting strain on
the supply of strategic metals to the domestic market. David Russell of
Ernst and Young describes mineral geopolitics and risks to strategic
While there is a reliance on thermal spraying in industries such as
aerospace, medicine and electronics, the coating technology is not
without its flaws. A colder alternative could be the answer, say Tiziana
Marrocco and Dave Harvey from UK research organisation TWI.
Strict EU regulations mean any use of hazardous substances may be
subject to authorisation. Dr Neil Hunt from The REACH Centre explains
the process and the decisions affected companies will need to make.
Choosing the right high-integrity alloys for corrosion protection is a
billion dollar decision. Alan Robinson, Managing Director at Arc Energy
Resources, examines the options.
While prostheses have been transforming the lives of amputees for
generations, only recently have advances in materials science offered
disabled athletes Olympic status. Maria Felice looks at the evolution of
False promise of revolutionary changes in technology has led lithium
resource development to a dead end. Gerry Clarke examines the efforts of
companies worldwide to supply the predicted surge in demand.
Each day, more than 34 million people rely on regular insulin injections
to stay alive. Peter Hosking, Head of Operations at Living Cell
Technologies, unveils a new treatment product that could change the
lives of diabetes sufferers worldwide.
Use of polymer beads to enable localised treatment of tumours is proving beneficial to patients and physicians alike, says Andy Lewis, Director of Research and Development at Biocompatibles UK Ltd.
Composites are replacing traditional metals and plastics in many fields. Dr Andrew Curtis, Dr Will Palin and Dr Adrian Shortall examine how these materials offer improved characteristics through nanochemistry advances and modern testing.
The new discovery of a rare earths deposit in Canada has the potential to revolutionise this restricted market. Could these elements prove not so rare after all? Michael Forrest examines the evidence.
With soaring costs, high emissions and problematic waste materials,
it’s no wonder coal is under continuous environmental scrutiny. But a
new technique is surfacing that could change all that – can coal really
give renewables a run for their money?
The increasing cost of testing and validating new composite materials is giving optimal design the back seat. But make way for a new theory, says Garth Pearce from The University of New South Wales, Australia, which could revolutionise the design of high-performance polymer composites.
From the tiny paperclip to the enormous Titanic, man’s use of metals for
both purpose and pride has seen its fair share of both success and
failure. Tim Carter explores how the many forms and uses of iron have
shaped our metal-dependant world.
Groundbreaking research into the fractography of polymer composites is
aiding composite failure identification, prediction and, ultimately,
prevention. Dr Emile S Greenhalgh from Imperial College London offers an
Nanotechnology has opened the door on a new generation of metal matrix
composites. Raphael Addinall from German research organisation
Fraunhofer looks at its potential applications in aerospace industries
From ultrasonically welded swimsuits to UV-protected spray-on bikinis
that help the wearer give up smoking, swimwear design has come a long
way since its humble 17th Century beginnings, writes Maria Felice.
Emma Jenkins from Cambridge Risk discusses prepays as an alternative form of mining finance.
Michael Forrest talks to Dwight Demorais and Dr Richard Leese of MPA Cement about the challenges facing the industry.
Michael Forrest talks to Dr Jussi Vaarno about advances in froth flotation, a key component in recovering minerals from ore.
Dr Gareth Hatch, President of Innovation Metals Corp in Canada, discusses supply issues.
Tom Mroz, Director of Technology at thermal processing company Harper
International, explains the importance of considering scaleup
requirements for thermal processing early for successful
commercialisation of new materials.
The benefits of nonlinear modelling to brass production have been shown
using processing data. An international team reports on a study
conducted at the Zutphen plant in the Netherlands.
The materials and manufacturing benefits of hot isostatic pressing of
hardfacing and stainless steel powders for pressurised water reactor
components is described by Barry Burdett, a materials specialist at
Rolls-Royce Plc Raynesway in Derby, UK.
Professor George Smith is Emeritus Professor of Materials at The
University of Oxford, UK. He outlines his thoughts on the future of the
nuclear industry and the problems that need addressing for energy
Lead zirconate titanate, often referred to as PZT, is a man-made
ceramic. It has many uses, most commonly as a piezoelectric ceramic.
Michael Forrest talks to Joel Holliday, Exploration Manager for West
Africa at Randgold Resources Ltd.
As shale gas exploration turns its attention to the riches beneath the
Home Counties, Tim Probert asks will the growing environmental
opposition to hydraulic fracturing cause shale gas to go the way of GM
Exploration expenditure is a good indicator of the health of metal
prices. Michael Forrest tracks the trends with David Cox of the Metal
A biopolymer blend has been developed that provides improved mechanical
and processing properties over PET. The material can be used for
applications in the packaging and aerospace industries. Professor Alma
Hodzic from the University of Sheffield reports.
Processing improvements have hastened the development of polymer
materials for the aerospace and electronics sectors. Dr Alan Wood from
Victrex outlines the route to faster production of polymer matrix
Neil Kermode, Managing Director of The European Marine Energy Centre
(EMEC) in Orkney, UK, talks about advances in marine
testing facilities and renewable technologies.
Dr Laura Talens Peiró, a Marie Curie IEF Fellow at the INSEAD Social Innovation Centre in France discusses a recovery solution for metals scarcity that could ease supply for the electronics industry.
What does 2012 hold for R&D in the materials science arena? People from across the industry give their views.
As concrete domes make coral homes, we look at the science behind artificial reefs.
An interview with Dr Jack Henderson, who manages high-temperature applications support in North
America for Netzsch. His primary research interests are heat transfer,
thermodynamics, instrumentation, thermophysical properties and nuclear
Professor Andrew H Sherry is Director of the Dalton Nuclear Institute at
The University of Manchester. Here he discusses the developments in UK
materials nuclear research facilities.
Alan Dinsdale and Lindsay Chapman from the Materials Division at the
UK’s National Physical Laboratory discuss a measurement framework for
future nuclear energy.
Fred Starr recollects some of the engineering and materials failures with British cars.
Professor Henry Petroski of Duke University, USA, discusses the significance of failure in design engineering.
new series, Maria Felice illustrates how advances in materials science
have contributed to the development of everyday objects.
Michael Forrest talks to Alan Auld about the history of shaft sinking.
Dr Martin Kemp, NanoKTN Theme Manager of Engineering Applications, says
the UK leads the world in research, but needs to push development.
The considerations for
mining companies when starting work in relatively unfamiliar countries.
Exciting developments are afoot in tungsten mining just a
few miles from one of Britain’s most popular tourist towns.
New initiatives and collaborations in manufacturing are fortifying the
UK defence industry. Dan Jones, Dan Kells and Chris Peel from the
Aerospace, Aviation and Defence Knowledge Transfer Network (AAD KTN)
outline the main functions and benefits of the latest air vehicle
The role of armour in protecting military personnel is critical. Paul A
Davies from Tata Steel looks at the developments of super bainitic steel
armour produced in the UK.
Ensuring we have a steady, secure supply of essential materials isn’t as
easy as it might sound, as Dr Steven Savage from the Swedish Defence
Research Agency reports.
Tim Probert visited the recently commissioned Mogalakwena North
platinum mine in South Africa to find out how Anglo American has
improved output at the largest single stream platinum concentrator in
Michael Forrest talks to Peter Kettle of the International Tin Research Institute about the global future of the tin industry.
The push towards
electric mobility presents carmakers with new challenges, creating a
need for innovative materials and comprehensive solutions.
The introduction of nanoclay to polyurethane improves properties such as
strength and stability in the resulting foam. Sara Tabandeh from
Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran, Iran, outlines studies
into the synthesis process.
A team of researchers from The University of Bath are developing a new
nano-imprint process that could improve on the established techniques
such as lithography, ablation and etching.
Naturally-occurring nanoscale materials have been in the environment for
millions of years, yet little is known about their occurrence and inputs.
With an emerging nanotechnology industry, a proper appraisal of their
potential risk is well overdue.
Michael Forrest talks to Paul Burton, Senior Equities Analyst at Thomson Reuters GFMS, about the price and production of gold.
Dr Steve Barrett from the University of Liverpool, UK, has been studying
rare earth metals for 20 years. Here he explains how preparation of the
surface layer is crucial to the functionality of these scarce elements.
There are constant warnings about the risks of exhausting supply of
vital resources, including the impact on our way of life. Professor
Animesh Jha, from the Institute for Materials Research at the University
of Leeds, UK, examines the sources of rare earth elements and the
research driving their use in emerging technologies.
Dr Alex Finlay from the Geochemical Reclamation of Industrial Minerals
and Elements (GRIME) research group at Durham University, UK, outlines
plans for the investigation and development of unconsidered waste
materials as a green rare earth element resource.
The mining industry in Liberia is undergoing a renaissance.
The range of uses rare earth ions provide for technological development
are seemingly endless. Professor Daniel Hewak, head of the Novel Glasses
for Optoelectronic Devices Research Group at The University of
Southampton, UK shows how this valuable commodity is already changing