Materials KTN showcases achievements at House of Lords
The Materials Knowledge Transfer Network (Materials KTN) showcased its achievements at an event at the House of Lords on 28 November. 150 representatives from industry, academia and government attended the occasion, which was hosted by Lord Simon Haskel.
Within the picturesque surroundings, with the Thames lapping at the edges of the terrace, a number of displays highlighted the achievements of both the Materials KTN and the businesses involved. Varying from a dismantled Land Rover door to a dress with a pattern that alters in response to sound, the displays gave some insight into the breadth of the projects Materials KTN are involved with.
After Lord Haskel had got the proceedings underway, David Bott, Director of Innovation Programmes at the Technology Strategy Board, gave a speech aptly highlighting the importance of materials in mankind’s development.
Punctuated with wine, food and networking, the bulk of the evening was devoted to short speeches given by 14 businesses or institutions. Each had a project that had been aided in some way through the involvement of Materials KTN, which helps companies access finance as well as a relevant network of contacts.
Amongst the many speakers was Jamie Shaw of Jaguar Land Rover, who spoke about the Autopsy project. This project brought together the universities of Oxford Brookes, Loughborough and Cranfield, as well as the Royal College of Art. It involved a day in which students and designers dismantled parts of a Land Rover to see the ease with which the components and/or materials can be extracted for re-use. Jamie Shaw’s speech told of how the insight gained from this project had helped influence both the selection of materials and the design of future vehicles.
Continuing the automotive theme, John Jostins of Microcab Industries explained how Materials KTN had established a consortium to help his company access EU funding. They used the new-found means to develop their system for the cost-effective, rapid production of hydrogen-powered electric vehicles. Proving their success in this field was a shiny, hydrogen-powered car parked outside the entrance to the House of Lords.
EU funding was also secured via a consortium for EPM Technology, which is developing composites originally designed for use in Formula 1 racing for use in constructing parabolic trough collectors (a kind of concave solar panel).
The link between high-powered racing cars and renewable energy was not the only interesting leap made by the projects, as Amy Winters from Rainbow Winters demonstrated. She was the designer of the aforementioned dress, and her entire business marries cutting-edge science with fashion, and each of her collections blends interactive textiles with intriguing designs.
The theme of fashion continued with the release of a new report from the Materials KTN Technical Textiles Group, entitled Developments in Olympic Clothing and Textiles. It explores the underlying technologies that helped to improve both the design and manufacture of sports clothing for this year’s Olympic Games.
The tone of the event was extremely positive, and each speaker took the opportunity to thank the Materials KTN for the support and assistance they provided. It is free to join the Materials KTN, and they understand that their members hold the key to their success, as demonstrated in the speech by Materials KTN Director, Robert Quarshie, who stated: 'Our members are the greatest asset in our drive to accelerate the process of industrial innovation in the UK'.