Pupils discover the magic of materials

28 Aug 2019

At the beginning of July, 17 pupils aged 14–15 participated in the fifth Magic of Materials summer school, held in London, UK. The three-day residential course was organised and run in partnership between the Institute and St Paul’s School, London, and had been carefully designed to broaden and deepen the attendees’ knowledge and understanding of materials, beyond the confines of the school curriculum.

After a general introduction to materials, delivered by IOM3 Head of Education and Professional Development, Dr Diane Aston, the students had the opportunity to hear about, and explore through practical sessions, some the fundamentals of materials characterisation. From investigating the effects of impurities on elongation and failure in plasticine to observing fracture surfaces in the school’s scanning electron microscope, activities highlighted the importance of understanding the structure and properties of materials and how this links to their applications.

Over the following two days, the students learned more about metals, composites, polymers and ceramics in sessions delivered by experts in their fields. With thanks to Sean Cooper from the National Composites Centre, Dr Rachael Ambury from Element Six and Dr Alicia Chrysostomou from London Metropolitan University for their invaluable contribution to teaching on the course and the Worshipful Armourers and Brasiers’ Company for their sponsorship, which allowed us to offer all delegates a bursary of up to £100 towards their travel costs.