School of Materials at Bluedot
Welcome to Materials 3rd August 2018
This July saw the return of the annual Bluedot Festival to Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire. The festival – which is a unique blend of science, art and music – invited groups from across The University of Manchester to showcase the important work that they do.
The Graphene NOWNANO Centre for Doctoral Training were busy at the event demonstrating the potential that graphene has for electronics, composites and healthcare through interactive activities. This included inviting people to have a go at making graphene with sticky tape – which is how it was first isolated here at The University of Manchester back in 2004.
The stand featured emerging graphene-based technologies alongside those currently available commercially. Notably, the recently launched graphene-enhanced trainer, which was developed by Inov-8 in collaboration with scientists at The University of Manchester, received a lot of attention from festivalgoers. They were also impressed with the vast number of graphene products already available on the market.
Compared to last year’s Bluedot, more graphene items that have actually been commercialised were on display. This made it easier to communicate the potential impact of graphene and 2D-based technologies on a number of different industries.
It was also great to see younger people who were keen to express their passion for science and learn more about graphene and its future applications. The future of graphene is certainly looking bright, and this excitement created a buzzing atmosphere at the festival.
Pietro Steiner, a student at The University of Manchester, said: “It was the first time that I ‘outreached’ and it was a great feeling being able to communicate my passion for graphene and science with others. The people who came to our stand were willing and excited to learn more about the most revolutionary material ever discovered, and this has made me even more motivated to contribute to the field.”
Elsewhere, the Henry Royce Institute brought the clean room to the festival, setting challenges to get people thinking about why and how the materials around us influence our lives.
Richard Fields, a volunteer at the exhibition, said: “Engaging with so many interested minds was a real pleasure. It was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the importance of material characterisation, be it for advanced energy storage, additive manufacturing or nuclear technologies. I believe we activated and inspired many young minds at a critical point in their learning lives.”
Hopefully by next year’s festival we will be able to showcase even newer technologies that have been developed here in the School of Materials, and continue to fuel the public’s passion for science.
Words and Images – Natalie Parsons