by Michelle Evans at Science Learning Centre West Midlands
Flying is relevant to most of our lives, as ‘foreign’ holidays have become the norm. Yet it is often only when we are sat on a plane and ‘past the point of no return’ that we begin to wonder if it’s safe and even about the actual mechanics of how the tonnes of metal in which we are sat (not to mention our luggage) will actually get off the ground and safely deliver us to our sun-filled destination. Even within this consideration, we tend to think of the plane being essentially a
chunk of metal and don’t really consider the enormous number of processes which have been undertaken to get to that one point. We don’t think about the time and effort and quality control procedures which go into the creation of a single hole in a tiny part of a blade which is crucial for the process of flying and to improve the efficacy of the engine as well as to reduce emissions.
However, at Rolls-Royce they spend a significant amount of time, effort (and money) ensuring that each tiny (and huge) element is completely fail-safe, efficient, light and effective. (I, for one, am rather pleased that they do!) What we may not realise is that this technology is as relevant to our teaching; certainly in Science and Design Technology; as it is to Rolls-Royce because we are working with and developing materials.
Materials science is a growing field with increasingly interesting discoveries and developments, Carbon Nanotubes, a relatively new discovery from the 1990s, are now present in both Design Technology and Science specifications where the structure and potential and current uses are required. ‘Smart’ materials are increasingly prevalent in society and therefore our teaching should be including and considering the uses of these developments within the field; the science behind these is really interesting and ground breaking, but the uses are now quite common; even including electro-conductive lycra (presumably for warm cycling shorts)!
All manufacturing requires materials and it is important for the future to understand the level of research and development required in these processes. World leading manufacturer of jet engines; Rolls-Royce has significant experience with materials and continue to ‘push the boundaries’ in order to develop high quality, durable, light and safe components for their products. They are, after all, the reason that aeroplanes fly!
In order to capture this relevant and essential expertise, Rolls-Royce, the department of Metallurgy and Materials at the University of Birmingham, the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) and the Science Learning Centre West Midlands have collaborated to develop a two day course which brings to life this fascinating ‘topic’.
The Materials Masterclass is designed to support curriculum delivery. It draws on the areas of materials science in which Rolls-Royce has significant experience and can demonstrate examples of applications and the University of Birmingham are able to provide ideas for use in the classroom as well as discussing the science and technology behind materials and their uses.
This course offers an extension to your personal knowledge in the field as well as resources and ideas to take back to the classroom. This two-day course is sponsored by Rolls-Royce and The Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers and supported by the Department of Metallurgy and Materials at the University of Birmingham and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3), the latter also offer free institutional membership to the Schools Affiliate Scheme for participants.
Go to the Science Learning Centre’s website for more information or to book your place on the Materials Masterclass
Filed under: Contemporary Science, continuing professional development, Design and Technology, Engineering, Materials Science, physics teaching, Secondary and Post-16 | Tagged: engineering, Materials Science, mechanics, Metallurgy, secondary | Leave a Comment »