Welcome to a long overdue update, given holidays, staff changes and PhD vivas. But we still have lots of interesting and fun news from the FMD group.
I will let Jess kick things off.
Jess: At the beginning of what has turned out to be a long, barmy summer, members of the Functional Materials and Devices group attended the Sustainable Functional Materials conference (SFM2018). SFM2018 was co-organised by the teams behind the EPSRC funded MASSIVE and SUBST projects and the conference brought together delegates from across academia and industry, to discuss the critical issues of sustainability and materials substitution in functional materials and devices.
The two-day conference held in Weston-Super-Mare’s Grand Pier had sessions covering a range of topics including materials properties and applications, modelling and processing as well as sustainability and environmental issues. The variety of different approaches required to tackle issues of sustainability in functional materials was clear. A number of novel lab-scale manufacturing techniques and processes were presented, including bio-inspired synthesis and low temperature processing using microwaves of functional ceramics in the soles of shoes! Of course, developing these techniques into full scale industrial techniques comes with a unique set of opportunities and challenges. Talks on the impacts of extraction and refinement and the prospect of end-of-life recycling processes for products also highlighted the need for joined-up thinking when discussing “sustainability”.
Invited speakers included our own Rebecca Boston, on bio-inspired synthesis of functional oxides and Andrew Bloodworth of the British Geological Society who discussed the challenges and potential of retrieving precious metals from the 'urban mine' made up of the defunct electronics such as phones and tablets which everyone seems to keep in a drawer
All in all, SFM2018 was a really interesting and enjoyable conference, providing food for thought on a wide range of sustainability issues within the functional materials and devices sector and we are certainly looking forward to the next event in 2020 – who knows which underrated, shabby-chic seaside town we’ll visit next?!
But rather than listen to me, listen to my colleagues from the Henry Royce Institute explain the importance of our presence at the Blue Dot Festival.
|The massive Lovell space telescope|
Chris showing some budding scientists how chocolate
is just materials science!