Royce Joins Manchester Museum Event for British Science Week 2023

In celebration of British Science Week, an annual national initiative that celebrates science, engineering, technology and maths, the Henry Royce Institute outreach team attended a local schools event at the Manchester Museum on 14-15 March 2023.

The event aimed to showcase the latest science research currently taking place at the University of Manchester, providing local secondary school pupils with the opportunity to get a first-hand look at ground-breaking scientific research and obtain careers advice from practicing scientists.

Stands from Royce and its affiliates, including the University of Manchester Materials Squash Club, the National Research Facility for X-Ray Computed Tomography (NXCT) and the Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub were also present, providing an assortment of stands with drop-in activities being delivered by outreach volunteers.

Royce activities demonstrated how research and innovation in materials science can improve the methods we use to produce or capture energy, store it through infrastructure across the UK and then deliver it sustainably for use. This demonstrates how materials science research is being adopted in different areas to support the use of new energy systems.

A paper maze matching sustainable energy sources up to different infrastructure technologies including buildings, cars and public transport taught guests about the storage and distribution of generated energy and, importantly, the how materials science research is being adopted in different areas to support the use of new energy systems.

The stand also featured a live demonstration of how electrolysis can be adopted to power hydrogen vehicles, with a model car fitted with a water electrolysis cell to generate fuel and power its engine. The car was presented alongside more detailed information about the materials used when scaling up this technology into proton electron membrane (PEM) technology.

George Miller, Student Engagement Manager at Royce, said:

British Science week is a fantastic opportunity to engage with young people on materials science, and communicate how it impacts their everyday lives. Using the framework of the ‘Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’, we can talk about how the research being carried out at Royce is helping to create a better world for these students.

Also in attendance were Manchester’s Materials Squash Club.  Their activities demonstrated the practical applications of developments made in materials science and technology in the context of sports whilst also illustrating the core principles of physics that guide materials science research.

One activity required participants to bounce squash balls stored at different temperatures, ranging from frozen to room temperature, illustrating how the properties of the balls and the height of their bounces were affected by factors in the environment. The stand also detailed how graphene technology was being utilised to create high-tech lightweight rackets which enhance the performance of professional players.

NXCT provided a demonstration of their world-leading facilities in an accessible way through the use of a rudimentary scanning device made from Lego, which allowed delegates to scan the contours of simple objects, demonstrating the fundamental principles of X-ray tomography in an accessible and novel medium.

The respective outreach teams associated with Royce occupied three stands throughout the event, each demonstrating a unique area of materials science in an accessible way to engage local students, furthering Royce’s outreach initiatives in inspiring the next generation of materials scientists.


Outreach at Royce

As the UK’s national institute for advanced materials, Royce is committed to inspiring the next generation of materials scientists and engineers into the field. Alongside providing access to our national cutting edge research facilities, Royce is actively fostering an engaged learning community in materials science and engineering throughout the UK. To find out more about outreach at Royce visit: https://www.royce.ac.uk/outreach/