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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/E033482/1
Title: So You Think You Can Design A Jet Engine?! - A Toolkit For Communicating Materials Research
Principal Investigator: Withers, Professor P
Other Investigators:
Horsman, Ms J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Museum of Science and Industry MOSI Rolls-Royce Plc (UK)
Department: Materials
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Partnerships- Public Engage
Starts: 01 January 2007 Ends: 31 March 2010 Value (£): 225,378
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials testing & eng.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
One hundred years after the Wright brothers first took a powered craft into the air, air travel is an experience with which most of us are familiar, but a feat few take for granted. Economic development and the appetite of modern society for travel mean that the numbers of flights taken world-wide are increasing by 8% every year. While the benefits of air travel in making the world a smaller place are clear, flying to Australia and back generates approximately the same amount of CO2 per person as driving 20,000 miles in one year. As a result, air travel is fast becoming a major contributor to climate change. Inevitably, the trick of keeping hundreds of tonnes of people and machine in the air and transporting them thousands of miles will always have some environmental consequences; the aim is to do so with as little environmental damage as possible.Advances in technology have improved engine efficiency by some 70% over the last 40 years and it is expected to improve at a rate of around 1-2% per year for some time to come. This has largely been enabled by improved materials and materials processing. UK industry and universities have a strong record of achievement in aerospace research and innovation with EPSRC currently supporting 230M of aerospace and defence related research. It is a major contributor to the economy and social fabric of the NW. With a turnover of ~6.3 billion, the Region's aerospace cluster includes ~1,000 companies. This level of activity makes the NW's aerospace cluster one of the most important in Europe. To remain so, it will need to attract bright young people to undertake the materials research and development needed to bring new designs to life. Few people fail to be stimulated by the concept and experience of flight.Doctors use 2D X-ray images of limbs to diagnose fractures; we use X-ray or neutron beams to get 3D images of structures or stresses to prevent unexpected failures, and to help introduce new materials and materials manufacturing techniques into jet engines safely. We can do this because these beams penetrate deep into engine components to provide images non-destructively. In effect, we have an engineering body scanner creating a virtual 3D replica of the critical components of a jet engine. We have assembled these 3D images into a journey through the jet engine. In this way everyone can experience how innovative research combined with systematic materials selection, novel manufacturing techniques, and rigorous testing allow engine designers to create more environmentally friendly engines.We have already had a great deal of succes trialling a number of individual tools using the jet engine to communicate materials research to school-age children. We have already exhibited at this year's Royal Society's Summer Science Exhibition in London. Furthermore, our exhibit has been selected from all those presented at the Royal Society in 2005 and 2006 to go forward to the Queen's 80th Birthday Science Exhibition at Buckingham palace in October.We are partnering with the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester; the second most visited Museum outside london. Our primary aim is to focus on KS4, and in particular to support schools/students with the 'Materials & Performance' Module (AP6) of the new 21st Century Science GSCE. Here students 'explore the design and testing of materials and artefacts'. Teachers should use contexts, which can be relevant to their locality. With the NW being the largest region for aerospace manufacturing, the jet engine is well suited to this task.Our secondary audience is families with children 6-14 years. Our exhibition work has also shown that many of our science awareness tools are immediately accessible to a wide audience. There are approximately 450,000 visitors to the Museum each year, nearly 80% of whom visit the existing Air and Space Gallery. Families with children form the majority of this audience (80%).
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Project URL: http://www.materials.manchester.ac.uk/schools-and-colleges/community/
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk