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16 October 2007 PR 07/131

Sustainable dishwasher wins Loughborough students Royal Academy Design Award

Four students from Loughborough University have been given an award for ‘Best Overall Poster’ in The Royal Academy of Engineering’s recent Poster Competition.

Richard Charles, Thomas Hartley, Ben Rose and Richard Taylor won the award for their poster entitled ‘Sustainable Dishwasher’. The students were all based in the University’s Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering and have since graduated.

Current dishwasher technology is based upon spraying heated, detergent rich water onto tableware. It was considered by the team that, given today’s requirements for sustainability, this may no longer be the most appropriate method.

The team came up with numerous ideas to improve performance and, ultimately, a dishwasher incorporating ultrasonic cleaning and reverse osmosis was designed. Through the transmission of high frequency vibrations into liquid, microscopic bubbles rapidly form and collapse, causing dirt to be sucked away from tableware without the need for detergents or high temperatures. Then through the reverse osmosis, the contaminants are stripped from the used water enabling it to be recycled and resulting in reduction of both energy and water consumption.

The Loughborough team developed their designs at the University’s Centre for Sustainable Manufacturing and Reuse/Recycling Technologies (SMART).

Dr Shahin Rahimifard, Director of the Centre and team supervisor, said: “I am incredibly impressed by what the students have achieved. A significant reduction in the environmental burden of consumer goods requires radical innovation and this has been clearly demonstrated by the Loughborough students. They have developed a product with a considerable improvement in environmental performance, yet economically feasible for mass production and supportive of a modern consumer life style.

“This is the second year in a row Loughborough students have won this prestigious competition, highlighting the University’s commitment sustainable engineering.”

The competition involved 27 universities which are currently part of The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Visiting Professors in Engineering Design for Sustainable Development or Visiting Professors in Principles of Engineering Design schemes.


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Notes for editors:

  1. Founded in 1976, the Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. The fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, it provides independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.
  2. The Academy’s Visiting Professors in Principles of Engineering Design initiative was started in 1989 and is active in 46 UK universities. Admission to the scheme has been by competitive bidding upon an invitation from The Academy. Engineering design encompasses those activities which intelligently associate useful, economic, reliable and appropriate ideas with technology to define an engineering project, product, process or system to satisfy a market need. The good engineering designer is therefore a key link in the industrial environment. The role of Visiting Professors in Principles of Engineering Design is to demonstrate and transmit to students and staff that design is the integrating theme in all the engineering disciplines within the university.
  3. The Academy’s Visiting Professors in Engineering Design for Sustainable Development scheme was launched in 1998. Sustainable Development can be defined as, ‘development that meets the needs of the present generation, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. The purpose of this scheme is to develop teaching materials, based on case studies, which will enhance both the understanding and the practice of teaching Sustainable Development.
  4. For more information, please visit: http://www.raeng.org.uk/education/vps/default.htm
  5. For further information about SMART visit: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/mm/research/manufacturing-technology/SMART/
  6. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top five of UK universities in national league tables and was named winner of the 2006 THES award for the UK’s Best Student Experience. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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