Department of Materials


13 Aug 2019

21st Century Materials - Smallpeice Trust Taster Residential 2019

Bridge testing Smpc 2019 x 670

On 8th July, 39 Lower 6th students from across the UK, arrived in the Department of Materials to participate in our new Smallpeice Trust University Residential Course; “21st Century Materials.”

This is the 7th year that we have run taster residential courses in partnership with the Smallpeice Trust.  In the past we have run courses in Biomaterials and Materials for Energy, which have been exceedingly well received and this year’s new course was no exception.

The students' week started with a teambuilding activity – building a prosthetic hand, which was tested by having the hands pick up varying sizes of cups of water – we did have one team manage to lift and pour the largest cup of water, but there was a large amount of water spilt on the testing table!

Students also took part in lectures including:

The main project for the week was bridge building.  Student teams chose differing materials to build their bridges and then tested them on the instrumentation in the Materials labs in STEMLab

The winning teams were:

1st Prize – lowest value of the weight of the bridge over the maximum load it could support

2nd Prize – best elevator pitch and slides presented in advance of bridge testing

3rd Prize – the bridge that could withstand the most weight apart from the 1st Prize

4th Prize – Most correctly estimated weight that their bridge could support

The First Prize went to the Team whose bridge could withstand an amazing 177kg in weight!!

Outside of taught and project building sessions, students did a sculpture hunt across the Loughborough University campus, had a sports/movie night and attended a formal dinner, which included VIP guests such as the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching – Professor Rachel Thomson.

Our visitors also visited Lucideon, who create and deliver materials technologies, enabling companies to develop the products of the future, supported by world-leading Testing, analysis and characterisation laboratories, a product optimisation team and certification and assurance division.

From the feedback we received, we know that the students enjoyed their time at Loughborough University and we hope that their time with us helped them with their decision making in respect of engineering.  Who knows… Maybe we will see some of them again in the not too distant future, but if we don’t, we wish them all the very best in their future engineering studies!