A new Interdisciplinary Materials Research Laboratory was recently opened in the university's Department of Chemical Engineering.

A new Interdisciplinary Materials Research Laboratory was recently opened in the university's Department of Chemical Engineering.

Professor Malcolm Mackley, of the Department of Chemical Engineering's Polymer Fluids group (left), talking with invited speaker Dr Martin Leser, of Nestle (right) and Miss Sirilak Wannaborworn (a PhD student with Professor Mackley), at the department's recent Research Open Day.

This £2.2 million venture, which was funded by HEFCE, the Shell Endowment Fund, and the University of Cambridge, is designed to be a nucleus for collaborative studies on semi-solids, soft solids and structured fluids.

It completes a major six-year programme of modernisation in the department, providing the new, high-technology laboratory facilities that are essential for conducting cutting-edge research - thereby ensuring that the department remains at the forefront of the changing demands in the discipline.

The new lab was formally opened by Dr Graham Ferris, an Executive Vice-President of Shell Chemicals Ltd, at the department's Research Open Day at the end of June. The opening was attended by senior university officers, members of the Chemical Engineering Syndicate and the Council of the School of Technology, a representative of the Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE), and many industrial collaborators.

The theme of the open day was Novel Materials Processing, and it featured talks by a number of external and internal speakers, including:

Chemical engineering currently stands at the brink of one of the most exciting times in its history, as it moves into a range of new areas resulting from recent scientific innovations. Once largely concerned with the oil and heavy chemicals industries, it now focuses on developing a wide range of complex products and processes, from the molecular to the global level, that will enhance the quality of life.

As Dr Howard Chase, Head of Department, observed in his welcoming address to delegates:

"There is an enormous change in chemical engineering going on at the moment. Companies are changing their attitude to what they make and are putting a great deal more emphasis on complicated, highly-customised products and materials. Their demands are for much more complex chemical products than were needed in the past. High-tech equipment enables better analysis and understanding of the underlying physics and fundamental science of the factors important in these products, which in turn leads to more successful chemical engineering."

Further information:
Dr J.S. Dennis, Research Facilitator, Department of Chemical Engineering. E-mail: jsd1010@cheng.cam.ac.uk

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. If you use this content on your site please link back to this page.