The Ashtead U3A Science Group meets on a monthly basis to discuss current topics and issues in science, engineering and technology. The meetings take place on the third Friday in the month, from 10am to 12 noon, and the venue is one or other of the members’ houses. Sometimes the discussion is led by one of the members and on other occasions the meeting revolves round a general discussion. The group exists to bring together those who have an interest in current topics in science and technology and who wish to develop that interest. Currently, the members of the group bring a wide range of knowledge and experience to the topics under discussion and it is not unusual for counter arguments to be made to the generally accepted position. Over the past few months there have been discussions on the carbon footprint of food, bird migration, Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity (2015 was the hundredth anniversary of this theory), El Niño, and Fibre Reinforcement. The group periodically attends the U3A Surrey Network meetings when the topic is of scientific interest.
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Example of paper prepared by Science Group
Science Group : Energy Storage
Energy is the capacity for doing work and energy storage is the capture of energy produced at one time for use at a later time.
Energy storage involves converting energy from forms that arevdifficult to store to more conveniently or economically storablevforms.
Common examples of energy storage are the rechargeable battery that stores chemical energy readily convertible to electricity and the hydroelectric dam that stores energy in a reservoir as gravitational potential energy. Fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil store ancient energy derived from sunlight by organisms that later died, became buried and, over time, were converted into these fuels. Food is a form of energy stored in chemical form.
Examples of mechanical storage include flywheel storage, gravitational potential energy and pumpedstorage hydroelectricity. Those of thermal storage include brick storage heaters, molten salt storage, solar pond and steam accumulators. Those of chemical storage include biofuels, hydrogen storage and power to gas.
Flywheel storage is used in F1 racing cars. Gravitational potential energy was frequently used to lower filled coal wagons down an incline while lifting empty coal wagons to the top of the incline and it is still used in cliff railways in a few seaside resorts. Pumped-storage hydroelectricity is used extensively in mountainous countries such as Norway. Brick storage heaters were commonly used in many domestic situations.
Chair, U3A Science group