Cotswold U3A Link

Past Events

Special Interest Day Thursday 11 July 2019

Cotswold Link hosted a fascinating Special Interest Day at The Pavilion, Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham, on July 11 2019, with three excellent speakers.
Dr Claus Goersmann
First Dr Claus Goersmann, Technology Support Manager, Johnson Matthey, talked about Powertrains for Vehicles 2025-2050. He explained that the powertrain is what converts the energy in the fuel, be it petrol, diesel or electricity, into forward movement of the vehicle. He explained how emissions like unwanted gases or particulates (solid ‘bits’) are reduced. He explained that while buyers are happy to buy cars with brakes that are more powerful that they will ever need – just in case – when it comes to pollution control gear like filters and catalysts they are happy if it only works under normal conditions.

Dr. Goersmann outlined some alternatives to petrol or diesel engines such as hydrogen, battery electric or even mains electric; the lorry equivalent of trolleybuses. He explained the difference between the various types of hybrid. He also touched on the implications of the Paris agreement and the impact of legislation. He was frequently being asked to expand or explain so he obviously engaged his audience’s attention. This continued after the session because he seemed to be besieged during the lunch break.
Professor Moaz Attallah
The title of the second talk was From 3D Printing to 4D Printing: To Design, to 3D Print, & to Move. The speaker, Professor Moataz Attallah of the Advanced Materials Processing Laboratory, University of Birmingham gave a talk which, although not so much part of his audience’s everyday experiences, managed to be both fascinating and amusing. He explained what is meant by 3D printing, and its industrial cousin Additive Manufacturing. He outlined the various ways that it works and on what scale. They have managed 1 metre-long objects at Birmingham; the Chinese can go up to 10m apparently!

He explained how new technologies go through a cycle of introduction, hype, disillusionment and finally acceptance and steady development. He gave a number of uses both frivolous and life-and-death, ranging from toys through aircraft door hinges to custom-made stents. One of the uses was making support for catalysts, which was relevant to the first talk.

He also gave examples of items which can change shape in response to heat or light which he defined as 4D printing.

The meeting then broke up for an excellent buffet lunch. As chairman Jane Flynn put it in her summing up, if people didn’t have enough to eat they only had themselves to blame. Many people took it outside in the warm; the airconditioning rather getting the bit between its teeth after a slow start.
Marina Barcenilla
The (replacement) third speaker was Marina Barcenilla, a Doctoral Research Student at the University of Westminster. Her subject was The Possibilities of Building Colonies on Mars. Her talk successfully kept everybody awake despite being in the ‘death slot’ the first session after lunch! She emphasised how difficult it is to travel to Mars, and how different the conditions are once you get there. The atmosphere is almost all CO2, the temperature goes from a tolerable 30C to a less tolerable -120C, it is subject to dust storms that blanket the sun completely and so on. On the positive side there’s plenty of rock and lots of sunshine, and even water below the surface in the form of ice.

Marina listed the challenges, not least the effect on the human body of a long time in reduced gravity. She identified possible solutions to many of the other technical challenges. One of them, provision of spare parts, could be provided by 3D printing.

The meeting was closed by the Cotswold Link Chairman, who thanked the speakers and all those involved in organising the event.

To view or download the speakers' presentations, go to 'Links' at the top right of the page.
There is also a link to more information about Carbon Capture and Storage.