The Smart Materials Zone was a themed zone, funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious Grant and involved six engineers working in different areas of materials engineering. Tony is a biomedical engineer inventing new medical devices, Stacey – the winner of this zone – develops new coatings for the Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier deck and Niamh is a PhD student working with nano-materials to make a new kind of solar panel. Dimitrios works with transparent materials to make touch sensors and smart windows, Becky works for Speedo International designing textiles to be used in high performance sports and Alessandra is a simulation engineer creating virtual models of new car components to make sure they work before they go into production.
The zone was busy in both ASK and the live chats, and although some students were unsure about what the theme of Smart Materials covered they still showed a strong interest in the engineers as people and there was a lot of interest in engineering as a career. There was also a lot of interest in gender equality within engineering and the experiences of the female engineers in the zone. Within the live chats Stacey, Niamh and Becky were especially good at engaging with the students and helping them understand what engineering is.