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Physics of caramel wafers, neutron scattering focuses on self-assembled materials

 

Physics of caramel wafers, neutron scattering focuses on self-assembled materials

Hamish Johnston

In this episode of the Physics World Weekly podcast we look at the science of three very different types of materials.

First we hear from Vanessa Hearnden , Julian Dean and Stephen Birch of the University of Sheffield, who have sent caramel wafers to prospective students interested in studying materials science and engineering. Before they eat them, the students perform a series of experiments on the wafers. The Sheffield trio explain what is learned and how the exercise has encouraged students to study in their department.

Next up is the chemist Emily Draper, who develops and characterizes self-assembled materials at the University of Glasgow.  Draper has won the BTM Willis Prize for her innovative use of small angle neutron scattering to study supramolecular materials. She talks about her research and what it is like to use large science facilities such as the Institut Laue Langevin in France and the UK’s ISIS Neutron and Muon Source.

Finally, Physics World’s James Dacey is on hand to talk about an environmentally friendly acoustic material that is made from wood.

  • You can read more about the University of Sheffield wafer-snapping experiment in the paper “Bending bad—testing caramel wafer bars” which is free to read in Physics Education.

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