Materials educators at undergraduate level consistently raise the concern: how can we engage students in learning about materials?
Engaged students learn more and are more enjoyable to teach, and project-based teaching inspires students across engineering, design, and scientific degrees. It appeals to their sense of curiosity, integrates their knowledge and helps them to learn professional skills such as teamwork, communication, and project management.
When it comes to software development it is revolution that often grabs attention. An example here at Granta might be the recent new MI:Explore web app interface. But constant evolution is perhaps an even more important part of the story. Granta is constantly in collaboration with customers, industry consortia, and the education community with the aim of continuously improving solutions. After all, who knows better about their specific needs than the users themselves?
To understand more about this continuous improvement process, I had a chat with Dan Williams, the GRANTA MI Product Manager, about the latest enhancements to the GRANTA MI™ system (see July’s press release). Continue reading
Some materials catch headlines, are held in awe, but not all. Some get little respect, despite having changed the world. They have become commonplace, anonymous, ignored and (particularly if they are cheap) cast aside when no longer wanted. If they had feelings, they would be hurt. This brief series of blogs is to draw attention to their plight.
Rumpelstiltskin could spin straw into gold. Materials Scientists can’t do that yet. But they can do other things with straw. The value-added may be lower but the business-case has a firmer scientific base. But first: what is straw?
Don’t forget, educators can visit Granta’s Teaching Resources Website to browse, search for, and download relevant resources for those teaching materials across science, design, and engineering courses.
Consumer product development is distinguished from other manufacturing sectors by high turnaround, with many products having a typical lifespan of no more than two to five years. Whether household appliances, electronic devices, or even cars, the market has a constant appetite for new products and its attention is fickle. Tastes evolve—a product that was the epitome of good design five years ago may now look dated. Even the most cutting-edge devices may only secure demand for so long before market share is lost to competitors or newer technology. Manufacturers have a limited horizon in which to capitalize on the success of their new products and generate profit, and they need to get it right. But how?
Additive manufacturing, often referred to as ‘3-D printing’, is creating great excitement in advanced manufacturing. Use of the technology means that fully functional objects can be built from plastics and metal, layer-by-layer, in extraordinary detail, without the need for expensive moulding and with minimal post-processing required. Research in this area has attracted funding from governmental agencies seeking to establish a competitive advantage and offset the loss of much traditional heavy manufacturing to lower-wage regions. Such projects target increased automation, greater material and energy efficiencies, and a reduction in waste. To meet these targets, many practical challenges must be overcome—effective use of materials information will be an important success factor.