Chemical engineering creates products that are changing lives #ichemeawards

Last month the IChemE Global Awards 2016 were held in Manchester, UK, in one of the biggest celebrations of chemical engineering achievement worldwide. Our judges had a difficult task narrowing down 16 winners from 120 amazing finalists.jr3c3275

The ceremony was held at the Principal Hotel and welcomed over 400 guests from around the world to recognise and celebrate chemical engineering success stories.

For many, success doesn’t end after collecting a trophy, but marks the starting point on a journey to excellence. An IChemE Award can take you to some unexpected places, make commercialisation easier, help to develop your team or grow your portfolio. You could even get a letter from the US President. 

So every day this week we’ll be dedicating special blog posts to the 2016 Award winners and their innovative, fascinating, problem-solving projects. With the fantastic support of Morgan Sindall we have produced a video for every one – enjoy!

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The lotus effect (Day 195)

It’s always good to hear of research receiving a funding boost and in this case the well-deserved recipient is the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany, who are about to benefit from €2.85 million (£2.25 million).

The money will go towards the further development of ‘Fluoropore’ – a new class of highly fluorinated super-repellent polymers which makes both water and oil droplets roll off.

Most coatings by design are invisible, yet offer benefits that are very evident. Keeping shoes dry, protecting ships from ice build-up, the free flow of blood via medical devices, even simply frying an onion are made easier with the right coating.

It’s amazing to think that DuPont’s Teflon® coating has been around since 1938 and is still used widely in products such as in paints, fabrics, carpets, home furnishings, clothing and more.

Fluoropore appears to be equally flexible and universal with potential applications including keeping cars clean, preventing graffiti and keeping mud off clothing and footwear.

The novel material “fluoropore” repels water (left) and oil (right). These droplets do not adhere to or wet the surface. (Photo: KIT/Rapp)

The novel material “fluoropore” repels water (left) and oil (right). These droplets do not adhere to or wet the surface. (Photo: KIT/Rapp)

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Chemical engineering’s film stars (Day 137)

London skyline

London’s evolving skyline

I was casting an eye over the evolving sky-scrape of London recently and marveled at some of the new architecture and buildings which have appeared like the Shard, the Gherkin and the Cheesegrater.

The UK is not renowned for its tall buildings, but the success of the UK’s capital and growing population (which is forecast to make it the most populous country in the European Union over the next few decades), has led to a bit of vertical thinking.

Of course, these buildings are the result of some fantastic engineering and there for everyone to enjoy – on a functional and aesthetic level.

One of the [minor] frustrations of being a chemical engineer is that not everything we do is so self-evident. In fact, some of us operate at levels no one can see, but our efforts influence some of our biggest man-made objects – and keep us safe.

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