A fourth win in a row for Birmingham at Frank Morton 2018

There’s only one thing on your mind in February if you’re a UK chemical engineering student. Nope, not Pancake Day, not Valentine’s, not even your exams or Final Design Project (okay maybe that’s on your mind a little). It’s the Frank Morton Sports Day!

The annual gathering is special because it is just for them, chemical engineering students from up and down the UK. One day to get to know prospective employers, compete with rival Universities in sports from hockey to chess, all rounded off by a night of entertainment.

University of Leeds took on the monumental task of hosting this year, with a committee of eight students. The Frank Morton Sports Day is a huge undertaking for the students, who find time to organise a sports competition, careers fair, and night out for more than 2,000 students – all whilst studying.

The event was generously supported by Essar Oil, Total Lindsey Oil Refinery, AstraZeneca, Essar, GSK, Pfizer, Phillips 66 and TeachFirst. IChemE was also there to support the event, and invited students to participate in I’m a Chemical Engineer, Get Me Out of Here! 

Like the TV Show (I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!), IChemE had designed it’s own Bushtucker Trials, and competition was fierce to make the High Scoreboard. Individuals participated in Critter Chaos – digging for IChemE stars wearing oven gloves in a mound of spiders, snakes and jungle debris. In true sporting spirit, the team game gave contestants a chance to become ball boys, with a twist – they could only pick them up using straws.

Students test their skills in IChemE’s Bushtucker trial Critter Chaos

Congratulations to Adam Raut and Alex De-Koning, University of Edinburgh – winners of our team game. They soared ahead by sucking up 55 ping pong balls in one minute. University of Bath’s Arjun Wadhwa managed to find 45 stars in the same time, and took the Critter Chaos crown.

They win an Amazon voucher each and a personalised I’m a Chemical Engineer, Get Me Out of Here! T-Shirt. Check out the IChemE team styling out theirs:

The IChemE team at Frank Morton

There was a plethora of sports for all 26 universities to participate in this year, including; badminton, basketball, chess, climbing, dodgeball, football, frisbee, funrun, hockey, laser quest, pool, quidditch, rounders, rugby, squash, table tennis, tennis and ultimate frisbee.

In the overall sporting event, third place went to Leeds and Bath. Leeds won table tennis and basketball; while Bath took the lead position in badminton and dodgeball.

Imperial College London and University of Strathclyde came in joint second place, each accumulating 14 points. Imperial College secured the top spots in chess, the fun run (which was based on the average time for the whole team) and climbing – a new sport for the year. Strathclyde, who had travelled through the night to attend the sports day, won the football and rugby.

Birmingham win overall at the sports day

But, for the fourth year in a row, the University of Birmingham were declared winners at the Frank Morton closing ceremony, and presented with the coveted trophy by IChemE Director Andy Furlong.

The university took the top spot in ultimate frisbee, quidditch, hockey, pool and tennis, and accumulated 25 points.

Not forgetting of course, the T-shirt Competition. Frank Morton is known for every University designing and wearing quirky T-shirts, often featuring chemical engineering-related humour. But this year University of Strathclyde took first prize with their pirate-themed t-shirt doning the equation for walking the ‘planck’.

Strathclyde win the t-shirt competition

The evening then continued late into the night. Various DJ’s accompanied the ‘Festival’ element of the evening, which included fairground rides and new music from Leeds Student Radio. This was followed by a club night, featuring Mistajam and various other DJs.

Callum Birkin, a student from University of Birmingham, said: “I’ve had a great day. The atmosphere has been really good. I know not everyone is so happy about it, I think it’s good that Birmingham have won.”

Speaking shortly after presenting the trophy to a jubilant Birmingham team captain against a backdrop of raucous celebration, IChemE Director, Andy Furlong, said: “The Frank Morton Sports Day has been running for more than half a century and it’s a rite of passage for undergraduate chemical engineers. This year they played hard; and as usual they are set to party hard too.

“IChemE is delighted to be in the mix but we don’t want to take any of the credit away from the student committee at Leeds who delivered another great day out for competitors from every corner of the British Isles.

“Big thanks go to out to Ethan, Kimberly and the team for delivering such a spectacular success. Months of planning and hard work must be fitted in around the weekly routine of lectures, labs and assessments; and that’s no easy task.  But it’s an unbeatable experience, and one that will stand them in good stead in the future. They did Frank proud!”

The Leeds committee delivered a fantastic event, and we’d like to give them a special mention in this post. Well done to…

University of Leeds Committee

Matthew Powders – Bid Lead/President

Ethan Errington – Sponsorship Coordinator

Kimberley Pavier – Event Treasurer

Jiara Rama – University Liaison

Lucia Vilajoana-Ricon – Sports Organiser

Abdullah Ali – Opening Ceremony

James Storrow – Closing Ceremony

Georgia Panayi – Evening Entertainment

Daniel Vincent – Secretary

Ethan Errington, from the Leeds committee, said: “This year saw the welcomed return of Frank Morton to Leeds – marking the 10-year anniversary since its last appearance on the University campus. To celebrate, Leeds did things differently – introducing climbing as a new competitive sport and hosting, for the first time ever, the well-received Frank Morton Festival.

“On behalf of the entire organising committee, I would like to thank everybody that participated and those who worked hard to ensure the smooth running the event, making the day such an unforgettable experience. Perhaps in 2019 we can finally see Birmingham knocked from their throne…”

They will shortly be accepting bids from Universities looking to host the event in 2019. We’ll keep you posted on the result.

Frank Morton Sports Day 2018 – Competition Winners

Competition Winner Runner-Up
Football Strathclyde Leeds
Hockey Birmingham Strathclyde
Tennis Birmingham Imperial
Rugby Strathclyde Birmingham
Ultimate Frisbee Birmingham Bath
Quidditch Birmingham Sheffield
Rounders Aberdeen Heriot-Watt
Fun Run Imperial Heriot-Watt
Table Tennis Leeds Bath
Chess Imperial Birmingham
Badminton Bath Strathclyde
Dodgeball Bath Cork
Squash Manchester Birmingham
Climbing Imperial Heriot-Watt
Netball Newcastle Nottingham
Basketball Leeds Heriot-Watt
Laser Quest Aberdeen Leeds
Pool Birmingham Chester

Frank Morton Sports Day 2018 – League Table

Birmingham 25
Strathclyde 14
Imperial College 14
Leeds 11
Bath 11
Heriot-Watt 10
Aberdeen 6
Manchester  5
Newcastle  3
Chester  2
Swansea  2
Sheffield  2
Cork IT  2
Nottingham  2

View the Frank Morton 2018 photo gallery.

Check out the event’s social media highlights on Storify.



Creating products to Goldilocks’ standard (Day 342)

goldilocksMost people, in the UK at least, will be familiar with the fairy tale of ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears‘, where Goldilocks, a young girl, seeks out products that are not too strong and not too weak – aiming for ones that are ‘just right’.

This is the aim of chemical engineers who work on the development and delivery of consumer products. There is a strong focus on achieving a consistent outcome that the customer deems to be ‘just right’.

I recently attended a talk given by Professor David York, Chair of Structured Particulate Products, from the University of Leeds, UK, on how to convert commodities into high value components.

David described how science and engineering are applied to transform household detergents into higher value specialty products. He went on to explain how improved consumer satisfaction is being delivered by creating a washing product that leaves an appealing fragrance on freshly laundered clothes.

David and his team achieved this by creating a product that deposits perfume micro-capsules onto fabric during the wash cycle. The capsules subsequently fracture and release a pleasing odour in controlled doses.

Continue reading Creating products to Goldilocks’ standard (Day 342)

Chemical engineering meets geology (Day 201)

StalagmitesA dark, damp, eerie cave with dripping water and furtive noises echoing through an underground chamber may seem an unusual source of inspiration for a bit of chemical engineering, but today’s blog illustrates that ideas can come from anywhere.

I’m sure you’re familiar with stalagmites and stalactites – those spiky, rocky formations that grow up from the ground and drop down from the roof of caves.

Geologists have known for a while how these form and have established mathematical models for their formation.

Interestingly, stalagmite formation is an issue in nuclear processing plants industry and researchers have used some of the knowledge from geologists to create a versatile model to predict how these stalagmite-like structures form.

The main point of the research is to is to reduce the number of potentially harmful manual inspections of nuclear waste containers.

Continue reading Chemical engineering meets geology (Day 201)