Connecting with our student membership at Frank Morton 2019

FM - team photoLast week we travelled down to the University of Sheffield to chat with chemical engineering students from all over the UK, at the Frank Morton Careers Fair.

The event provides us with a great opportunity to engage with students and host some friendly competition of our own. This year the IChemE stand was transformed into a Harry Potter theme, with photo props, our own IChemE every-flavour-beans, and Quidditch Beaker Pong.

Students took it in turn to play, and with five ping-pong balls each had to get the highest score they could. The balls had to travel through a gold Quidditch hoop, bounce once, and land in one of the chemistry beakers to get points. Serena, part of our Member Communities team, was on-hand to spot any cheaters!

In the end, Assekan Bali from University of Wolverhampton got the high score with 45 points. She wins an Amazon voucher and coveted ‘Yer a Chemical Engineer, Harry’ T-Shirt.

fm4We also had chance to visit some of the employer sponsors who were on-hand to provide practical advice and information about graduate placements to the 2,000 students who filled Sheffield’s Octagon Centre. They included 3M, AstraZeneca, Bechtel, GSK, Johnson Matthey, Phillips 66, Total, Unilever and Wood.

The Careers Fair precedes the Frank Morton Sports Day, an annual event for chemical engineering students where they compete against each other to be crowned champions of undergraduate chemical engineering. Competitions range from the more traditional, such as football and netball, to the more alternative, with this year including an Escape Room challenge.

fm1The University of Newcastle came in third, winning the Netball and doing well at the Escape Room and Dodgeball. Sheffield, determined not to be embarrassed on their home turf, took home second prize after coming top in the Tug of War, Fun Run, Men’s Rowing.

But the University of Birmingham triumphed yet again and took home the coveted Frank Morton Trophy for the fifth time in a row. They had a number of successes on the day, winning in Ultimate Frisbee, Darts, Dodgeball and Pool.

Every year at Frank Morton students put their creative skills to the test and design special t-shirts for their teams. The University of Manchester won the T-Shirt Competition this year, with their clever chemical engineering take on Ariana Grande’s smash-hit single, ‘Thank U, Next’.

The evening then continued late into the night, with entertainment to suit all tastes.

Committee President, David Miller commented:

“Frank Morton returned to Sheffield for the first time since 2003 as a smashing success. The great variety of evening entertainments were of particular note with everything from cinema, jazz, gaming and mocktails through to a bar crawl, Scott Mills, Karaoke and our very own DJ Soc. On behalf of the committee I’d like to give a big thank you to everyone involved in ironing out the hiccups of the day, especially to our amazing Student Union.”IMG_1426

Of course, the special thing about Frank Morton is that it is organised by chemical engineering students, for chemical engineering students. It is a significant undertaking to balance around studying, but can be advantageous in the future in terms of boosting your CV. The students on the Sheffield Frank Morton Committee shined this year, putting on a great event for everyone to enjoy. Well done to them all:

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David Miller – Committee President
Joel Kirk – ChemEngSoc Liaison
Alex Castling – Secretary
Dimitris Koutris – Treasurer
Zak Nicholls and Sophia Van Mourik – Sports Coordinators
Eve Rosser – Entertainment and Catering Coordinator
Yashodh Karunanayake – Sponsorship Coordinator
Greg Ouseley – External University Liaison
Ellie Langshaw – Transport and Logistics Coordinator
Usman Anwar – Ceremonies Coordinator:

…not forgetting the University of Sheffield Student’s Union which helped to ensure it all ran like clockwork.

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

View the Frank Morton 2019 photo gallery here. Some of these photos were taken by Adam Harris, follow him on Instagram here.

Here’s why chemical engineers make a difference (Day 318)

shout outOne of the central messages in my presidential address was the resolute assertion that chemical engineers should stand up and speak out.  We need to tell the world about the difference that we make.

I’ve been repeating this mantra pretty much ever since. Indeed that’s the driving purpose behind this blog.

But there’s a key consideration in all of this that engineers of all types frequently overlook.  We have to talk to the public in a language that they understand. This sometimes proves challenging because let’s be honest, some of the stuff that we do is pretty complicated.

Thirty years ago we could get away with fobbing people off with the argument that “it’s over your head; don’t worry; leave it to us…” But that won’t wash today. We have a duty to explain what we do and we must be able to explain things simply and lucidly.

Continue reading Here’s why chemical engineers make a difference (Day 318)

Sheffield students win Caribbean field trip (Day 298)

BP logo - BP Hummingbird...BP has been asking STEM undergraduate students across the UK to compete in their annual Ultimate Field Trip competition Since 2010. Teams of three students are asked to propose a solution to real-world global energy challenges.

This year’s challenge was based on water – How to address the effective, efficient and sustainable use of wastewater from the production of oil, gas and biofuels.

Students were tasked with developing a novel technical solution to reduce water usage or find an effective use for water produced from operations.

trinidad and tobagoIt’s hats off to the team from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Sheffield, UK, who ran-away with the 2015 prize – a two week field trip to visit BP operations in Trinidad and Tobago.

Continue reading Sheffield students win Caribbean field trip (Day 298)

Chemical engineering students and the perfect pint (Day 294)

beerThe Students’ Union bar sometimes proves a more attractive option than completing that tricky course work and I have often wondered if extra-curricular high jinks might be the reason behind some of the dazed expressions that greeted me during the dreaded 9 o’clock Monday morning lecture.

But given that brewing is one of the earliest examples of chemical process engineering, maybe we shouldn’t be too hard on those who enjoy the end product.  Nonetheless, beer like many other chemically engineered products is best enjoyed in moderation!

Chemical engineers are still working to improve the brewing process and today I am highlighting the work of students from Newcastle University, UK and the University of Sheffield, UK, who have shown great entrepreneurial spirit and brewed their own beer.

Stu Brew, is a sustainable microbrewery managed by students for students. It was set up in partnership with the School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials at Newcastle University. The microbrewery acts as a research unit for sustainable brewery design, with some students involved as part of their academic studies.

Continue reading Chemical engineering students and the perfect pint (Day 294)

Chemical engineering research matters (Day 245)

As an academic, I know that chemical engineering matters in the research space. And IChemE recognises the importance of forums and meetings where chemical engineering researchers can share their work with their peers.

One such important UK research meeting for chemical engineers is the annual ChemEngDayUK conference.

ChemEngDayUK 2015
ChemEngDayUK 2015

This event brings together researchers, engineers and scientists from chemical engineering departments across the UK to showcase their latest technological advances and research to leading experts within the field.

There is also specific emphasis placed on collaboration between academia and industry.

In 2015, the third annual ChemEngDayUK conference will hosted by the chemical and biological engineering department at the University of Sheffield.

Continue reading Chemical engineering research matters (Day 245)

Spray-on solar cells (Day 81)

Blue and yellow sprayAs we advance our knowledge of renewable energies is it important that we are able to reduce the cost of producing them, to make them affordable and widely available.

In an earlier blog I discussed charities working to alleviate energy poverty by building a new economy around solar power.

Researchers from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Department of Physics and Astronomy have developed a method to produce spray-on perovskite solar cells.

This is very exciting as it offers a way of developing a low-cost method of producing solar energy cells.

Continue reading Spray-on solar cells (Day 81)

Poems and posters (Day 15)

Catalytic PoemI’m not too sure how many scientists collaborate with poets, but that’s just what’s happened in Sheffield, UK.

Simon Armitage, Professor of Poetry at the University, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Science Professor Tony Ryan, have created a catalytic poem (I think we can safely say this is a world’s first… but you never know).

So what is a catalytic poem? Well, between the pair of them, they’ve produced a huge poster of the poem called ‘In Praise of Air’. The poster material contains a formula invented at the University of Sheffield which is capable of purifying its surroundings.

Continue reading Poems and posters (Day 15)