This is the North West heat of the competition with a cash prize for the winner. The winner will go onto the National final to represent the North West.
1. Josh Turner (local heat winner, Cumbria)
Exploring Inorganic Main Group Polymers
The use of polymers permeates our modern lives in such a way that any attempt to consider a world without them is unthinkable. Curiously though, the vast majority of the polymers in use today have backbones derived from only a handful of elements.
What about synthesising polymers out of other elements of the periodic table, perhaps other elements from the main group? Over the last 30 years, a number of polymers have been reported where the backbone has been derived from other main group
elements. How far have we come and what are the key challenges faced? From polyaminoboranes to polysilanes, this lecture will give an overview of the area, with specific attention placed on the story of polyphosphinoboranes,and polyphosphazenes.
These two examples compare stories of technologies at different stages of development.
2. Qian Chen (local heat winner, Manchester)
Laser process for rapid manufacture of mesoscopic perovskite solar cells
The utilization of photovoltaic (PV) technology has been considered as a promising solution to tackle the major challenge of the finite supply of fossil fuels and global environmental issues. Recently, perovskite solar cells (PSCs) have become one of
the hottest topics in the field of PV research due to their rapid increases of power conversion efficiency (PCE) beyond 22% and relatively low fabrication cost. Up to date, PSCs based on the mesoscopic layers have achieved highest efficiency and
excellent stability among various structures. However, conventional fabrication of mesoscopic structure requires high-temperature heating processes that are considerably time-consuming, and limited the fabrication of integrated or multi-functional
devices on the same substrate.
In this talk, we present a newly developed fibre laser process, in The University of Manchester, to fabricate both mesoporous and compact TiO2 films on ITO-glass for PSCs, without damaging the substrate or surrounding materials. This process
was carried out in ambient atmosphere with a significant reduction of processing time (from 2 h to 1 min) compared to the furnace treatment. The use of the fibre laser with wall-plug efficiency over 40% offers an economically-feasible, industrial
viable solution to the challenge of rapid fabrication of large scale, mass production of mesoscopic PSCs and integration of multifunctional devices.
3. Patricia Liddicott (Sellafield Ltd)
Extending life of an evaporator vessel through testing, inspection, modelling and analysis
Assessment of ageing nuclear plant and subsequent plant lifetime extension poses a significant challenge to plant managers. This is particularly the case for vessels supporting reprocessing operations where the challenge of operating and
working conditions, i.e. high radiation, is combined with lack of access for conventional inspection and repair techniques. This case study focuses on the remnant life assessment of Evaporator C, a strategically important vessel required
to support Sellafield Limited’s hazard reduction strategy. The paper provides a brief history of plant operations and the assurance required to ensure safe continued operations.
Laboratory scale corrosion testing using simulants was used to predict the corrosion performance of the stainless steel for construction of the vessel and its internal heating/cooling components. On deploying bespoke ultrasonic testing
equipment into the heating/cooling coils, discrepancies were identified between predicted and observed corrosion rates. A significant program of modelling and simulation work was initiated to determine the conditions within the evaporator:
this included thermal models to assess heat transfer and confirm the nature of boiling within the vessel; structural analyses to assess the effects of areas of observed thinning and determine minimum wall thicknesses; and statistical
analyses to identify how to deal with numerous variables. Further corrosion studies to assess the effects of various oxidative species were undertaken, including the use of large-scale test rigs to simulate the hydrostatic head and other
conditions within the vessel.
This work has led to improved life expectancy for Evaporator C through better understanding of the corrosivity of highly active liquors, heat transfer characteristics and structural integrity of the vessel resulting in changed operational
procedures and enhancing confidence that operations can continue safely.