Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering

The secret to serving up jellyfish

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 7 September 2017

From the early days of all-things-kale to adopting acai bowls and bibimbap, western culture is no stranger to ‘fashionable’ foods. Thanks to a team of taste scientists in Denmark, jellyfish ‘crisps’ could become a healthier alternative to the humble potato chip.

They may not be your first choice of a healthy snack, but jellyfish are a long-standing delicacy in parts of Asia. To prevent them spoiling, fresh caught jellies are preserved in a month-long salting process. Salt is added and the water content is gradually reduced, turning their ‘jelly’ solid and rubbery. This can then be shredded and rehydrated at a late date, making a protein-rich treat.

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Bradley Olsen: Designing polymers with novel features

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 5 September 2017

Chemical engineer seeks to develop and understand materials that behave in radically new ways.

Anne Trafton | MIT News

Tiny sensors made of antibodies, protein nanospheres that can clean up toxic spills, and gels that could be injected into a wound to initiate healing are just a few of the innovations emerging from Bradley Olsen’s lab at MIT.

Olsen’s research is based on exploring the physical properties of new types of polymers, and taking advantage of those properties to design novel materials that could have many useful applications.

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How algae could become the bio-fuel factories of the future

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 4 September 2017

Around 25,000 aircraft take to the skies every year. Together, they burn 1.5 billion barrels of jet fuel and pump out more than 780 million tonnes of CO2. While this accounts for only a fraction of the world’s CO2 emissions, there is a growing need for aviators to clean up their act.

One popular way to cut the CO2 from flights is to switch to alternative fuels. Sustainable biofuels are a promising candidate to shrink the industry’s huge carbon footprint.

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How chemical engineering changed the world

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 1 September 2017

Dating back to the 1600s, chemical engineers have changed the world. The industry’s roots lie in the ancient practice of alchemy, before a shift towards modern-age chemistry. While they never quite turned lead into gold, early alchemists did lead the way in manufacturing handy chemicals like sulphuric and hydrochloric acid.

Two hundred years later, George E Davis made a name for the industry with a revolutionary book. In “A Handbook of Chemical Engineering”, he noted the defining characteristics of ‘the chemical engineer’, and made the case for their distinction from chemists.

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Cycle downriver on the Thames Deckway

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 31 August 2017

Copyright 2010 River Cycleway Consortium Ltd. Early concept design Anna Hill & David Nixon 2010.

The Thames Deckway is an exciting green transport infrastructure project in London. We aim to tackle some of the big urban challenges facing our city and others like it.

With the support of Innovate UK, we are currently working towards realising our technology demonstrator in east London in 2018.

New figures from Transport for London (TfL) show that more people are cycling in the city than ever before. Despite this, currently one bicycle journey in every 515,000 ends in death or serious injury. At the same time, air pollution from vehicle emissions results in a wide range of health impacts, which significantly reduces life expectancy within the city.  Compounding on these issues, projections of future climate change paint a bleak picture. For example, with much of the transport network below ground, more than 57 tube stations would be at risk of climate induced flooding.

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Designing helicopter blades and algorithms to cut out in-flight vibrations

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 24 August 2017

Helicopters play a key role in many aspects of our modern society. They fly as air ambulances, search and rescue teams and in military operations. We also use them for urban transport and off-shore oil and gas operations. Some organisations even rely on helicopters for monitoring national electric grids.

Vibrations are one of the main considerations when designing and manufacturing rotorcraft vehicles. As well as causing damage to aircraft, excessive vibrations can result in higher fuel and maintenance costs, not to mention a bumpy ride for passengers. There are many causes of vibrations, but the prime source is the helicopter’s main rotor. In order to fly, the main rotor blades move through the air and create a force that lifts the helicopter. However, the interaction between the rotor blades and the air is very complex. As the blade moves in a circular trajectory, the aerodynamic forces change as it spins.  This causes a type of vibration that is not encountered in fixed-wing planes.

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Rethinking clean energy with ‘Caventou’

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 21 August 2017

In just one hour, our sun provides enough energy to supply the world’s electricity for an entire year. This, and many other arguments for solar energy, have made their way into people’s awareness since the 1960s. More recently, concerns over our changing climate have led to an increased interest. Yet solar power has still not been fully embraced. At the time of writing, solar power accounts for a meager 1% of total global energy production.

The technology to capture solar energy exists. Additionally, cheaper and more efficient solar cells are racing their way to industrialization., But ‘more efficient’ doesn’t always ensure adoption by consumers, homeowners and cityscapes. More importantly, adopting a green technology doesn’t always ensure green behavior by the those who use it!

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Chocolate design – who said precision engineering is boring?

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 18 August 2017

It’s not all Willy Wonka and Oompa Loompas you know. Designing chocolates is serious engineering. Just like when you made jelly as a child (or adult!), every chocolate shape is made by a mould and every mould is created by forming plastic around a metal ‘tool’.  As a result, making ‘tooling’ is at the heart of the chocolate industry.

Leigh Down, Managing Director at DPS Designs, helped bring the M&S Easter egg ‘Bendy Bob’ to life. “As you can see from our bendy friend, it can be a lot of fun and be really creative,” he said. “But behind this fun stuff is a team of engineers who need to be able to make tooling to the nearest 10 micron. That’s about five times thinner than a strand of hair!”

The team at DPS Designs have been honing their craft for over 20 years. Based in the Forest of Dean, we pride ourselves on using creativity and innovation to create fun chocolates. We challenge you to name something that we haven’t worked out how to mould in chocolate!

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