1. Showcasing the science behind 3M materials
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    Showcasing the science behind 3M materials

    December 22, 2016
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    Showcasing the science behind 3M materials

    An event held at 3M Centre brought together more than 100 business leaders, engineers, scientists and students with a keen interest in materials science and design.

    Showcasing the science behind 3M materials

    An event held at 3M Centre brought together more than 100 business leaders, engineers, scientists and students with a keen interest in materials science and design.

    Showcasing the science behind 3M materials

    An event held at 3M Centre brought together more than 100 business leaders, engineers, scientists and students with a keen interest in materials science and design.

    • Ben Watson

      Members of the MaDE (Materials and Design Exchange) partnership had the chance to see 3M materials science in action during a visit to the company’s headquarters in Bracknell, Berkshire, on 2 December.

      Dr Robert Quarshie, head of Materials at Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network, introduced the event and explained that MaDE is a partnership that connects materials science and design to stimulate innovation.

      He handed over to Dr Phil Kennedy, senior lab manager, external and digital Innovation, who spoke about 3M’s culture of innovation, technology platforms and global reach and how the company collaborates with customers to invent ground-breaking solutions.

      A spotlight on 3M materials followed with Technical Service specialist, Andy Fish, speaking about the science behind 3M’s retroreflective materials that make traffic signs highly visible and advanced technical specialist, Dr Antonio Pagliuca, explaining how 3M adhesive solutions can be used for multi-material bonding.

      3M Innovation leader, Dr Ben Watson, then gave a presentation on Intelligent Transport Materials, a new global business created to develop the materials and infrastructure systems that will be needed to support automated, or driverless, cars.

      Ben said: “Estimates vary, but some experts believe that, by 2020, 10 per cent of vehicles on the road will be level two automated and that 75 per cent of all new cars will be fully autonomous by 2040. These timelines change significantly from varied sources, however, we are already seeing cars on the road with some automated features, such as traffic jam chauffeur technology, and fully automated vehicles is the natural progression.

      “Our new business is looking at how we can combine 3M’s expertise in areas such as microreplication, computer vision, sensors and software analysis to develop not only human readable, but also machine readable road markings and signage. We believe that these new technologies will improve safety and security for road users and the transportation network and will also support wayfinding and optimise traffic flow.”

      Delegates later enjoyed a tour of 3M’s Customer Innovation Centre and saw some of the company’s innovations, ranging from digital stethoscopes for earth-bound doctors to listen to the heartbeats of astronauts to concrete material so light that it floats, first-hand.

      Ben added: “Sharing insights with other scientists, engineers, designers and the technology leaders of the future is a great way to drive creative collaboration and we are delighted that MaDE - whose founding members include the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining; the Institution of Engineering Designers; Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network; Loughborough University; and the Royal College of Art - chose 3M to host its latest networking event.”

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