29 Jun 2010 00:00:00.000
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Using syrup to simulate the movement of magma, the team will use electrical tomography to show how it is possible to picture bubbly flows occurring inside their model volcano, and how the flow and distribution of gas links to sounds produced by these flows, which can be recorded with microphones.
Visitors will be able to see ‘eruptions’ and observe how the shapes of bubbles and sounds generated vary with the different styles of eruption. A combined audio-video-live instrument output presentation will show how the research relates to monitoring volcanoes in Italy, and how it helps us to understand the complexities of volcanoes like Eyjafjallajoekull in Iceland, which brought European air traffic to a standstill in spring 2010.
Professor Barry Azzopardi, head of the Department, said: “We’re delighted to be part of this exhibition in the year that the Society celebrates its 350th anniversary, and we’re very much looking forward to telling the visitors of our work and how it has benefits for industry as well as for natural phenomena such as volcanoes.
“It is very exciting to apply our engineering skills to new areas, working in conjunction with other top groups such as the volcanologists from the Universities of Bristol and Geneva and instrument specialists from Forschingszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf and Tomoflow Limited.”
A second Nottingham exhibit will explore the University’s world-class research into low pressure hydrogen storage, which could make it feasible for hydrogen to be used as an alternative fuel source for cars. Hydrogen has great potential as an environmentally-friendly future fuel, because it only produces water as waste, with no direct carbon emissions.
Professors Martin Schröder, Neil Champness and Sandy Blake and their team from the School of Chemistry will be using a hydrogen car, fuel cells and molecular models to explain their work to visitors.
The team create tiny molecular-sized ‘climbing frames’ — known as metal-organic frameworks or MOFs — which have very small pores to catch and store the hydrogen. These frameworks are studied in crystalline form and their experiments enable them to work out exactly where the atoms are and what the interior of the pore looks like. The crystals in question are tiny — at about 10 or 20 microns they are about a third of the size of a grain of sand. The team will be describing their work with Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron science facility, where they use an extremely intense X-ray beam that allows them to study such small crystals and so understand the mechanisms of hydrogen storage in ways not possible before.
Professor Schröder said: “Hydrogen as an alternative fuel source can only become a reality if we can successfully store it at low pressure. This is because the risk of travelling in a vehicle with a high pressured cylinder of hydrogen on board is unacceptable for most people. So the race is on worldwide for researchers to develop a metal-organic framework with a very high hydrogen storage capacity and lots of other favourable properties.”
The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition attracts thousands of visitors and is particularly popular with post-16 students, who are able to find out more about modern science and technology and talk first-hand to scientists about their research projects. The event is free and open to the public.
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Notes to editors:
The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.
The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives (www.science-city.co.uk) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.