Nanotechnology to take flight at Nottingham science event

Aeroplane in flight
14 Jun 2011 16:53:55.200
PA 188/11

Youngsters can let their imagination take flight without ever having to leave the ground at a fun science activity day taking place in Nottingham this weekend.

University of Nottingham researchers will be explaining how the science of the very small is helping to shape the aeroplanes of today and tomorrow at the Flights of Fancy event taking place in The Space at Nottingham Contemporary between 11am and 4pm on Saturday June 18.

Visitors to the free event will get the chance to explore a range of interactive exhibits focusing on how nanotechnology is playing an increasingly important role in the aero industry.
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 Activities will include:

  • A hands-on look at modern materials used for constructing aeroplanes which are both light and super strong.
  • Paper aeroplane competitions, with fly-offs every half an hour, a creative zone where youngsters can dress up as a ‘mad’ scientist and design and decorate paper aeroplanes. There'll be regular ‘fly offs’ with prizes for best flight and best looking aircraft.
  • Looking through powerful microscopes used by scientists, including optical, Atomic Force and a new technique being developed at The University of Nottingham called SRAS, which is so detailed it can show how crystals are arranged inside a material — and the chance to win a microscope.
  • Films on nanotechnology.
  • The chance for youngsters to ‘check in’, receive a passport and have it stamped as they travel around the various activities and complete a nano quiz with prizes.

The event has been funded through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s Let Nano Fly! grant, which aims to promote the use of nanotechnology and nanoscience in new aerospace developments.

Professor Matt Clark, from the Faculty of Engineering, said: “We are aiming to explore the links between science, engineering and creativity. It'll be great fun for everybody, and especially for kids.”
The event is being led by the Institute for Aerospace Technology, launched at The University of Nottingham last year with £3.6 million in funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

Aerospace represents one of The University of Nottingham’s main research priority areas and the institute lies at the heart of these activities, bringing together academics from across a wide range of disciplines.

Cutting-edge research is being undertaken on a variety of themes related to the aerospace industry including the development of new specialist materials for building aeroplanes, structural integrity, satellite navigation technologies and mechanics.

Much of the University’s aerospace research is done in collaboration with industry and strong links have been developed with a range of SMEs and major multinationals including Rolls-Royce, GE, Airbus, Boeing and BAE Systems.

— Ends —

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Matt Clark on +44 (0)7988 885 770, or Dr Jon Aylott on +44 (0)7748 964 306,


Emma Thorne Emma Thorne - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5793 Location: University Park

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Published Date
Thursday 9th December 2010

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