This week our Year 12 & 13 Product Design students were able to meet up with Dr Simon Leigh from the University of Warwick and Iain Major from 3D Systems. Dr Leigh works in the School of Engineering, his work has been focused on developing innovative materials, machines and devices based around the technology of 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing.
Dr Leigh has developed a new material called Carbomorph, it's a very interesting polymer (plastic) composite that actually conducts electricity! Ok, there are other polymers that can do this but the really new thing about Carbomorph is that I can be printed using a 3D printer.
At Clevedon School we have been 3D printing with our students for quite a long time and Dr Leigh had heard about us through the Internet and 3D Systems (Bits from Bytes Ltd). So to cut a long story short, he gave us some Carbomorph to experiment with (even before the research paper was published, so it had to be kept secret!)
Dr Leigh came to school to explain how a new material is developed, how the research paper is published, how to make Carbomorph, how Warwick is developing 3D printing, what engineering is like at uni, and much more! Our students were fascinated!
Our students were given a challenge…. And a homework! …”What new designs can you come up with to 3D print with Carbomorph?”. This was their chance to show off their innovative thinking. The students shared their ideas in a sort of “Think Tank” session and I think Dr Leigh was amazed at what what they came up with!
Mr White was also able to demonstrate a prototype iPad stylus that used a Carbomorph tip and physical on screen “game players” for ipad games… A product developed from an idea shared by one of our Year 10 GCSE Product Design students. Something Dr Leigh and his undergraduate students hadn't thought of!
So overall this has been a fantastic opportunity for our students to take part in a University development project and it has been really enjoyed by everyone involved. A huge thank you to Dr Leigh and his colleagues at The University of Warwick for letting us join in this project.