The LightForm team participated in ScienceX, a free in-person science festival held at Manchester Central Library on 28th and 29th October, organised by Faculty of Science and Engineering at The University of Manchester. LightForm worked alongside staff and students from across the faculty to inspire children and families to discover science through hands-on activities and experiments with real scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. 

Inspired by our research, our stand “Making a sustainable bicycle” had a series of activities for children of all ages. Led by our PhD students and post-doctoral research associates, the stand addressed some fundamental principles behind our research. 

Children and families worked with our team to select a metal for their bike based on its properties by testing out blocks and rods of various metals including steel, aluminium, titanium and magnesium. 

People all ages were excited to engage and learn about metallurgy from real scientists and engineers!

We then demonstrated “computational modelling” the internal structure of the bike frame before making the bike, and how doing this could help improve the design process by reducing the amount prototypes and manufacturing required, as well as to help reduce wasting materials in these processes.

Finally, we moved on to manufacturing methods using play-dough extruders to make parts for the bike frame, and experimented with welding chocolate fingers together to construct the frame! Children and adults both got the chance to take part, and to ask our researchers about metallurgy and to find out more about material science. 

Some of the LightForm members that helped out at the stand.

Our PRDAs and PhD students really appreciated the chance to do in-person outreach (some for the first time). Our team was thrilled to see the excitement of young people as they asked questions about the world around them. We hope to further develop and build on our experience at ScienceX for future outreach events.

To learn more about ScienceX and hear about future event, please visit their website here: ScienceX Website Link.