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Our Light Materials – University of Reading

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Our Light Materials

Release Date 01 February 2005

Plane in a molecular structureHuman history has been characterised by a drive to discover new materials with better properties which are more easily processed. The University's Public Lecture Series continues with Professor Howard Colquhoun exploring the science behind these advanced materials. The impressive Palmer Lecture Theatre is again hosting the event, where Professor Colquhoun aims to highlight some of the latest research in this fascinating field. "In the 21st century we are living an age dominated by materials which, like our own bodies, are predominantly based on the chemistry of carbon," he says. "The key finding, made in the first half of the 20th century, was that materials comprising long chains of carbon had outstanding physical strength and yet could be easily processed into fibres, films and moulded objects. "Since that initial discovery, which quickly resulted in the development of materials such as nylon, polyethylene, polyester and synthetic rubber, research in polymer chemistry has continued to yield remarkable results." Following degrees at Cambridge (MA) and London (PhD), Howard Colquhoun carried out research at the ICI Corporate Research laboratory before moving to Manchester University in 1994 as a Royal Society Industry Fellow. He was appointed to the newly-established Chair of Materials Chemistry at the University of Reading in October 2000. "The past few decades have seen the development of synthetic polymer fibres such as Kevlar®, which is as strong as high-tensile steel and yet four or five times lighter. High-melting, lightweight thermoplastics such as Victrex-PEEK® which is so strong and resistant to high temperatures is now used in the construction of high-performance aircraft." This talk is the fourth in a hugely successful series of lectures organised by the University. All the lectures are free to attend and no ticket is required. For further information, please visit the following website: or contact Alison Fabian in the University's Communications Office on (tel) 0118 378 7110 or (email) Event Public Lecture – Our Light Materials Location Palmer Lecture Theatre, Whiteknights Campus, The University of Reading Date Tuesday 8 February, 8pm End For media enquiries only, please contact Craig Hillsley, the University's press officer on: Tel. 0118 378 7388 Email

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