The next Forum will be held on Tuesday 20th June 2017. The afternoon programme will include the award of the Armourers & Brasiers’ Materials Science Venture Prize and the 19th Kelly Lecture. In 2016, the Forum attracted not only an academic audience, but representatives from some 50 manufacturing companies.
The 19th Kelly Lecture
Bulletproof Custard: Discontinuous Shear Thickening in Very Dense Suspensions
Professor Mike Cates FRS, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, University of Cambridge
Very dense suspensions can undergo a sudden jamming transition from a fluid to a solid state known as discontinuous shear thickening(DST). As I will demonstrate, this leads to remarkable material properties that can easily be observed by adding a small amount of water to cornstarch (or custard powder) to make a smooth paste. DST cansometimes be exploited, for instance to make bullet-proof vests. More often, it is a serious nuisance when processing particle-laden fluids: maximizing the solid content risks catastrophic equipment failure. I will summarize recent advances in our physical understanding of DST, which, despite its discontinuous nature, can be explained by a smooth increase in the average friction at interparticle contacts when stress is increased. This understanding offers a clear strategy for decreasing or even eliminating the risk of jamming. However, difficulties arise when translating this new qualitative understanding into a quantitative theory, and if time allows, I will outline some of these difficulties.
Promoting Materials Science to Industry and Academia
The Armourers and Brasiers' Cambridge Forum is held annually at the Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy in Cambridge with the aim of raising the profile of materials science in the UK academic and industrial communities, while being international in scope. The Forum attracts high-level involvement from industry, research councils and other influential bodies. It incorporates the Kelly Lecture and the Gordon Seminars, inaugurated in 1999 to mark the opening of the Gordon Laboratory in the Department. It is generously supported by the Armourers and Brasiers' Livery Company and nine other sponsors.