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Bristol Composites Institute researchers successful at STEM for Britain awards

Lui Terry at STEM for Britain

Lui Terry was awarded the Cavendish Medal for Physics. Prof Valeska Ting

Andres Rivero Bracho at STEM for Britain

Andres Rivero Bracho received the Dyson Award for Outstanding Research towards a more sustainable future. Andres Rivero Bracho

10 March 2020

Three early careers researchers from Bristol Composites Institute presented their work to MPs and won two awards at the STEM for Britain event on 9 March 2020.

Harina Amer Hamzah, Andres Rivero Bracho and Lui Terry from Bristol Composites Institute had been selected to present their work at the annual STEM for Britain exhibition and poster competition. The prestigious event took place at the Houses of Parliament on 9 March 2020, during the British Science Week.

Researchers from the Bristol Composites Institute were successful in the poster competitions and won two awards: Lui Terry was awarded the Cavendish Medal for Physics and a £2,000 prize for his research into energy storage materials, and Andres Rivero Bracho won the Dyson Prize and £1,000 for his work on flexible morphing wings.

Lui commented: "I am absolutely delighted win the Cavendish gold medal. It is a real honour to receive such prestigious award from Parliament and recognition for my work on hydrogen storage and superconductivity. It is a field I am passionate about and know that one day we will be able to make real change against the climate crisis. It was great to be a part of STEM for Britain, events where both scientists and politicians can come together and discuss solutions to the burdens of the day are vital and I hope to be able to attend lots more in the future."

Lui’s research, involving the effects of nanoconfinement on hydrogen, could be used to provide extremely compact storage of hydrogen fuel for vehicles and power generators. It may also provide an alternative low energy route to room temperature superconductivity, allowing the transmission and storage of electricity with no power loss.

Andres said: "I am delighted to be awarded the Dyson Award for Outstanding Research towards a more sustainable future, as it is a perfect match to what I’m trying to achieve with my research. Our research group, led by Dr. Ben Woods, is researching morphing wings (i.e. wings that can change shape during flight in a smooth and continuous way) and our end goal is to increase the aerodynamic efficiency of aircraft. By doing so, we could reduce aircraft’s fuel consumption and noise, which would directly translate into a more sustainable and environmentally friendly industry.

I work specifically with a concept called the Fish Bone Active Camber (FishBAC) device and, during my PhD, I developed modelling tools, as well as a wing prototype that was wind tunnel tested. The engineers from Dyson pointed out that they were glad to see that we were tackling our research from different angles since we are doing modelling, prototyping and experiments. I will now continue my research as a member of the SABRE project, which is looking into morphing wings for helicopter rotorblades.”

Harina added: "My research aims at developing nanocomposites for hydrogen storage systems. At this event, I talked about how I engineer nanomaterials to make them photoresponsive, and how we could use them to trap gases such as hydrogen and carbon dioxide. I had such a great experience at STEM for Britain. It was a great honour to get to present my research to the members of the Parliament. I also enjoyed hearing about the other interesting research happening in Britain at the moment."

The aim of STEM for Britain is to encourage, support and promote Britain's early career research scientists, engineers, technologists and mathematicians, and bring them together with parliamentarians and policy-makers. 

  • Harina Amer Hamzah - Poster title: Shine the Light and Close the Windows: Engineering Smart Nanomaterials for Gas Trapping
  • Andres Rivero Bracho - Poster title: Flexible Airplanes? Achieving higher fuel efficiency by continuously adapting wing geometry
  • Lui Terry - Poster title: Confining Hydrogen: A Low Energy Route to Room Temperature Superconductivity

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