N E W S Professor leads world on shaky ground A University of Canterbury professor leading worldwide research into the effects of groundshaking caused by earthquakes has been presented with one of New Zealand’s top science prizes. Professor Brendon Bradley, at age 30 one of the New Zealand’s youngest professors, has been awarded the 2016 Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize. The University of Canterbury Civil and Natural Resources Engineering Professor in Earthquake Engineering receives $200,000 – $150,000 of which is to be used for further research. His research, which is already being used to set new building design codes internationally, and places emphasis on more robust designs for buildings and infrastructure of critical importance, such as hospitals, telecommunications headquarters and office blocks occupied by large numbers of workers. Several major rebuilding projects in Christchurch are being influenced by his findings, with an expected trickle-down effect as these new, advanced methods of engineering become the norm. Prof Bradley has received national and international accolades for his seismic hazard analysis and his nomination for the Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist was judged only weeks before last year’s Kaikoura earthquake. That earthquake continues to highlight the important role of earthquake scientists and engineers in NZ. Prof Bradley believes New Zealanders should focus on the social and economic disruption of earthquakes more than the risk of human casualties, which is low compared to other risks we face every day. He says we can take comfort knowing that the highquality earthquake research he and his team are doing is among the best in the world. Some of the research on engineering solutions to improve earthquake resilience is having spinoff benefits for other infrastructure operating in dayto day conditions, such as more robust electricity. 8 April 2017 Sky’s the limit with 3D printing University of Canterbury 3D printing and scanning experts are keen to show highschool pupils that with modern technology the only limit is your imagination. With the help of an Unlocking Curious Minds government grant for almost $30,000, engineering academics Dr Don Clucas and Dr Stefanie Gutschmidt will invite 60 Year 9 students and ten teachers from ten local lower decile schools to take part in a three-day workshop at the University of Canterbury (UC). The teachers and school pupils will gain first-hand experience using state-ofthe art 3D printing and 3D scanning equipment. As well as learning about exciting new technology, including virtual and augmented reality, 3D scanning and laser cutting at UC’s College of Engineering, they will get the chance to learn directly from local engineering industry experts. Previously, Dr Clucas, Senior Lecturer in Design and Manufacturing, in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UC, has 3D-printed a prosthetic foot for a penguin amputee at the Antarctic Centre, and 3D-scanned and reproduced items from UC’s priceless Logie Collection of antiquities, thousands of years old. This year, Dr Clucas and Dr Gutschmidt have moved from 3D printing ancient Greek cups and penguins feet to helping dozens of school pupils get to grips with engineering. “We know from our statistics that certain ethnic and social groups, especially from lower decile schools, and females, are significantly under-represented in our engineering intake. We know that ability wise there is no fundamental reason why these people should not be able to succeed in achieving a tertiary degree,” Dr Clucas says. With this initiative, they aim to increase diversity among future tertiary students in engineering disciplines. “Innovation through stirred curiosity and thinking is so important to our future economy and society that we need to give more encouragement and guidance to the next generation of potential engineers. With this small workshop on our turf at UC we are reaching out to pupils that may not have either the facilities that higher decile schools have or the family, peer or community support needed to successfully take on the challenge of tertiary education,” Dr Gutschmidt says. The mechanical engineering academics say the ultimate aim is to inspire and guide the young students and demonstrate that there is no fundamental reason why they cannot succeed at university, providing they prepare themselves at secondary school by studying science and maths, and keep their natural curiosity alive. “We’re not aiming at the top achieving or older students who have likely already decided their path. We want to inspire the students who are showing good promise with science, maths and technology, and could benefit from a bit of encouragement. At this stage of their studies, Year 9 students still have the chance to choose their subjects and part of our goal is to give them direction.” Dr Clucas says the decision to also include ten teachers is so that knowledge and inspiration is spread to other Year 9 pupils and older students. “We want to sustain the momentum and motivation gained from these few days. This way we capture a far greater pool of potential engineers.” The 60 students will be split into three streams: general mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering and mechatronics. Over three days, 26 - 28 April, the streams will cycle between activities, including 3D printing, virtual and augmented reality, 3D scanning and laser cutting. Each stream will also visit an engineering industry organisation featuring degree-qualified engineers working on the students’ bias topics. “We will also have industry experts giving short talks and helping with the workshops. All students will take away items they have made, and they will inspire other students at their schools.” The event will end with a prize-giving where family, whanau and caregivers can come and see what the students have achieved, Dr Clucas says. Unlocking Curious Minds is a cross-agency programme of work led by MBIE, the Ministry of Education and the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor. Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith announced the funding in February. Industry collaboration progresses NZ additive manufacturing High-tech company Rapid Advanced Manufacturing (RAM3D) in New Zealand has opened a new facility in Tauranga’s Tauriko Business Park, with the aim of making metal additive manufacturing more accessible to the Australian and New Zealand markets. RAM has been collaborating with global engineering technologies company Renishaw and, as a result, is using several AM250 metal additive manufacturing systems in its Tauranga facility. RAM3D was spun out of the research organisation Titanium Industry Development Association (now TiDA) and it has the biggest Australasian centre for 3D metal printing. RAM3D’s new facility allows companies from a range of sectors, including aerospace, defence, consumer and industrial, to explore the benefits of metal additive manufacturing. (See page 18).
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