George Square Lecture Theatre, Edinburgh, EH8 9LH
"A World in a Grain of Sand"
Imagine sifting salt molecules from seawater, to provide drinking water in countries affected by climate change. Or treating vehicle surfaces to control the air or water flow and reduce fuel costs and carbon dioxide emissions. There are multiple technological areas where leveraging the interactions between the smallest constituents, right down to molecules, would open up exciting opportunities.
Designing these types of multi-scale systems is a grand challenge in science and engineering for the 21st century. A fundamental problem is that current design tools do not account for the physics that determines how these horizon technologies behave. So we cannot cycle through digital prototypes, assessing their performance, to identify the best ones to manufacture.
In this lecture I will describe recent advances in engineering analysis - across some 8 orders of magnitude in space, and 10 orders in time - which mean that ideas and designs for new products and processes can start being tested. This new kind of simulation-driven design promises to be a productive enabler of emerging technologies, propelling the UK to the cutting edge of multi-scale innovation.
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