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Collingwood engineers support Stem Event

12 July 2017
Naval engineers recently provided support to the local community when they provided a stand at the ‘Chemistry at Work’ day at Winchester Science Centre.

As ambassadors for STEM (Science Technology Engineering Maths), Lieutenant Kieran Lewis and Petty Officer Alan Bates of the Weapon Engineering Training Group HMS Collingwood, together with Engineering Technician Steven Morris from HMS Daring, were asked to attend the event.

Petty Officer Bates said “The day was to show people the interesting ways chemistry is used in the workplace for various different reasons.

“As the only way we use chemistry in the Weapon Engineering environment is with explosives, our display centred around various types of explosives and how we use them in different ways.

We decided to show the science bit; fire triangle, explosive train and how an explosion propagates through a material

Petty Officer Alan Bates

“We decided to show the science bit; fire triangle, explosive train and how an explosion propagates through a material (using match boards), together with the RN uses of explosives including 4.5 breakdown, where we talked about HEAT, HESH and propellants.

“This all culminated in a demonstration about propellants and how we can achieve different effects by restricting or opening the aperture that it fires through using Mentos and Coke bottles (lots and lots of Coke bottles).

“We received very good feedback throughout from staff, teachers and most importantly, students, some even saying it was the highlight of their day, with teachers consistently saying they wish they had had something like this when they were at school as it would’ve influenced their career choices greatly.” 

The Chemistry at Work Day was hosted by the STEM Team at Winchester Science Centre, and was supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The Chemistry at Work events aim to inspire students to appreciate the relevance and societal importance of chemistry, and consider a future career in the chemical sciences.

The aim was for the students to take in a series of interactive workshops delivered by STEM professionals, to highlight how chemistry is used within the STEM industry.

Prior to the workshops, the students were treated to a chemistry show where the resident and ever-talented Dr Ben Littlefield focussed on catalysts and how they can make lives easier by speeding up reactions with some exciting results. 

After workshops and lunch, students were treated to the keynote careers talk by Ian Dunne which involved impromptu experiments and demonstrations. The day culminated in a fabulous planetarium show in the largest standalone indoor planetarium in the country.

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