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Issue 69

December 2016

A high-angle view of White Collar Factory by Old Street Yard.
  • Civil & structural
  • Issue 69

Built on principles: White Collar Factory

In the White Collar Factory building in ‘Tech City’ on the fringes of the City of London, engineering is changing the design of the modern urban office. Michael Stych from Arup and Rob Partridge from AKT II uncover the thinking behind this transformation.

BB-8 on the red carpet for Star Wars the Force Awakens movie premiere.
  • Arts & culture
  • Technology & robotics
  • Issue 69

Engineering personality into robots

Robots that have personalities and interact with humans have long been the preserve of sci-fi films, although usually portrayed by actors in costumes or CGI. However, as the field of robotics develops, these robots are becoming real. Find out about the scene-stealing, real-life Star Wars droids.

A heat map of a battery becoming very hot and leaking out.
  • Electricals & electronics
  • How does that work?
  • Issue 69

Lithium-ion batteries

Li-ion batteries have revolutionised modern life, through their application in consumer electronics and applications as diverse as medical implants, grid-scale storage and satellites. Recent concerns have fuelled public concern about battery safety. So how do these cells work, and what can go wrong?

A large body of water outside with a wave generator and surfers.
  • Sports & leisure
  • Maritime & naval
  • Issue 69

How to create the perfect wave

From small waves lapping at your feet and swells suitable for surfing to storm waves for testing structures and even tsunamis, waves of any shape and any size can now be engineered. What are the techniques and conditions needed to model waves and what makes some more powerful than others?

The Gobbler boat with a person on it at Southampton Port.
  • Environment & sustainability
  • Maritime & naval
  • Innovation Watch
  • Issue 69

An appetite for oil

The Gobbler boat’s compact and lightweight dimensions coupled with complex oil-skimming technology provide a safer and more effective way of containing and cleaning up oil spills, both in harbour and at sea.

An overhead pylon with power lines.
  • Civil & structural
  • Issue 69

Modular construction of nuclear power stations

Small modular reactors (SMRs) are attracting global interest. Laing O’Rourke engineers describe a research project that tested modular and manufacturable designs for nuclear civil engineering construction that could be quicker and cheaper to build than the current generation.

A five-story library building.
  • Software & computer science
  • Opinion
  • Issue 69

Data as critical national infrastructure

Once considered dry and boring, data is an important asset and at the heart of a digital society. Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt FREng, professor of Computer Science at the University of Oxford, sets out why data is a vital infrastructure that needs to be invested in, maintained and supported.

A headshot of Warren East CBE FREng.
  • Mechanical
  • Electricals & electronics
  • Profiles
  • Issue 69

Taking engineering to industry

Becoming CEO of Rolls-Royce has taken Warren East CBE FREng from electronic chips to jet engines. This change in industries isn’t as dramatic as it might seem as, after all, they both operate at the cutting edge of engineering.

A close-up of a scientist wearing goggles and a safety hat holding a small metal round object.
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Issue 69

Research with impact

The UK invests billions of pounds of public money each year in engineering research and development through universities. Professor Philip Nelson FREng, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), discusses the influence of this research.