Polymer Committee Activities

Livery Schools Link Showcase Event at Guildhall

Early on a damp March morning four Horners assembled at the Guildhall to set out our stall at the Livery Schools Link exhibition. Liz Swinbank, Barry Maunders, Mike Birrell and Denis Cruse reprised the display from last year for the third appearance of Horners at this event.

The Guildhall provided impressive surroundings to our stand, joining the 30 or so other Livery Companies represented. A combination of “pully-uppies”, horn samples (kindly selected by Georgina Scott) contrasted with plastic equivalents, and practical demonstrations comprised the display, and the banners behind the table of made a colourful and informative backdrop. Barry had brought his electrolycra experiment – a metallised polymer whose resistance changes when stretched – as shown by the speed of a fan in the circuit which slowed then speeded up as the lycra was gradually stretched (which is being employed in the form of a belt which can monitor breathing). Liz provided a method of measuring the strength of a slice of Crunchie bar to compare it with bone replacement materials, an experiment from the SHAP course. Plentiful supplies of batteries and Crunchie bars were laid in for the day.

Just before 9.45a.m. the parties of school-children arrived, ages ranging from sixth form to primary and with a corresponding range of eagerness, but many were fascinated by finding out the breaking stress of a piece of Crunchie, and the intriguing possibilities of controlling electrical devices by pulling on a length of lycra – just think what those cycling shorts could do! And this despite the attraction again of the Coachmakers stand next door, who had brought in a racing circuit working to the strains of a familiar sound-track!!

We were joined by Clive Thompson, Colin Richards, Robin Kent and Gordon Haines taking turns on the stand and showing our exhibits to waves of students and teachers. A welcome break for lunch – though only 30 minutes, was followed by a second stint on the stand talking to more teenagers and their mentors. During the day’s sessions, which ran until 4p.m., a steady stream visited the stand, some with teachers for whom we had some literature about or from SHAP, British Plastics Federation and Horners’ Science Opens Doors initiative. The testing of the lycra was non-destructive, but the same was not true of the Crunchies which disintegrated into a sugary mess, though not before showing remarkable strength – but their solubility would not make them too useful as bone replacement!

At 4.00p.m our Master and the Clerk arrived along with several others for a reception, though rather lower key than last year. The space in the Guildhall allowed, as previously, for good circulation and this made setting up and running the stand more straightforward. Much credit for this must go to Peter Cave, who has taken over from Alison Truphet, for organising and coordinating this event for the LSL.

Salters/Horners Advanced Physics

Horners continue to support SHAP though at a lower level than during the development of the material for the new curriculum which was completed in 2015.

We make awards to the top students in the SHAP A Level examinations and this year these were presented by the Master to three of the six winners at an event in the Salters Hall on 19 December.

There is more information and details about the winners here.

Horners/BPF Apprentice Award

No Award was made in 2015 because of the poor response to Cogent’s call for entries. As a result discussions were held with the British Plastics Association (BPF) to develop a renamed and new Award for 2016 which was launched on 5 October with applications invited.

Entries closed on 30 November with judging in December and the Award was presented at the Livery Companies Skills Council Awards ceremony on 13 February in the Guildhall. The winner was Reece Connolly from BASF, Bradford, with Robert Cummings of UCP Zeller, Norwich the runner-up. The Lord Mayor of London presented the Award Certificates, whilst the Master presented a Presentation Horn and cheque for £500 to the winner and a cheque for £200 to the runner-up. Kane Bentley of Amaray, Corby was awarded a Certificate of Commendation.

There is more information here

Polymer Study Tours

The three Polymer Study Tours run this year at Napier, Manchester and London Met were a great success following last year’s rather disappointing teacher numbers. The Horners contribute £10,000 each year to the cost of the Tours which together with the money from sponsors covers all the running costs. We are also indebted to the administrative support we receive from IoM3.

Comments from the teachers are always complimentary and give confidence in the continued relevance and benefits of the Tours.

There is more information here

Science Open Doors

The programme aimed at introducing pupils, teachers and parents to the opportunities arising from studying STEM subjects has visited 10 schools in 2016 with 3 more scheduled in the new year which will bring to 40 the total of schools visited since the programme commenced. The Tallow Chandlers and Paviors have again added financial support and 3 of the schools they support have been included in the programme.

Seeking to expand the programme beyond London the Horners have funded a pilot programme of school visits to 3 primary schools in Lincolnshire, undertaken by the Centre for Industry Education Collaboration (CIEC) part of the University of York, which will be completed in early 2017 and will confirm how the expansion plans will be implemented

More details can be found here.

British Science Association

Following the success of the CREST Star activities in British Science Week and the follow-up competitions over the last 3 years it was agreed with the BSA that with no new CREST Star activity planned there was a better opportunity to sponsor a polymer / plastics competition in the science quiz. The quiz is set for different age groups and a “Plastics and Science” round was included this year with 10 questions – 9 multiple choice and an open question to help choose the final winners. This was successfully run.

Discussions have taken place with the BSA to develop ideas for continuing Horners involvement in their activities. As a result the Horners have agreed to sponsor a project in BSA’s 2017 Demo Day which is an annual campaign during British Science Week (10 – 19 March 2017) that aims to inspire secondary school teachers and technicians to explore new concepts, provoke discussions and generate excitement through running science demonstrations. The Horners’ project will for the first time be targeted at primary schools and as such supports our Science Opens Doors activities.

There is more information here.

Support to IoM3 – The Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining.

Horners supported the IoM3s“Biomaterials: Bionic man fact or fiction” one day conference which was an excellent programme with polymers taking a high profile. Material from the presentations was sent to PST delegates.