Breadcrumbs

Royal Society lecture - developing natural fibre composites

6 March 2019

Professor Kim Pickering, from the University of Waikato's School of Engineering, will present aspects of her research to a Hawke's Bay audience in early April.

Composite materials commonly contain glass fibre with a matrix, making them strong and stiff. These properties mean they are valuable materials for constructing items such as bath tubs, shower cubicles, skateboards, surfboards, furniture and even bridges.  However, creating these composites requires a high input of energy, and they are not recyclable or biodegradable. Professor Pickering will present some of her work on high performance composites from more sustainable materials.

Kim received her PhD in composite materials in 1993 from the University of Surrey, following on from her first degree from Imperial College, University of London and industrial work in the electronic materials sector (Plessey UK). She moved to NZ shortly after, where she formed, and heads, the Composites Research Group in the School of Engineering at the University of Waikato.

Her work involves understanding the failure mechanisms of materials to enable improvement of their performance. She has researched extracting and using the fibres from hemp, wood and harakeke (New Zealand flax), to make strong and lightweight composite materials. She has also developed bio-derived plastic matrix materials to enable production of fully bio-derived composites, along with bio-processing technology for their improvement.

In recognition of her research, Kim was elected as a Fellow of Engineering New Zealand and is a Kudos Award recipient. In 2017 she was awarded the Scott Medal by the Royal Society Te Apārangi, for development of composite materials that are more sustainable.

Date: Thursday 4 April at 6 pm

Venue: EIT Taradale, Lecture Theatre 2 (signposted from the gate)

Admission: Members of the public are welcome. Gold coin donation

Please direct all inquiries to secretary@hawkesbay.rsnzbranch.org.nz

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