MDF transformed by laser

The appearance of MDF is being transformed to produce an expensive wood grain finish with the help of laser technology in research being carried out at Warwick University’s WMG.

 The technology will make the sometimes dull material look more attractive.

As MDF is cheaper than wood and made from recycled products the Lasercoat project could reduce the price of wood products and improve the environment.

The technology is being used by one of the country’s leading manufacturers of doors and windows.

For more see University of Warwick.   

First eye allergy centre

The country’s first Ocular Allergy Centre, based at Aston University, Birmingham, is set to take a leading role in the fight against hay fever and animal and dust allergies.

The Birmingham Science City project brings together expertise at Aston University’s Academy of Life Sciences and the University of Worcester’s National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit.

The £249,000 centre will be based at Aston University and is set to make the West Midlands the national leader in this under researched area.

For more see Aston University. 

Acting up a career in science

School pupils are going to be encouraged to take up a career in science through a play devised by University of Birmingham drama students.

The piece takes place in a world where certain products and materials do no exist, like the mobile phone, the MP3 player, MSN and even plastic. 

Through a lack of everyday items in the central character’s life, the audience is encouraged to imagine a world where anything is possible – they are shown that the imagined can be made real through scientific innovation and development. 

For more details see University of Birmingham

Saving Kenyan crops

The widespread destruction of two key food crops in Kenya caused by a leaf disease could be prevented as a result of research being carried out at Warwick University.

The joint study will look at breeding kale and cabbage that are resistant to the Black Rot disease.

The vegetables are two of the most important crops in the Kenyan economy, as well as other east African states, but entire harvests are often wiped out by the seed-borne disease.

 For more see the University of Warwick.

UK’s ‘first’ birth care education professor

The University of Worcester has appointed what is thought to be the UK’s first professor of perinatal education.

Professor Mary Nolan has an international reputation in antenatal care and specifically the perinatal period, which covers the care for baby, mother and family, immediately before and after birth.

She will be working with trainee nurses, psychologists and midwives within the Institute of Health, Social Care and Psychology at the University.

For more see the University of Worcester.

A pain in the back study

A new research programme is set to start looking in to common ailments involving chronic pain like back problems.

The study at the Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences at Keele University will look at the patterns of such problems to try and improve treatment.

Dr Kate Dunn will also look at how patients’ families influence their health and specifically study if back pain runs in the family.

For more details see Keele University.

Boffin gets into gear for race and rally car roll cage venture.

Phil BoffinAn entrepreneur called Phil Boffin has emerged as the brains behind a niche start-up company making safety roll cage kits for rally cars in an area dubbed “Motor Sport Valley”.

Just six months after launching BMS Engineering, Phil, aged 48, can lay claim to one of his kits being installed in the Subaru Impreza WRC driven by Norwegian Petter Solberg, generally acknowledged as one of the world’s best rally drivers.

Phil has set up his business in Broad Lane on the western side of Coventry in the heart of the European motor sport development zone, with the help of a £40,000 SFIE (Selective Finance for Investment in England) grant from regional development agency Advantage West Midlands. The funding has contributed to a state-of-the-art £93,000 Addison McKee CNC tube bending machine – the “engine room” of BMS’s 1800 sq ft workshop.

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