The Perse School

Sixth Form Pupils win top Armourers and Brasiers Tata prizes

16 Dec 2016

Upper Sixth Form students Stuart MacGregor and James Cheng have been awarded top prizes from the Armourers and Brasiers Tata Sixth Form Materials competition.

Prize finalists Stuart MacGregor and James Cheng, gave presentations at the Guildhall in London earlier this month.

Stuart won the prize for best Portfolio (with a cheque for £500) and James Cheng was awarded a runner up prize (£250). The School received a £500 prize for Stuart’s work.

Stuart MacGregor explains more:

“During December, James Cheng and I were invited to Armourers’ Hall in the City of London as two of six finalists for the Armourers and Brasiers Tata Sixth Form Materials Prize. Upon arrival at their magnificent Guildhall, we gave presentations on the research topics that we had prepared as part of an extra-curricular course which we completed in the Lower Sixth.

I had researched the nickel super alloy turbine blades used in jet engines discovering how their microstructure allowed them to operate safely and for extended periods of time at extremely high temperatures and under huge rotational stresses.

These remarkable blades use advanced design and materials technology to achieve the seemingly impossible feat of operating in an environment above the melting point of the main materials in the blade. Other finalists presented on a range fascinating topics that included phosphine and its uses in electronics, and the potential uses of metallic hydrogen together with the problems faced in its creation.

It was a privilege, and somewhat daunting, to present my work to highly experienced material scientists and members of the Guild, with whom we also had the opportunity to meet while the judges deliberated. Visiting the splendid nineteenth century Armourers Hall was an incredible experience. We were given a tour and a fascinating presentation by leading metallurgist Professor Sir Harry Bhadeshia on his research into ‘impossible’ steel.

I was delighted to win an award for best research portfolio. As a result, the Institute of Minerals and Mining will visit the School next year.”


The Armourers and Brasiers Sixth Form Materials Prize is designed to support schools in encouraging students to develop a sustained interest in STEM careers.
The competition provides structured opportunities for students in Year 12, who are studying at least one post-16 course in a STEM subject, to find out more about Materials Science and Engineering and to enhance and enrich their studies.

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