What if your phone screen knew how to fix itself? Smart materials are designed so they they will react to changes in their environment, such as temperature, light, pressure or moisture. There is a huge range of smart materials offering different properties that can be changed, such as thermochromic materials – which change colour as the temperature changes. These are used for everything from colour changing mugs, to safety products like food packaging to show you when your food is at the right temperature. Some materials, like e-textiles, you can even wear and use to convert solar energy into power.
In this zone, you will meet one engineer inventing new surgical devices for treating diseases, one creating surface coatings to help jets land vertically on Royal Navy Air Carrier decks and one who is working to produce fresh water from waste. One engineer is making new types of solar panels and one is working with transparent materials to make touch sensors and smart windows.