On Friday 23 September 2011, Dr Ian Wilson gave a talk entitled "Where There’s Muck There’s Brass" as part of the Alumni Weekend.
Cleaning is something which many of us do daily yet spend little time thinking about. If you have teenagers, you'll be well aware of the difficulty of detaching days old pizza from plates found under the bed, yet the principles of cleaning that we are familiar with in the home also apply in many industries. The amount of time - and therefore money - spent on cleaning is eyewatering. Cleaning is an interdisciplinary topic, combining aspects of chemistry, surface science, fluid mechanics and mathematics.
This talk illustrated how modern experimental techniques and modelling tools have been used to improve our understanding of cleaning, and how companies make some serious brass (coin) from removing 'muck'.
Dr Wilson covered work on improving dishwashers, designing new detergents, maximising the energy efficiency of oil refineries and making sure that our food is free from bacteria or other unwanted flavourings.
The lecture theatre was packed and there was a lively question and answer session at the end.