• The Recycling Battery Project has gone really well thanks to your excellent pack and box of resources.
  • The children thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the lessons. I particularly liked the links with Scientists from the university as it gave the children an insight into where Science education can take them in the future. The PowerPoint presentations were a really helpful teaching resource too.
  • The children’s interest was captured well with the letter asking them to investigate the different strengths of glue. They really developed their investigation skills through this task. They loved using the term ‘anomaly’ when a result wasn’t expected. They suggested that next time, every crisp packet needs to be the same brand and size, the cleaning of the bags needs to be more thorough, the amount of glue applied needs to be exact. ( even though we tried), the speed at which the marbles were added needs to be the same and the way the bags were taped to the table needs to be more exact.  I was so impressed with how critical they were of their approach to the investigation. Pritt stick was found to be the strongest glue which surprised me.
  • The tasks were given a real purpose and each lesson linked together well.  We’ve learnt so much about lithium ion batteries as the lessons brought them to life (with the help of crisp packets!)
  • The lemon battery activity was their favourite. They were delighted to see the bulbs light. They had so many questions about other fruits so we tested bananas, oranges, melons, limes and kiwis. I had no idea if it would work and explained to the children that usually I know the out come of investigations but this was all new for me too. I warned them that nothing may happen and that’s just how science is. It made them feel like they were on the cutting edge of Science! The excitement and gasps when all the fruit powered the bulbs has to be one of my favourite teaching moments of all time!
  • The car packs were wonderful and I gave them no direction so it was interesting to see how the children used the instructions and their initiative. It was a great way to complete the project and they loved working in teams to produce  a working car.
  • In our school we have a corridor where we display our writing. We decided to create a display based on the project so I’ve included photos of that too.
  • It’s an excellent resource and I can highly recommend it! We would love to be part of any future projects and really appreciate the continued links you have with our school. 


The Applied Materials Group committee have organized a series of webinars to be held this summer with a broad theme of “value from waste” in order to highlight technology areas to our Interest Group members that require applied materials chemistry knowledge. The series will take a closer look at specific challenges that are at the frontier of research in the areas of waste and recycling, with a view to inspiring our network members to move into some of these areas and contribute towards the research challenges that lie ahead for materials sustainability. The committee hope that our knowledge and experience in applied materials chemistry will inspire members to contribute towards solving the shortcomings in existing technologies.

This webinar focuses on value form waste in the construction industry. The webinar will focus on the decline (and continuation of decline) of coal power and the effect of this on recycled concrete production, and discussion into mining for coal ash deposits and the challenges associated with implementing this on a societal scale. Further, movements towards reducing the carbon footprint of concrete will be discussed. Crossover between these two themes will be covered in a panel discussion.

The webinar will be held on 23 October 2020, 1100-1400. A registration link is here.



The Power of Recycling - the story of a lithium ion battery


This curriculum-linked STEM-based resource for 9-11 year olds and their teachers tells the story of lithium ion car batteries and the recycling process. Through simple models and activities, the children are introduced to how these batteries work, what they contain and why they should be recycled.


The resource comprises practical activities including:


  • using everyday materials to build a model of a lithium ion cell and battery
  • a challenge to separate a variety of everyday materials modelling real industrial processes
  • an investigation
  • a quiz and games


As the children complete the activities, they keep an ongoing record of what they have achieved in a ‘passport’. Once the passport is completed, they use their skills to build a model battery-powered vehicle.


Each lesson is supported by teacher notes and background information, resource list, pupils’ activity sheets, key STEM vocabulary and suggestions for additional or extension activities. There are PowerPoint presentations and animations to enrich the lessons. The activities are designed to be used individually or as part of an extended project and may be used by STEM ambassadors, science clubs or for home school projects.


Follow the links to view and download the following:


A PDF of the main resource, including lesson plans, teacher support notes, key vocabulary, curriculum links, pupils’ activity passport, quiz and games.

02-Powerpoint – Lithium ion cell animation

03-Powerpoint - Make a lemon battery

04-Video - A research scientist explains why a lithium ion battery should be recycled and sets the separation challenges for the children.

05-06-Powerpoint - A circus of eight separations based on real industrial processes. A challenge to separate a mixture of materials.

07-Powerpoint - A Sticky Problem- Investigating a suitable glue to make battery recycling easier.

10-PowerPoint - Build a battery-powered car.  Presentation shows how to attach a motor, pulley, axles and wheels to a chassis and complete the circuit with batteries to produce motion.



Electrochemistry Northwest was hosted online through GoToWebinar on Wednesday 1st July 2020. It is traditionally a free informal meeting held by the electrochemistry community in the northwest, coming together to discuss their latest work and ideas in the field of electrochemistry. The event usually has a strong early career and PhD focus, and the 2020 edition was no exception.


The event attracted 93 participants (an increase on the previous year), with attendance remaining reasonably constant throughout the day (see Figure 1) with a slight drop during lunch.



The final programme for Electrochemistry Northwest consisted of two plenary speakers, two early career presenters, three PhD presenters, five flash presentations and three talks from suppliers. The programme is provided in Figure 2.




Plenary 1 - Angel Cuesta, University of Aberdeen


Angel Cuesta told our younger scientists to keep learning the science, but not to forget about the other skills including research management, writing and presenting among many other things.


His work investigates the effect of ion radius on CO2 reduction – ion size is linked to localized pH change at the surface, which dictates CO2 conversion efficiency. He also discussed surface enhanced ATR spectroscopy and its application in monitoring Helmholtz characteristics.



Early Careers


Two early careers provided 15 minute talks on their latest research. Yang Xu (UCL) Provided evidence that crystallinity of MoS2 has an effect on ion intercalation – affects power densities of MoS2 if used as battery electrodes. Yang was recently awarded an EPSRC New Investigator award for his work and was appealing for interest in his postdoc position, which was advertised to the attendees on his behalf. Yagya Regmi (MMU) presented work on designing iridium catalysts with reduced loading – he suggested that Iridium loading on top of a gold or platinum surface can actually enhance the catalytic properties for the OER.



Flash Presentations


Five flash presentations were delivered by our participants. Bobby Crapnell (MMU, on behalf of Marloes Peeters, Newcastle) reported on the heat transfer method for detection of targeted compounds using MIPs. Laura Martinez (Aberdeen) gave a presentation on electrochemical conversion of complex alcohols such as glycerol. Bruna Baggio (Liverpool) discussed x-ray voltammetry on single crystals, while Ian Bennett-Wright (Edinburgh) presented his work on electrochemical gels. Rowan Hanson, a late inclusion, discussed improving the lithium-ion battery.





Three presentations from equipment suppliers were given. Steve Fryatt (Alvatek), Andy Savage (BioLogic) and Joanne Holmes (Metrohm) all presented their latest products and how they can help researchers in the electrochemistry community.



Plenary 2 - Mark Symes, University of Glasgow


Mark told some stories about how things don’t always work out as expected – he begun with a story about how his student thought they had shown oxygen evolution using lead oxide coated electrodes, but actually it turned out to be impurities of Ni in the electrolyte that were anodizing on the electrode and causing oxygen evolution. He then discussed how works on nitrogen reduction and persulfate generation didn’t go as planned, but still resulted in some tangible output.




PhD Researchers


Three PhD researchers gave their presentations in the afternoon to finish the session. Franziska Boβl (Edinburgh) gave a presentation on piezo-electrocatalysis, which is proving to be a potentially contentious field in electrochemistry but requires much investigation and conversation in order to come closer to understanding it. Aranzazu Carmona Orbezo (Manchester), who was a returning presenter to this event after being awarded a prize the previous year, presented her latest work in flow electrodes. She discussed how using non-Newtonian fluids in flow electrodes presented challenges for practical application in desalination, but also presented some potential solutions to desalination problems. Finally, Laurence Savignac (Lancaster) joined the meeting from Canada to discuss her work lithium iron phosphate batteries.



Exit Survey


An exit survey was offered but only three responses were given. Two people were impressed by the event, its communications and the quality f speakers and the handout, while one contributor was less than unimpressed.





The event was cost neutral.





The event was hosted online through GoToWebinar, attracting several researchers and attendees. The event was successful in giving early careers and PhD students a sounding board to disseminate their latest work. It is hoped that in the future a different institution will take the lead in organizing the event, however Ed thinks that AMCG should continue to support this event financially.




Dr Edward Randviir


Manchester Metropolitan University


AMCG committee member


8th July 2020