Article Bristol

The Bristol Local Network is led by local volunteers who come together to organise lectures and technical visits that provide opportunities to learn and meet new people. All events are open to the public and most are free of charge.

The Local Network aims to raise awareness of science, engineering and technology in the local area, and promote membership of the IET.

Visit the events page filtered by Bristol Local Network to find out about our upcoming events.

Our Committee

Chair Martin Cryan
Vice Chair Andrew Sinclair
Secretary Karl Williams
Fellows' Representative
Russell Haines
Webmaster & Social Media Lawrence Creasey
Committee Member Dominic Hardman
Local Network Manager (staff) Julie Hudson

Younger Members Committee

Chair Oliver Glover-Wilson
Secretary Emily Burt
Treasurer Natalia Ibagon Sanchez
Committee Members Ben Wade
....................................................... Jack Myers

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Recent Events

April 2024: Scaling up, building Space Based Solar Power with Open Source Software, Dr Timothy Pelham, Research Fellow - University of Bristol
Space Based Solar Power represents the opportunity to transform solar power into a consistent and reliable part of the energy mix in the United Kingdom. The concept depends upon the use of giga scale antenna arrays capable of delivering over 2GW of power from space onto similar giga scale antenna arrays either at sea or on the ground. Beyond the computational scale required for the electromagnetics to design and model antenna arrays with billions of antennas, the mechanical and thermal stresses of lightweight kilometre scale structures requires new approaches to multiphysics modelling to support the development of reliable, green solar power.
Slides here (available until June).

February 2024: Professor Robertson’s Clock, John Haine, Visiting Professor at Bristol University
David Robertson was the first professor of Electrical Engineering in the University of Bristol, from 1909 until he died in 1942. As well as a pioneer of engineering education he had a strong professional interest in mechanical horology, which in those years was how the world kept time. He authored a long series of authoritative articles in Horological Journal  from 1928 presenting the theory of pendulums and escapements.
The only known surviving clock of his was designed to keep time in the new Wills Memorial Building at the University, opened in 1925, where it also controlled the chiming of the bell, Great George.  The clock stood idle for many years, and in 2017 it was removed from its original location, and in 2018 reinstalled in the Queen’s Building, the home of the present-day Faculty of Engineering, where it today keeps time once again.  The clock was of innovative design.  A particular feature was the system intended to keep the clock synchronised to Greenwich, which has all the elements of what we now call a phase-locked loop – Robertson invented these and put them into operation 8 years before the first electronic PLL was described and included a critical element that was only rediscovered in the 1970s.  Though the clock was ultimately of little significance, quartz clocks starting to be used from 1938, it is mechanically interesting as well as a significant part of the University’s heritage.  This talk will describe the clock’s history, restoration, how it works, and speculate a little on how it might have been further developed had quartz not made accurate pendulum clocks redundant.

November 2023: Advanced semiconductor packaging technologies, Dr Jayakrishnan Chandrappan (Head of the Advanced Packaging Group - Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult)
Semiconductors are the foundation of modern technology, powering a wide array of electronic devices and systems that have become essential in our daily lives. From smartphones and laptops to medical equipment and automotive electronics, semiconductors play a pivotal role in enabling innovation and connectivity. Semiconductor packaging is a critical step in the semiconductor manufacturing process. It involves enclosing and protecting the delicate semiconductor chips, which are tiny electronic components that contain millions of transistors, to ensure their proper functionality and integration into electronic systems. The packaging process not only provides physical protection to the semiconductor chips but also facilitates electrical connections and thermal management. Efficient thermal management is crucial for semiconductor devices, especially in high-power applications, as it helps dissipate heat and ensures reliable and optimal performance.  Advanced packaging technologies, such as 3D packaging and System-in-Package (SiP), have revolutionized the semiconductor industry, enabling smaller form factors and increased functionality. These advancements have paved the way for more powerful, compact, and energy-efficient devices, driving continuous progress in technology.

October 2023: Solar and Storage Energy Integration into the UK Grid, Ethical Power Connections: Kyle Furnish (Head of Design), Vish Hiremathad (Technical Director) and Jake Humphries (Head of Operations)
The United Kingdom is currently witnessing an unprecedented surge in the integration of distributed energy resources. This presentation delves into the dynamic landscape of solar and storage energy integration into the UK grid. It offers a comprehensive overview of the market's current status, shedding light on key challenges faced during project implementations.  The discussion will further explore the instrumental programmes and milestone achievements that have been pivotal in driving successful integrations. A critical focus will be placed on the interfaces that are essential for a seamless integration process.  Drawing upon these insights, the talk will conclude with a forward-looking perspective, highlighting the future opportunities that lie ahead for both the solar and storage markets in the UK. This presentation promises to be an enlightening exploration of the present and future of renewable energy integration in the United Kingdom.

September 2023: Requirements Management in Railway Projects, Milo Lloyd CEng MIET (Principal Consultant at SYSTRA’s Specialist Engineering & Innovation consultancy wing)
Railways are interconnected systems comprising many components and stakeholders; these being project environments which frequently hold surprises even for the most experienced engineers. Requirements management is a systems engineering approach to anticipating and managing the scope of projects and this presentation will use three varied projects to show how it is being applied.
- Portable train dispatch, an initiative looking at introducing handheld devices to support train dispatch by station staff, which required generation of a requirements set for product deployment;
- Train’s signalling systems review, integrating the outcomes from a signalling systems study on a new rolling stock class late in its development;
- Route infrastructure project, an ongoing major project that demands monitoring of many railway disciplines, interfaces and broad client needs due to multiple interventions such as electrification, resignalling, track and structure upgrades.
Milo will explain the technical and operational environment within which each of these projects will deliver and detail how requirements were developed and formalised. These examples are hopefully broad enough that you can anticipate finding parallels with your areas of interest and learn new aspects of how the nation’s rail network operates.