Theme summary: Transport for the future

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Theme: Transport for the future 

Topic: Fuel cells in trains (Estimated time 40min) 

Activity: FANTASTIC resource for introducing a BIG engineering project. Some great applications for physics in mechanics both top GCSE and A Level 

Dr Stuart Hillsmansen, chief engineer on the hydrogen train project and PhD student Charles Calvert show their enthusiasm for this first ever hydrogen train project while discussing the various aspects of engineering and applied physics. The slides involve many calculations and show how a fuel cell works really well. 

  • Video: Dr Stuart Hillsmansen tells about the first hydrogen fueled train 4.42 
  • Video: Charles Calvert discusses the design and operation of the train 1.45 
  • Video: Charles on the environmental benefits of hydrogen trains 2.43 
  • Video: Charles on forces in moving the train and energy supplies 2.35 

Scorecard/ 32 


Topic: Fuel cells research (Estimated time 30min) 


Dr Laurie King, a researcher and senior lecturer at Manchester Met discusses how fuels cells work and their environmental impact. Her enthusiasm for her work and the topic is quite inspirational. Students will gain a good understanding of fuel cells, electrolysers and how the whole hydrogen economy is heading. 

Video: Dr Laurie King introduces herself 2.07 

Video: Dr King describes where the hydrogen makes a difference and explains the physics (2.46) 

Video: Dr King talks about her research with fuel cells and electrolysers. (4.38) 

Scorecard/ 12 




Topic: Future use of electric vehicles (Estimated time 30min) 

Activity: Good introduction to how the new EV technology will impact on our lives and using energy calculations to involve the GCSE physics.  

Elaine Meskhi, and engineering graduate, has been working with on redesigning the grid to cater for the introduction of EV’s. She explains how we will have to change our habits and the aspects of EVs such as charging and costs. There are questions on how EVs have less environment impact than IC engines and compares the rate of energy movement of refueling a car to charging an EV. There are calculations of range of cars for different batteries and compares this to CO2e. 

Video: Elaine Meskhi explains how we will change our habits with EV’s 2.46 

Video: Adapting streets for EV parking 2.35 

Video: Coping with the higher cost of EV’s 1.55 

Video: Rapid charging and charging at home 1.50 

Scorecard/ 40 




Topic: Shipping: the effect on the environment (Estimated time 30min) 

Activity: Good explanation of the climate crisis, very well presented and introduces the students to the issues around shipping 

Dr Helen Czerski: UK physicist, oceanographer and TV presenter; Research Fellow, University College, London explains the science of the climate crisis in a novel way. She compares the atmosphere filling with CO2 to a bathtub filling with water. The questions involve testing understanding of the climate crisis, pollution from shipping and methods to improve the ships environmental impact. 

Video: Helen Czerski discusses the science of the climate crisis 4.30 

Video: Helen discusses the environmental impact of shipping 3.17 

Scorecard/ 15