My last scientific meeting of the year 2017 took place in Gaborone, Botswana, were I participated on the on the 9th International Conference of the African Materials Research Society (AMRS2017). The conference started on 9th of December with 2 days preconference workshops followed by 3 days of the conference from the 11th until the 14th.
On Saturday December 9 I attend the Impact of Materials on Society Implementation (IMOS) Workshop that had the following objectives:
- Identifying how engineering shapes and is shaped by social and cultural variables.
- Understanding that a career in engineering is not only about math and science, but also about social problem-solving.
- Encouraging interdisciplinary team-building.
- Preparing engineering students to work with experts from different disciplines to address social needs.
In this workshop, Kevin Jones and Debra Dauphin-Jones takes us through a reflection of the importance of finding connections between the discovery of new materials such as ceramics, concrete, precious stones and metals, glass steel, plastics and semiconductor and social transformations worldwide. We learn how the physical properties of different materials intersect with cultural variables like gender, race, power/authority, religious beliefs, values and financial and political systems shape human civilization. It was shown that engineers play important roles in changing or maintaining the structure of fabric of society.
The second day of the preconference workshop I attended the electrospinning session. It was interesting to learn about how nanofibers, which can be filter materials, can be obtained from polymer solution after a jet is submitted to a high voltage, which included a demonstration in the laboratory.
The workshops were running at Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI), a well-equipped institute for the characterization of materials. I had opportunity to visit the laboratory a see some demonstrations of what are the equipment’s used for.
On Monday (11th) I presented my poster entitled “Studies for Use of Reclaimed Water for Construction Industry in Maputo, Mozambique”. In my poster I presented some of the most recent results I got from lab tests with blocks made using treated and untreated wastewater, you can grab a copy here. Some attendees were quite interested in my work and I had opportunity to network and change experiences with other researchers doing similar work.
Under the Materials for Water symposia theme I was very interested in the development of new materials for water treatment. Interesting talks in this symposia were given, ranging from the use of nanocellulose to membranes with antifouling properties which may become quite valuable for my research.
I would like to acknowledge SEANAC (African Network of Analytical Chemists) for the funding and AMRS for the opportunity to participate at this conference.