Welcome to NES 2023-24

Our Events Programme

Next NES Event :-

Tue 23rd July 2024 at 09:30, Whitlingham Water Works
Visit: Visit to Anglian Water
by Anglian Water Staff,

Summary: Visit arrangements have been finalised. An email, containing visit details, will be sent out on 21:07:24 to all those Members who are on the visit list.

Our Mission

Norwich Engineering Society is a forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences for anyone, engineers or not, having an interest in engineering. We aim to promote widespread discussion and debate through a programme of talks and visits related to advances and achievements in engineering in the world today.

Most of our events from October to April are talk based spanning a wide range of engineering interests. The talks, roughly two a month, are usually held in the Hub at the Pavilion on Park Drive, Hethersett, but since the first Covid lockdown have been published live using Zoom and can be watched a few days afterwards on Youtube.

In the summer events are usually visit based; mostly to local companies or facilities of interest to Members. Watch this space.

CERN - Measurement and Engineering - Mar 18th 2024

Particle accelerators supporting the Large Hadron collider (LHC)

CERN has been in existence for at least 60 years and has grown to the present Large Hadron Collider(LHC). This talk was given by John Pickering, an independent electronics design engineer, who has been involved in many contracts at CERN, ranging from current controllers for the main LHC superconducting beam steering magnets to instrumentation in many of the particle trajectory sensors.

The aim of the LHC is to look at the physics of the collision between two energetic protons. The protons have to have more than enough energy to overcome the force of repulsion due to their charges and get them close enough for the strong but localised nuclear force.
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The way this is done at CERN is to have two proton beams in a vacuum travelling in the opposite direction colliding into one another. To achieve this, use is made of the fact that charged particles moving in a magnetic field travel in a circular paths.

It turns out, to achieve the energies used in the LHC it can't be done in one accelerator. As John explained. a cascade of sub-accelerators have to be used with sophisticated beam switching connections used to move the particles from one accelerator to the next. Once the counter-rotating beams have arrived at the desired energy both beams are deflected into a series of possible areas where collisions can take place. It is in these areas that a series of different particle detectors are placed to see what happens during the collision process.

John used the the latter part of his talk to tell us about the various detectors and what they had seen. He concluded his talk by indicating what plans CERN had for an even bigger accelerator than the LHC.

Norwich Aviation Museum - Jul 10th 2024

Nimrod - maritime patrol aircraft

This excellent visit, arranged by Peter Davies, allowed Members to get up close to some interesting aircraft including some that had operated out of Norwich Airport when it was an active RAF base (RAF Horsham St Faiths) such as the Gloster Meteor and the Hawker Hunter and some that had used the airfield in its present commercial guise of Norwich International Airport. An example of the latter was the Fokker Friendship. Amongst the other aircraft that Members could get up close to were an English Electric Lightning, a SEPCAT Jaguar and a Westland Whirlwind air-sea rescue helicopter all of which were familiar in Norfolk as they had been based at nearby RAF Coltishall. The other main attraction was the delta wing Avro Vulcan.

Some Members took the opportunity to partake in an extended tour of a Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft; the Nimrod, together with the older Shackleton, had been the backbone of the UK anti-submarine defence system during the Cold War period. Our guide, who had served on such a Nimrod, gave us a really thorough description of how the aircraft went about its business. He also told us that this aircraft also undertook a secondary role as an air sea rescue. It was capable of locating vessels in trouble and had the capability of dropping supplies to them if required and/or substantial life-saving equipment if need such as self inflating life craft.

The museum also housed many display cases containing descriptions and artifacts associated with the various RAF and USAAF groupings and aircraft that had operated out of Horsham St Faiths. Just as importantly it housed many displays associated with other airfields in the wider Norfolk area such as Coltishall and Marham. Indeed, many Members commented that there was far too much material for a single visit and, that on departure, vowing that they intended to come back and see more.

Cantley Sugar Works Visit Mar 20th 2024

The combined heat and power turbine at Cantley Works
The main sugar storage silos at Cantley

Cantley Sugar Works has the last continuously running coal fired power station in the UK. Current legislation states that al such units have to be phased out by Dec 31st 2024. The plant at Cantley ends its life at the end of the Works current sugar production campaign in April. Through the good services of Matt Goodrum, Adam Furby and Andy Cowan of Cantley, a visit to the Works was arranged before the station ceased operation.

The tour started with Andy giving an overview of the Works with Adam explaining in a little more detail about the history of why the works generated its own electricity; basically a by product of the need for vast quantities of steam needed to process the extraction of sugar and electricity needed in subsidiary operations running this process. At the time when major investments were being at Cantley the cheapest form of steam generating energy was by burning coal. At the same time it was decided that some of the steam could be used via a steam turbine to generate electricity. In non sugar producing periods some electricity is exported to the national grid.

The next part of the tour was to be taken by Andy and Matt to visit the boilers and see the generator in operation. The tour concluded with a viewing of the equipment used in the extraction of sugar and see the processes used to make the different grades of sugar.

Rare sights!

Ferrers Young and Tim Birt with covered knees!
Attentive NES members on the Cantley visit

Two rare sites were seen at the recent visit to the Sugar works at Cantley

The first was brought about because of a strict application of the Health and Safety Regulations at the plant i.e, no areas of bare flesh are allowed to be close to any areas in the works where there is a possibility of being splashed with scalding fluids. Stores had to be scoured for two hi-vis overalls for known shorts adherents; Tim and Ferrers. Apparently some serious overheating was experienced by both especially in the areas of the plant where sugar was being extracted from the pulped beet.

The second was the sight of 12 NES visitors paying rapt and quiet attention to what Andy was telling them about the sugar mashing process.