See stunning images which won the engineering photo competition at Cambridge University

Engineering students and faculty have been busy at University of Cambridge, taking pictures for their Engineering Photo Competition… and the results are mind-blowing.

The annual contest, which aims to showcase the wide variety of engineering research at the University, was sponsored by ZEISS and shows a huge range of interesting phenomenon… from a free-standing graphene foam, a bridge in self-healing concrete, to villagers crowding around a well in rural Malawi.

Here are some of their best works.

Asteroidea Electrica by Adrianus Indrat Aria

This is an electron micrograph of free-standing graphene foam and won the first prize. Graphene foam was made by growing a few layers of graphene on the surface of a porous metal foam skeleton using a technique known as chemical vapour deposition. The skeleton was then removed by dissolving it in an etching solution to create this startling image.

Extrapolated art III by Yarin Gal

PatchMatch algorithm was used on the frame of van Gogh’s painting ‘Starry Night’ to extend the canvas and figure out what the full scenery might have looked like. For the final image, the team used Photoshop to give the impression that the painting was displayed in a gallery with the extrapolation painted behind it. This photo won the second prize.

Francis the Engineer by Anthony Rubinstein-Baylis

When a pump stopped working in rural Malawi, Francis the Engineer stepped in to help. He created an ‘elephant pump’ using whatever materials he could find at hand – mud, rope, plastic bottles and bike tyres and managed to restore it to full working condition. This photo won the third price.

The rise and fall of the blue and brown liquid crystal mountains by Andrew Payne

This timelapse video, put together using a collection of images taken at one-second intervals, shows the slow growth of structure under the influence of an alternating electric field and the rapid reversion when the electric field is removed. This short clip won the Head of Department’s prize.

Concrete crack bridge for self-healing III by Tanvir Qureshi

This stunning black-and-white image shows the formation of a crack in concrete that’s in the process of self-healing. The image was taken when samples were obtained to research self-healing properties in a concrete cracked zone… and won the Electron Microscopy Prize.

The graphitic swirl by Christian Hoecker

This picture shows an eddy within a furnace work tube which has been made visible because of carbon deposits on its wall. The picture is taken along the furnace tube which is 50 mm wide (diameter).

Draw from a deep Gaussian process by David Duvenaud

This colourful image shows a feature map that has been generated by a phenomenon known deep Gaussian process (used in artificial intelligence) and shows a type of artificial neural network (inspired by animal nervous systems). The colours correspond to the locations where each point has been mapped to by the neural network.

Pulsed laser deposited metal on glass by Jonathon Parkins

This kaleidoscopic image is actually of a metal layer that’s been deposited on a glass slide through a pulsed laser deposition technique. The mesmerising colours are a result of thin film effects of the metal in the surface layer of he glass. The image was captured using an optical microscope.

Nanoscapes by Michael De Volder

Nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes and graphene are not just interesting from a scientific perspective. They can sometimes also form breathtaking structures, which under electron microscopes reveal glimpses of a fascinating nanoworld. The structures on display are each about one thousandth of a millimetre large and consist of thousands of nanoparticles.

Lens array by Calum Williams, Yunuen Montelongo and Jaime Tenorio-Pearl

The picture shows an array of diffractive lenses that have been imaged using a dark field optical microscope. Each lens is made up of hundreds of sub-wavelength metallic nanostructures which scatter light at specific wavelengths. The lens pattern seen in the image is a result of the the way light interacts with the planar structure of the lenses.

Fractured rainbows: Mode II cracks in glass I by James Griffith

This photo shows the edge of a Mode II crack… which is caused by shearing within a layer of glass. The photo captures the delicate, feather-like formation of the fractured area which organically extends into the black void of unfractured glass.

The nanowire firecracker by Nikhil Tiwale

Taken by an electron microscope, this photo shows nanowires (made of zinc oxide) which have grown on a graphite flake during thermal chemical vapour deposition (a purification process often used in the semiconductor industry to produce thin films). The image has been coloured using Photoshop.

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