Two educational programs were offered by IPPT PAN at the 21. Science Picnic of Polish Radio and the Copernicus Science Centre, which took place at the National Stadium in Warsaw on June 3, 2017.

I. Educational program of IPPT PAN, no E 10 (Department of Experimental Mechanics ZMD + Department of Mechanics of Materials ZMM), Coordinator - Elżbieta Pieczyska, Team: Justyna Chrzanowska, Maria Staszczak, Dominik Kukla, Karol Golasiński, Michał Majewski, Michał Wichrowski, Jan Kraskowski, Artur Myczka.

The program embraces 5 presentations conducted simultaneously


Presentation 1: Shape memory effects in TiNi shape memory alloys

Examples of TiNi shape memory alloy (SMA) samples were shown. Their structure and properties were explained. It was presented how the SMA shape and dimensions change depending on the temperature. Volunteers deformed SMA wires, springs or clips. After immersing them in hot water the samples recovered their former shapes and sizes. The observed effects result from the crystallographically reversible martensitic transformation, which can be stress- or temperature-induced.


Rotation of solid state engine based on shape memory alloy effect

Presentation 2: Application of shape memory effect in shape memory alloys

An example of practical applications of shape memory alloys was demonstrated. A model of a solid state engine, using the SMA shape memory effect, made by students of AICHI Institute of Technology in Japan and gifted to IPPT PAN, was presented. When the engine was partly put in the hot water, its spectacular rotation was observed. The rotation rate depends on the water temperature.


Presentation 3: Shape memory effects in polymers

Samples of Shape memory polymer (SMP) were shown. Their structure and properties which significantly differ below and above Tg (glass transition temperature) were explained. Two phenomena which can be observed in the SMP were presented. The first is a shape fixity which means that it is possible to fix the SMP temporary shape obtained at temperature above Tg by following cooling at the temperature below Tg. The second phenomenon, called a shape recovery, denotes the property that the original shape, changed due to deformation at the higher temperature and fixed at the lower temperature, is recovered during subsequent heating above the SMP Tg temperature.


Presentation 4: Secrets of magnetism

Fundamentals of magnetism were presented. Most commonly used materials for permanent magnets fabrication i.e. rare-earths and ferrites were discussed. Resources of the materials mentioned were shown in the context of geopolitical issues (c. 97% of rare-earths are located in China). Experimental techniques for improvement of magnetic properties of materials for permanent magnets applications were presented. Principles of operation of household appliances such as: AUDIO devices, electric motors/generators, hard discs, ultrafast MagLev train were discussed.


Presentation 5: Mud pie on which you can stand!

Road embankments made of soils are reinforced with nets to provide a structure capable of maintaining the road within the desired spatial boundaries. In the road embankments, the load resulting from the road weight and cars, is located at the top of the embankment. We observe a slide of the embankment made of soils when the shear stress is equal to the shear strength of the ground. Reinforcement of the embankment, by means of nets, allows to increase the strentgh by shortening the length of the slip planes to the value of the gap between the reinforcement nets.

Two mud pies were presented: the first without reinforcement, the second with reinforced by horizontal planes of napkins. The static load of the first unreinforced mud pie was made and the plane of slip was recorded. Then statically loaded the second reinforced mud pie and noted increasing of strength of the sand construction. At the end we invited children to carry out their own experiment on the stand.

II. Educational program of IPPT PAN, no E 8 (Department of Intelligent Technologies), Koordynacja - Grzegorz Suwała, Członkowie Zespołu: Krzysztof Kaźmierczak, Rafał Wiszowaty, Dominik Pisarski, Jan Całka.


Presentation 1: Building homopolar motor The construction and operation principle of a simple electric DC motor was presented.

Participants were given the opportunity to independently build engines, with use of previously prepared tools. As a result, you can see how much neodymium magnets, battery charge or rotor shape affect the speed of a single-pole motor.

Presentation 2: Electric train

On the prepared stand, which main element was a closed track made of copper wire, the participants were able to acquaint themselves with the phenomena of electricity and magnetism, building a simple electric train composed of batteries and neodymium magnets that traversed the constructed route.


Presentation 1: On a single TV screen, using a color palette that changes from blue (low-temperature) to white, where the body is exposed to high temperatures, showing the various objects seen by the thermal camera. Visitors were able to see, how they look in the infrared range, how the picture will change when they put on their sunglasses or when they cool a part of their body (e.g. with water) either heat their hair with a hair dryer. Additionally, the process of boiling water in an electric kettle in the infrared range was presented. The emission of infrared radiation from the metal surface painted black, white or polished was also demonstrated.

About the Science Picnic

The Science Picnic of the Polish Radio and the Copernicus Science Centre is the largest European outdoor event dedicated to science. Scientific institutions, universities, research centres, museums, foundations related to science and research present their achievements. They show science in a manner understandable to audiences of all ages, using experiments, demonstrations and interactive exhibits.

The first Picnic - as the Science Picnic of Polish Radio BIS - was held on 14 June 1997 at the Down Town Square. The Science Picnic was nominated by the European Commission in 2005 as one of 10 model European projects in the "Science and Society" field. Since 2008 it is organized jointly by the Polish Radio and the Copernicus Science Centre, from 2013 at the National Stadium of Poland, Warsaw.