By Gethin Llewelyn.

SPE Foams® 2019 was held in Valladolid, Spain, during 2nd-3rd October. Also, from the 30th September until 1st October, a tutorial was held by a world-renowned expert in the Foam Injection Moulding field: Pr. Chul B. Park. This tutorial explored everything related with foaming in plastics; right from the fundamental basics to recent technological advancements. These 2 days were beneficial for my research and ‘boosted’ my knowledge within this field of work.

            The 2 days of the conference were long days: starting from 8am and finishing just after 9pm. The talks covered lab scaled nano foaming of polymers, in-mould foaming, advancements in polymer additives and recent discoveries in new foaming mechanisms. It was a surreal experience to hear talks given by the most renowned experts in the field and even more surreal when I had the opportunity to present my conference paper. My 20 minute talk had positive feedback; all of the questions and remarks were just guidance for my future work and points to bear in mind. But as my first conference talk, I was extremely happy as to how it went.

As previously mentioned, the tutorial was massively beneficial for myself as it has ensured me that I have all the technical knowledge I require to complete my research. Also, it has given me clear insights into what is the recent research in this field. I can apply this research to my work and shape my final year of research. Then, the conference showed me which research groups are investigating not work similar to my own. It enabled me to communicate with these groups and have a good contact with them.

            Now, I have direct contact with researchers within my field because previously, as I had never been to a conference, I had no contact with them. I am so humbled to have been able to go to such a prestigious event in my field of work and even more to be able to present there. I’d like to thank the Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) for their continued support over the past 3 years. Finally, I would like to thank the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales: who awarded me with the 2019 Travel Award for young researchers of Wales for my work at this conference (—award-for-researchers-work-to-cut-energy-used-in-car-manufacturing.php). This enabled me to financially pay for the conference and have exposure of my research.

Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) provides industry led postgraduate research training based at Swansea University's new Bay Campus. M2A is part funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.