The numbers game – Degrees of separation and mathematical quirks

My article in the April 2007 issue of Materials World on the average number of acquaintances between any two random individuals has stimulated more interest than anything I have written...
Clay tile production

Clay versus concrete – The sustainability of clay verses concrete roofing tiles

Traditionally concrete roofing tiles have been preferred as a low-cost option to clay counterparts. However, legislation is putting an ever increasing focus on sustainable building and materials. Advances in manufacturing techniques together with greater design flexibility are producing more cost effective solutions for clay.

Making the mould – Moulds for different types of tiles

The advantages and disadvantages of using moulds made from different types of materials and the casting techniques that produce differing tiles.
Neil Tobin

Hands-on tiling – Profile of Neil Tobin

Clay roof tile revival has seen various threats from cheap imports to dwindling customer orders. Neil Tobin of Keymer Tiles shows how the company has adapted. Customers are attracted to UK-made tiles, opening up new markets in the USA, and the use of different colours and the environmentally friendly use of longer lasting tiles.

Manufacturing a change – The decline of engineering, science and manufacturing in the UK

In my November 2006 column, I responded to news that the University of Reading's physics department was to close in a piece entitled ‘Physics at crisis point'. In the Guardian...