Heritage Open Day 2016

The Diamond

Friday 9 September 2016

32 Leavygreave Rd, Sheffield, S3 7RD (map)

diamond tree 2

diamond stairs

diamond front diamond lab 2

Opened in September 2015, the University’s new £81m Diamond building stands at the heart of the University campus as a major investment in learning and teaching.

From its diamond shaped glass and aluminium façade to its internal mix of lecture theatres, open, informal study spaces, enclosed study ‘pods’, engineering laboratories, specialist library and IT services The Diamond is a ‘state of the art’ building offering specialist learning and teaching facilities to students, especially in engineering.

The computing area offers 1,000 study spaces available 24/7 for all students and staff across the University. There are also digital and print facilities, media editing booths, a recording studio and computer teaching laboratories. Not forgetting an excellent café which is open to the public seven days a week (times may vary in the vacations).

The Diamond has been designed as a "smart" building, allowing detailed control of energy management, and includes a central naturally ventilated atrium and rainwater harvesting.

What will be on offer?

During the day we will be offering:

General tours of the building (adults and over 14s) at 10am, 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm & 4pm

PLEASE NOTE: As of 3/8/2016 all the General Building Tours are fully booked.  As and when cancellations are notified to us, the booking system will be updated accordingly so please keep checking back here.


SPECIALIST LABORATORY TOURS (adults and over 10s) at 9.30am, 1pm and 3.30pm, to include:

Structures and Dynamics

Structures lab

The structures we live, work and play in and around are subject to a wide range of stresses and strains. They may need to be designed to keep their occupants safe against hazards but also to be serviceable, for example a bridge which deflects or vibrates perceptibly will not be acceptable to the public. Structural engineering focuses on these forces so the design of structures in the built environment will be safe under all conditions, no matter how high the wind or heavy the load.

The Light Structures Laboratory uses a range of very simple experiments to reinforce students’ learning of the principles of structural mechanics and response. It provides them with a hands-on feel for the ways structures work, albeit at a smaller scale.

Within the lab experiments are conducted on latticed frameworks, arches and suspension cables which replicate the construction of very large bridges. Such experiments explain the ways in which types of internal force can cause parts of structures to deform and fail; including cases such as buckling, torsion and stress analysis where the theory is mathematically complex. For high-force applications the lab also has 10 electronically-controlled Shimadzu testing machines

For structural project work the laboratory is also connected to the Project Space meaning students can design, construct and test their own structures at model scale. For example students have recently created a seven metre cable supported bridge, the structure of which can be altered, allowing them to see for themselves how different builds and layouts can be affected by external forces

Aerospace Simulation

Aerospace lab

Our Aerospace engineering course is one of the most highly regarded in the country and The Diamond now plays a major role in its teaching, specifically around the areas of flight simulation and jet propulsion. The Aerospace lab creates a hands-on experience of aircraft design and performance throughout all three years of the course, allowing continual development of practical skills in this area.

More than just playing with planes, students use state-of-the-art simulators to model the performance of UAV’s, feeding directly into group design work. They can also look at flight performance and stability, test-flying aircraft to determine their suitability for commercial or military purposes.

Within the facility the Jet Propulsion area contains a working jet engine, enabling students to measure its performance under different conditions. A simulator bench allows changes in altitude, temperature and throttle positions to be accurately modelled, while fault situations can also be created so their effect on the planes control systems can be explored.

The lab also features a Rolls Royce Gnome engine, on loan from the company’s Heritage Collection, alongside a number of small jet engines allowing further exploration of the materials, manufacturing and control systems involved in aircraft propulsion systems.

Virtual Reality Suite

Virtual Reality LabThe Virtual Reality lab, due to be completed in February 2016, will be open to students and researchers from all departments, enabling them to reap the benefits of this new technology in their projects, dissertation work and more.

The lab will consist of two key areas. The first is the VAR Wall room which will be equipped with an 5 metre wide 4K resolution Active Wall and Floor alongside 3D projection which will incorporate tracking and motion capture, suitable for demonstrating virtual reality to large groups. Next door the VAR Projects room will have nine Oculus Rift headsets complete with leap motion inputs, enabling control of environments with hand gestures, for a more individualised virtual reality experience.

Computing and Robotics

Robotics labComputing is increasingly fundamental to everyday life, and the Diamond has over 1000 computers available for students to use, in open access areas and four computer rooms specifically for teaching. These rooms can accommodate classes of up to 160, with specialised equipment available as required for specific courses.

The high specification computer laboratory has 42 workstations which utilize high-performance Nvidia Quadro graphics cards and Xeon processors coupled to 3D capable monitors. These are used by students for Parallel Computing, Modelling and Simulation, or any course that needs complex graphics or computations.

Robotics is becoming more and more accessible to the general public, and there are several different types of robots available for use in the Diamond within a purpose built robot arena. Lego Mindstorm robots, made into basic vehicles, are used by students to write Java programs. By using various sensors, the robots can recognise objects such as colours or shapes to carry out pre-determined tasks.
The highlight of the robotics laboratory are the 14 NAO humanoid robots, which enable students to work with more complex systems. These robots have a wide range of sensors and motors, which can be manipulated in a variety of ways, using visual programming tools or more sophisticated coding with languages such as Python, C++ or Java. They can be programmed to do simple tasks such as walking, standing up / sitting down, but they can also do more complicated interactive functions such as face and voice recognition.

PLEASE NOTE: These tours are all bookable on a first-come, first-served basis.  Both the general tours and the demo sessions last approximately 1 hour each. Unfortunately, it is not possible to fit in all four of the lab tours and a general guided tour of the building so please make your choices around those areas you are particularly interested in. The cafe in the building will be open on the day, should you wish to time your sessions around a lunch break. If any of the sessions you are interested in are fully booked, please email: j.peat@sheffield.ac.uk to be added to a waiting list.

Book your place now!

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