Main content
This programme is not currently available on BBC iPlayer

The Secret Story of Stuff: Materials of the Modern Age

Documentary. Designer and engineer Zoe Laughlin explores the world of material science, uncovering the innovations in manufacturing that are set to change the world we live in.

Welcome to the magical world of materials, where designer, materials engineer and enthusiast Zoe Laughlin explores the stuff that shapes the world around us. Everything, from the cars we drive to the clothes we wear is manufactured from something. From her workshop at the Institute of Making, Zoe travels the country to discover the alchemy behind the latest developments in the science of those materials. Everlasting dental crowns are being 3D printed in Loughborough. In Chester, vets are repairing broken bones with porous metals. New textiles with thread 8 times stronger than cotton is the latest revolution in fashion and in London, fungus is being used to make a self extinguishing insulation that could revolutionise the construction industry. Bringing these wondrous material innovations back to her workshop Zoe puts them through their paces and in the process reveals why now is the most exciting time to be exploring this Stuff.

59 minutes

Last on

Thu 12 Dec 2019 22:00

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:34

    Mr. Scruff

    Wobble Control

  • 00:41

    Mr. Scruff

    Bang The Floor (feat. Danny Breaks)


Role Contributor
Presenter Zoe Laughlin
Director Paul Vanezis
Producer Eva Maria Spielvogel
Consultant Alexander Forsey
Production Manager Lucy Gardner
Off-line editing Nadia Iqbal
Executive Producer Jeremy Lee
Executive Producer Alan Holland
On-line editing Chris Batham


Discover more about materials and manufacturing with The Open University

Discover more about materials and manufacturing with The Open University

Visit OpenLearn, the OU’s home of free learning, to explore further.