Manchester University lecturers delivered a highly competitive, engaging, engineering challenge for students in the ‘Knead for Speed’.
Students posted their thoughts on what an engineer was and had their misconceptions rectified as Adrian the leader of the session explained that engineering, “is applying maths and science to present solutions to real world problems”. They are designers, “modern day inventors”.
Swiftly moving on to the practical challenge the students gained an understanding of aerodynamics-the study of the motion of air. The task involved taking a basic model of a wooden car sketching ideas of how to modify it, producing accurate scale drawings of the changes and labelling them, then creating a test car.
Students had to consider drag, friction, weight, thrust, downforce, lift and reaction force. To make the cars faster they were told about splitters used at the front of the car, side skirts, a rear spoiler, canards on the front and a diffuser underneath the car. Armed with this knowledge they set about the task with enthusiasm and ingenuity.
Each group presented their finished cars to the judges, justifying their modifications. The winning car was then chosen and tested in a virtual wind tunnel. The winning team were able to experience the testing wearing virtual reality headsets.
This was a really innovative of engaging the students enabling them to see the exciting world of engineering. Imagine what an amazing career this could be!