Hi, we are this year’s Engineering Education Scheme team and we’re the cool kids who spend our Friday afternoons getting excited about bridges.
On Friday 26th September, we were fortunate enough to be given a small tour around the Mechanical Engineering department at the University of Birmingham. During the tour we were shown last year’s entry to the Formula Student competition (a competition in which teams from around the world design, build, test and race a formula-style car) as well as some of the work on the testing of various car engines, which are the future of engine design.
The Formula Student Car was made to a budget of around £10,000 compared to some teams which had £1 million or more, but despite this disadvantage, it performed incredibly well and came 19th in the competition. The car’s bodywork was largely made from carbon fibre so that it was very strong but light-weight. It also had an incredibly fast gear change, by releasing a bit of pressure at the back so the spark is cut for a fraction of a second, making the transition much smoother. We were all surprised to learn that it can get up to 70 miles an hour in 4 seconds!
The opportunity to view the testing of the engines was fantastic, as we were shown around the engine labs where engineers work on top-secret new engine technology, largely in collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover. Most of the design and testing going on is forecast to come into widespread use in about five years. The engines are surrounded by various pieces of complex equipment that are monitoring different changes as the tests are run to model the performance.
We have been assigned Arup as our mentor company but are waiting to find out exactly what project we will be working on. In two weeks we will attend a launch day at Coventry University where we will meet the company and other people on the scheme from across the Midlands. We hope to keep this blog running as our project continues so watch this space!
From Joanna Walmsley, Grace Lampkin, Felicia Chang, Reema Ismail