On the very first day we went to Beamish Museum to explore just how much engineering has changed in the past century. How quickly engineering has changed since the early 1900’s really stood out to me. Back then nearly everything was steam powered and now less than 100 years later we’ve got 3D printers and are travelling in to space – it’s pretty amazing really. One interesting part of the day was learning how difficult it was to transport coal after it had been mined and how much simple physics can actually be applied to it. We did this by building a very small replica of the actual system and to think how much heavier and dangerous the real process would have been is surprising as I didn’t imagine they would have done it in this way.
For the next three days we visited Nissan in Washington to take part in the Formula 1 challenge. We started by looking at previous successful F1 designs to think about which ones would be the fastest and the most aerodynamic. In the morning we also started to learn how to make a basic car body and wheels on Autodesk Inventor. We were then split in to three teams and designed our own unique (none of which matched the required racing specifications), but Phil was definitely the best car. On day 3 at Nissan we laser cut the car bodies and 3D printed the wheels etc. and then raced them down the 20m track. For me the tour around the Nissan factory floor was the most interesting part of our time there because you don’t usually get to see the production line and just to learn that the one factory we visited makes 1500 cars a day with only an allotted 59 seconds for each job was interesting.
On Friday we split up in to groups of 3 again to start our research in to the recent earthquake in Nepal before presenting our findings to the rest of the groups at the end of the day. I liked these presentations as it was a good way to share information and benefit each group’s final research poster. We also got a tour from two current engineering students at Northumbria of the Physics and Engineering department to see all the facilities available to students in all years at Northumbria Uni.