Our three week journey began with a trip to Beamish Museum. Having never met or spoken to any of the other eight girls before it was a nerve wrecking start. But it pleases me to say that the girls couldn’t be any nicer and that we all get along really well. As the day progressed it became noticeable that communities back in the 1920s relied on engineers and scientists to develop solutions to the problems faced by the coal industry just as much as we rely on them today.
It was particularly interesting to see how much technology has advanced over the past hundred years. It’s scary to think how quickly we’ve jumped from steam winding engines to thin pieces of touchscreen chrome and glass but it’s even scarier to think what direction technology will take us in the next hundred years.
We ended the day with a last minute trip to the sweet shop for toffee bonbons and midget gems before taking a tram ride back to the main entrance with some of the less well known cast members of Downton Abbey. This made for a good photo op though.
We continued our three week journey with a three day trip to Nissan at Sunderland where we all took part in the F1 Challenge. We were split into groups of three and were asked to design, build and make a miniature racing car. Our group developed the winning ’Shark’ car which set a new world record giving an outstanding performance of 0.736 seconds! However, this was a shallow victory as the car failed to comply with ANY of the rules or regulations. Oh well.
We designed our cars using CAD software called AutoDesk Inventor. This software was fiddly and frustrating to begin with became easier with more experience allowing us to achieve more accurate, higher performing cars.
To end our time at Nissan we were given a full factory tour. It was incredible to observe the speed at which the cars are produced; the factory makes an astounding 2500 cars a day which amounts to around 500,000 cars a year! I found it difficult to comprehend how it only took two seconds for the dashboard to be fitted by only two men.
We ended our first week back at the Think Lab at Northumbria University where we split off into groups of three and made a start to our Nepal research project. We divided up the different research points between the three of us and collectively made a video in the form of ‘news style interviews’ summarising our initial research.
After a quick lunch break we were given a tour of the Engineering facilities and different departments at Northumbria University. The civil engineering department sparked a particular interest; I found the Fluids and Thermodynamics Lab particularly exciting and it was interesting to see how they carry out research into fluids, by measuring flow in channels for example.
To put an end to the first week we presented our video to the other two groups. Everyone agreed that the video was funny for all the wrong reasons.