Fernwood Secondary School in Wollaton, Nottingham, has been running a design engineering challenge day for the past 6 years. The day is intended to challenge the pupils to design and build a variety of items from rocket cars, bridges and land-speed cars with the intent of nurturing the interest of the next generation of product designers, inventors and designers.
The day is exceptionally well supported by local and national businesses with representatives from Rolls Royce, Triumph, Bloodhound SSC, Pelham Architects and Dyson been involved. Optima were invited to develop a project to run during the day, which would challenge and excite the pupils, and allow them to test their ingenuity in a final competition at the end of the day.
The challenge chosen was to design a wind-turbine that could lift the most weight when powered by a desk-mounted blower system. The designs were prototyped on a small scale using cardboard, wood, string, and foam, then built to final designs that were tested to destruction on a bench based test-rig.
The designs created range from the traditional to the highly innovative and the winning design lifted over 2.5kg in weight, using braced cardboard and wooden strut design in a helix-shaped array. The day was a great success for all the companies involved and the pupils had a fantastic day allowing their imaginations to be engaged on real-world design problems. Optima has agreed to be involved with the design engineering days in the future and very much look forward to formulating the next design day challenge.