On a blustery Autumnal day, the whole of L8 took part in a science day that was both fun, demanding and contained a few surprises.
The day was run by Mr John Allen from INPUT National. The INPUT programme of engineering problem solving activities was launched in 1985 by a group led by Professor Harry Marsh of the School of Engineering at Durham University. Since then around 200,000 young people from 9 – 19 years of age have participated in an INPUT course.
The day began with an introduction from Mr Allen where he talked about the science behind structures on both large and small scales. The strength of materials in tension and compression was demonstrated before the design challenge was explained. Each group had to design and build a framework structure from rolled paper tubes with the context being an emergency shelter. The structure had to be self-supporting and big enough to contain all the group members! Once the designs were agreed a production and construction phase followed with varying degrees of success.
After a well-earned break the afternoon was taken up with aluminium turbine designs with different blades, angles and lengths. These designs were then extensively tested and timed on vehicles which drove themselves directly into the wind which was generated in purpose made wind tunnels. The energy and enthusiasm throughout the day was impressive as can be seen in the photos taken throughout the day. Perhaps some mechanical and aero engineers of the future are in there somewhere!
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