NHEHS Engineering Team are Double Award Winners!
On Tuesday 7th May, six Year 12 girls went to UCL to present their final project for the Engineering Education Scheme.
Six months ago they were set the challenge by their Industry mentors, Arcadis UK, to come up with a design for crossing the widest Fjord in Norway as part of the super-highway that Norway is going to build.
The scale of the project was initially quite daunting (4km bridge/tunnel structure), particularly given that they knew nothing about bridges or tunnels, let alone the combination of them.
After lots of research, deliberations and calculations, they came up with the idea of a floating-tunnel and cable-stayed bridge combination. The team had to use principles they have learnt in Physics A-level, such as concepts of buoyancy and stress and strain. Applying those to such a huge structure, and doing all the calculations was one of the most challenging aspects.
The team’s mentors from Arcadis UK held weekly meetings with the girls delegating different responsibilities to each other, using a Gantt chart to map out who was doing what and when.
At the presentation, the team spoke eloquently and kept calm through technical difficulties. Nothing phased the girls and they blew the judges away with their understanding of their project and their teamwork. The assessors noted “The presentation was well delivered and informative. The display stand was excellent and questions were answered thoroughly and with conviction.” The NHEHS team was also praised for excellent project management skills as “members took responsibility for their contributions and were happy to hand over to other members where required.”
At the end of the day they were awarded the People’s Choice Award and the EES Innovation Award – two out of three available awards. The mentors from Arcadis were really impressed with the girls’ professionalism and ideas. “They did an incredible job!”
The assessors were also impressed by “the technical knowledge displayed by the students, and their confidence in answering questions,” describing the design as “innovative” and supported by “a thorough analysis of the typical operating conditions.”
The girls thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working on a real engineering project with real engineers and learning skills which they can utilise both in academic study and life beyond that: Working as a team, balancing their intense workload of this project with the rest of their studies and extra-curricular activities. The project demonstrated to the girls certain aspects of the process which they particularly enjoyed and so they have tailored their degree choice accordingly.
It remains to be seen whether any of their design ideas will be eventually adopted, but it will be exciting to see in decades to come what the longest Fjord crossing of Norway’s $47 billion highway will be like.