Yesterday, 1st year A level physics students spent the day at The Welding Institute on Granta Science Park
Engineer Matt Haslett took them on a tour of the facilities and they saw many varied ways that materials (not just metals) can be joined together. The TWI labs were enormous and students were able to see destructive and fatigue testing as it happened. They saw the wide range of applications in which the effective jointing of metals is crucial.
Back in the meeting room, Dr Phillipa Moore took the students through the key features of metal failure and presented them with the case study of a cargo plane crash in Africa from 1977. They had the challenge of presenting answers as to why the crash occurred, who was at fault and how can it be prevented.
The afternoon session was spent working in small groups on a challenge to build a security device using Lego Mindstorms programmable robots. PhD student Jess (Warwick university Physics graduate, researching mechanisms to prevent crack propagation) encouraged the groups to be creative and include as many sensors as possible. Students presented their prototype solutions to the group and explained the engineering design process that led to their solutions. A very good day.