STEM – Disaster Relief in the UK

As part of our STEM programme of Community work, and to celebrate Women in Engineering Day 2017, Sheffield Hallam University, A-one+ and the RAF hosted an activity day aimed at Year 9 and 10 girls from local schools. The focus of the day was on disaster relief in the UK and the engineering skills that are required immediately following a disaster such as major flooding, something that the UK is seeing on a more regular basis. The girls were tasked with manufacturing, designing and building a bridge and a wind turbine using paper sticks and recycled household waste.

The girls were split into groups and given specific roles e.g. design engineers, manufacturing engineers and health and safety managers. The RAF provided STIXX machines which were used to tightly roll up sheets of newspaper to produce paper sticks or rods. These were connected together using cable ties to create bridges to span an 800mm gap and the 1m tall towers for the wind turbines.

The brief for the bridges stated that they must support a weight of at least 2kg, be able to accommodate a vehicle and look attractive. Some fantastic structures were designed and constructed. They all far exceeded the specified minimum weight and after being tested to destruction held between 5kg and 22.5kg.

The wind turbines were made using a small generator and household rubbish for the blades. Hairdryers were used to create wind and the generators were connected to meters which recorded the power generated. Again, some amazing structures were created and all the turbines worked extremely well.

The event was a huge success. All the girls were engaged and enthusiastic and took great pride in their creations.

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Entry submitted by A-one+ Integrated Highway Services.

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