December saw the launch of the Knead for Speed: Aero Challenge. Dr Adrian Harwood, the recipient of a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious Grant for 2016/17, developed the workshop which involves teams of secondary school pupils designing modifications to a model car to improve its aerodynamics. The teams then add their modifications to the models using plasticine and present their designs to a panel of judges. The winning model is scanned and reconstructed as a 3D digital mesh which is then used to simulate the air flow in a Virtual Wind Tunnel environment.
The Virtual Wind Tunnel represents the culmination of Adrian’s research over the last 3 years and offers an integrated modelling and simulation environment using GPU-accelerated CFD, 3D object scanning and virtual reality. Users can explore a real-time aerodynamic simulation of their model and investigate the flow behaviour using a smoke wand in each hand.
Adrian has been running the workshops with a team of PhD students including Maxime Savoie, Marta Camps Santasmasas, Joe O’Connor and Ben Owen. This month’s busy schedule of bookings has seen the team visit 8 schools including several in Bury, Rochdale and Bolton. The workshop aims to enthuse girls and boys from ages 13-16 and encourage them to discover, and ultimately pursue, careers in science and engineering.
Adrian already has a long list of schools interested in hosting the events in the New Year and has packaged the workshop as a stand-alone outreach activity for use by the school in 2018 and beyond. The research underpinning this workshop is set to be published early next year.