Student-led research forging links with industry

The first showcase of project work from engineering students at the University of Lincoln saw firm links being made with industry partners.

MEng students from the University’s School of Engineering presented to an audience of academics and industry partners on Tuesday, 28th April.

Businesses in attendance included Siemens; Ford Motor Company; industrial catering and foodservice equipment company, Lincat; engineering solution provider, James Dawson; Martin Manufacturing; and Pole Star Products Ltd – supplier of electric motors, fans and blowers to the heating, ventilating, refrigeration, air conditioning and vending machine markets.

Projects included detailed research into haze machines; the design of novel clutch action in the automotive industry; and the design and build of a craft in a bid to beat the world speed record on water for a human-powered vehicle.

Students in charge of the record-break attempt, entitled Project Tritton (previously Project Yellow Submarine), explained how they plan to launch their specially designed craft in an attempt to reach more than 18.5 knots (21.29mph), to surpass the current speed record set by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1991.

The craft resembles a catamaran and is operated by one person’s pedal power.

The record attempt will be made along the River Witham, which runs through the heart of the city of Lincoln, and will be assessed by the World Human Powered Vehicle Association. It is due to take place in August 2015.

Another group described their painstaking work into optimising a patented nozzle design for the atomisation of a water-glycerine solution in haze machines.

Haze machines are special effects machines similar to fog machines, designed to produce unobtrusive, homogeneous clouds suspended in the air intended to enhance lighting effects. The students were able to pinpoint the best design for optimum spray of the solution.

Working with Ford Motor Company, a third team of students revealed their design of a novel clutch pedal for automotive application, which detects performance and assists the driver.

Martin O’Mahony, Technical Specialist for Clutch Systems at Ford, said: “The whole idea was to give the students a project that is ‘real’. We wanted to see them come up with a fresh approach to an existing problem. Their starting point was to look at the existing mechanisms and from that they have come up with an interesting proposal and there is definitely potential to investigate that further. We would like to work with the University on this.”

Mike Cook, Director at Pole Star Products Ltd, added: “The students analysed the problems they were given clearly and addressed the issues in real depth. They were extremely confident and explained the projects very well.”

Ford Motor Company group

Ford Motor Company group

Project Tritton group

Project Tritton group

High speed footage of the water-glycerine test

High speed footage of the water-glycerine test