Mech Eng Students Best Egg Guardians
Howard College campus residents may recently have caught sight of groups of excited-looking students and some weird little vehicles – carrying eggs!
The Engineering first years didn’t have a screw loose – they were in fact tightening different screws in their efforts to optimise an egg transportation vehicle!
UKZN’s Technical Communication for Engineers students had been allocated a task - to research, design, evaluate, construct and test a vehicle to transport an egg. The winners would be the team transporting their egg unbroken over the furthest distance.
There were three rules: the vehicle had to use a single elastic band to transport the vehicle the furthest; the vehicle was not allowed to have any machined parts in it that had specially been made; and the vehicle had to be constructed from recycled materials.
The students spent the semester building the vehicles in groups of between four and six members. This allowed them to understand the design process involved.
Every team had their own concept to implement. On the day of the competition they could compare their vehicles to ascertain what factors made the different vehicles perform differently. ‘Each team could learn from one other - it is critical in the design process to know what works and what doesn’t,’ said Mechanical Engineer, Professor Riaan Stopforth.
The overall winners of all the first year students, including the Access programme, were the Mechanical Engineering team, named Guardians of the Egg, whose egg was transported a grand total of 18.5 meters.
With the results they obtained, the students had to write reports and give oral presentations on their design concepts. ‘This analysis is essential for professional technical communication in the engineering environment,’ said Stopforth.
The Professional Provident Society (PPS) donated prizes that were allocated to the winners of each discipline within Engineering. ‘The School of Engineering is very grateful for these prizes to the students,’ said Stopforth.
‘Last but not least, the different tutors and co-ordinators for the groups need to be thanked for all the effort and work they put in to prepare the students in the course, and to run the competitions, which were often happening on different locations on campus at the same time,’ he said.