UKZN Solar Car Stars Power through Master’s Degrees at CERN
Mechanical Engineering students Mr Peter Sinclair and Mr Shuvay Singh powered through their MSc degrees in Mechanical Engineering, graduating with distinction after only a year!
Singh graduated summa cum laude and Sinclair cum laude.
Both completed their master’s research working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) situated at CERN in Switzerland. CERN is the European Organisation for Nuclear Research that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. The LHC is the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider, the largest, most complex experimental facility ever built, and the largest single machine in the world.
The duo had previously worked together on UKZN’s Solar Car project, iKlwa, which was the first South African entry home in the 2014 SA Solar Car Challenge and which successfully competed in the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia as the revamped Hulamin – the first time a South African team has entered this prestigious race.
For their master’s research, Sinclair and Singh worked on designing components to install an upgraded version of the New Small Wheel (NSW), a large muon detector on the ATLAS experiment at CERN (ATLAS is one of seven particle detector experiments being undertaken).
The principle difficulties lay in designing this process and its required components around very tight spaces available underground and the very small mechanical and thermal tolerances required by such sensitive equipment.
Sinclair, who was supervised by Dr Clint Bemont, Dr Sahal Yacoob and Ms Kirsty Veale, was principally responsible for designing the assembly process, system and components for assembling the “wedge” sectors, as well as certain components that form part of the sectors. Singh, who was supervised by Bemont and Yacoob, was responsible for similar aspects relating to the assembly of the complete NSW.
Bemont was full of praise for both students and their excellent achievements: ‘I am very proud of my two ATLAS postgrads, who were lauded by our colleagues at CERN in Switzerland, and made a significant engineering contribution towards our understanding of the universe and experimental validation of the Standard Model in physics, the closest mankind has got to a “Theory of Everything”,’ he said.
‘You might wonder how they achieved this in one year, while also being core members of UKZN’s 2015 World Solar Challenge team!’