This summer, Kutwing Loo from Radyr Comprehensive School in Cardiff worked for five weeks at the School of Engineering, Swansea University on Project BLOODHOUND. The project hopes to develop a supersonic car which will reach 1000mph, break the sound barrier, and set a new land speed record.
As well as hoping to become an iconic engineering achievement, the project, led by Richard Noble, is also aiming to encourage more young people to study science, technology, engineering and maths at university level. Kutwing was supervised by Dr Ben Evans and Dr Clare Wood at Swansea.
We asked Kutwing a few questions about his placement.
Q: What were the aims of your project and how did you go about achieving these?
A: The team based at Swansea uses Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to simulate the aerodynamic behaviour of the car. The aim of my placement was to help the research team to create an optimal shape for the rear end of the car. During my placement, many different configurations of the car were proposed by the design team, and CFD helped to recognise the most successful design features. I also learnt about fundamental aerodynamics and how it is used in the development of a supersonic vehicle.
Q: How did you get involved with the Nuffield Research Placements Programme?
A: I got involved after talking to a friend who had taken part the previous year.
Q: What have you learnt most from your placement experience?
A: I learnt how computational modelling can be applied to real world situations where wind tunnels wouldn't be suitable. I saw how different engineering disciplines have to work together to come up with a final solution to a problem. I also found that going along to project meetings allowed me to see first hand the knowledge and commitment required for a project on this scale to succeed.
Q: What are you doing now, and what are your longer term plans?
A: I am currently applying for aerospace engineering at university. Long term, I am hoping to become a design engineer for a formula 1 team!
Q: Did your placement experience affect these plans?
A: Having always been interested in the physical sciences, it was clear that I wished to follow engineering as a career. I was unsure about which specific discipline I wished to study, however, after spending time working on an incredible project, it was clear that aerospace engineering was the course that I wished to pursue.
Following Kutwing’s work with Project BLOODHOUND, the design phase is now complete, and test runs will begin in 2011/2012.