Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Motorsport technology leaves the grid

More and more non-motorsport companies are finding that sometimes the solution to their problems lies with the engineers responsible for racing vehicles.

In a recent case Williams Advanced Engineering found themselves consulted by an unlikely client, the supermarket giant Sainsbury’s. Supermarkets consume 5% of all the electricity generated in the UK and 3% of that energy is consumed by fridges. These fridges are very inefficient, leaking out a huge amount of chilled air into the room. Loss of cold air is an aerodynamic problem, so one which is commonly analysed in motorsport; in this case computational fluid dynamics which was the key to solving the problem. They were able to put the fridge into a virtual aerodynamic simulation which was used in the development of Formula One cars. The engineers produced an aerofoil design which, if early tests are to be believed, will save up to 20% of energy.

In another case, research conducted by Race Technology was used to support the Greater Manchester Neonatal Team in developing a system to measure the effect of fast ambulance journeys on premature and sick babies. In many cases transporting the babies to hospital is completely unavoidable, but the knowledge of the effect that the g-force, acceleration, and high speeds will be having on the babies is invaluable. The team used tools used by Race Technology such as accelerometers and GPS, combined with medical equipment allows the team to map the babies’ heart-rate and blood pressure along the journey, alongside information about the forces experienced by the child. Operations director Lorne Winborn commented that, “If any customers come to us with a specific requirement, we’re always interested in trying to turn our hand and adapt our technology to that, but in this case we didn’t really have to adapt our technology at all.”

Even within vehicle technology, racing cars can apply technology to other, slower, automobiles.  Automotive technology consultancy Ricardo faced an unusual challenge recently when they were asked to work on a new armoured vehicle known as Foxhound. The customer, the MoD, needed a vehicle with the protective capacity of their existing Mastiff vehicle, which is very large, has six-wheel drive and weighs 12-15 tonnes. This is extremely survivable, but was not practical for traversing narrow streets. The motorsport company was uniquely well practised in meeting difficult mechanical briefs in a short space of time. The project has been a great success and Foxhound is now in theatre and will keep its occupants safe in dangerous places.

All of these examples showcase the amount of mobility an engineer has, all the skills are transferable to other disciplines, lending engineers a unique ability to switch careers and move across jobs and areas of engineering with ease.

This is a summary from an article that first appeared in The EngineerYou can read the full article HERE:

Author for Weald Technology: Sophie Lane, July 2016
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For more information about Weald Technology see www.weald-tech.co.uk
Follow our world-record challenging electric motorcycle project at www.fast-charge.org
To sign up for the Fast Charge School Zone visit www.fast-charge.org/school-zone.php
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Yr9 at Holy Trinity School tackles Future Transport Challenge

We were excited to visit Holy Trinity School in Crawley last month to see what the students had produced for our Future Transport Challenge, which we introduced earlier in the month as part of a trial for this new project. We are grateful to the team at STEM Sussex (details HERE) for their support in designing and promoting this Challenge to schools across Sussex.

The challenge for the Year 9 Science class was to design an innovative and creative solution to the problems of urban congestion and poor air-quality. They were tasked with producing a poster to showcase their ideas which was to be presented to us and to their peers. We arrived in the morning, and had a chance to chat to the students about their ideas and their thoughts on engineering as they were putting the final touches on their posters. Then the students presented their ideas to us, and we were amazed by their imagination.

(C) Image Copyright Weald Technology Ltd 2016. All Rights Reserved
One group had designed a bus that could move over traffic, by straddling the lanes on both sides, freeing up bus lanes for more cars, and making public transport more effective. Another group had conceived a system to keep delivery drivers away from busy city centres, by delivering to depots just out of towns and then using energy efficient pods powered by magnetic fields to deliver within the city.

(C) Image Copyright Weald Technology Ltd 2016. All Rights Reserved
(C) Image Copyright Weald Technology Ltd 2016. All Rights Reserved
A different group had instead decided to focus on the design of car engines themselves, and had looked at how a piston travels linearly in a car engine, and replicated this concept to generate electricity – very creative!

(C) Image Copyright Weald Technology Ltd 2016. All Rights Reserved
All of the groups had worked incredibly hard, and we were very impressed by the ideas that they had come up with. The best ideas were presented with our stand at the Big Bang South East in Ardingly, read about that HERE.


Author: Sophie Lane, July 2016
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For more information about Weald Technology see www.weald-tech.co.uk
Follow our world-record challenging electric motorcycle project at www.fast-charge.org
To sign up for the Fast Charge School Zone visit www.fast-charge.org/school-zone.php
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Conductive Paint

Bare Conductive started as a group of friends trying to come up with a way to make electronics more accessible to everyday people. Through this idea they created the first non-toxic conductive paint which can be used in three ways; to power a small device, as a conductive glue, or as a sensor.

Bare Conductive now sell a range of products including the paint on its own, a touch board which can be used to create sensors, as well as kits with all the equipment needed to use the paint to make different systems. Education accounts for 50% of its sales with teachers using the materials as an exciting way for students to explore science and technology at all ability levels

Bare Conductive became a real business after they presented their ideas at the Royal College of Art to  There was a huge response from people wanting to buy the paint, as well as people wanting to invest in the project. In the end they applied for, and won the Digital Innovation Challenge, from the Technology Strategy Board, for which the prize was £100,000 of funding. The company is continuing to grow, with the products now being sold in 12 countries.

See a video about Bare Conductive HERE and take a look at their WEBSITE


Author: Sophie Lane, July 2016
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For more information about Weald Technology see www.weald-tech.co.uk
Follow our world-record challenging electric motorcycle project at www.fast-charge.org
To sign up for the Fast Charge School Zone visit www.fast-charge.org/school-zone.php
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Big Bang South East report


On the 29th June we were lucky enough to be able to take our electric motor bike along to the Big Bang Science Fair in Ardingly. The day was a huge success despite the weather, and we had a really wonderful time.



Image (C) Copyright Weald Technology Ltd 2016. All Rights Reserved
Sadly, we weren’t able to take the rolling chassis for the new bike as the chassis fabrication was delayed, but we took the old UK record-breaking machine which always attracts a lot of attention.

We got to talk to many students about the bike; one student from Harbourside UTC (Newhaven) had even brought his own electric mini-moto bike which he’d made himself and he and Phil Edwards spent a long time chatting about the design of the bike. There were many other exciting stands at the Big Bang, and it was really good to meet other engineers and other businesses who work in STEM.

Image (C) Copyright Weald Technology Ltd 2016. All Rights Reserved

Students from the Holy Trinity CE School (Crawley) and Davison High School (Worthing) were excited to see their posters from the pilot Future Transport Challenge that we had trialled with them displayed on our stand.


Students work from the Future Transport Challenge
Image (C) Copyright Weald Technology Ltd 2016. All Rights Reserved

Author: Sophie Lane, July 2016

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For more information about Weald Technology see www.weald-tech.co.uk
Follow our world-record challenging electric motorcycle project at www.fast-charge.org
To sign up for the Fast Charge School Zone visit www.fast-charge.org/school-zone.php
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