Finding and developing future civil engineers is part of the Andun philosophy.
For the third year in a row Engineers from Andun have been working with local primary schools on a week long special project to coincide with science week. The aim of the projects were;
1. Raise the profile of civil engineering
2. Encourage students to consider a career in civil engineering
3. Learn about civil engineering in a fun and challenging environment.
The week started with a presentation on civil engineering as a whole, showing how the children how civil engineers are making a difference to their lives without even realising it.
Civil Engineering With Pasta
We then moved onto testing the structural materials (pasta) in custom made test rigs In groups of 4 children.
The test rigs allowed the future civil engineers to test the axial capacity of pasta sections, and understand the concept of effective length. This concept was then applied to the design of the towers.
Strangely own brand pasta appears to be stronger than the more expensive brands.
The students then worked in teams to design the pasta towers. The brief being to build a tower 300mm high. The winner determined by the ratio between the load carried, and the weight of the tower, I.e. Strength to weight ratio.
Some teams choose to build a light weight tower, while others go with a heavy robust structure. The teams all show originality and creativity in the design, with all sorts of shapes and ideas on display.
The towers are named after ( and sometimes stylised) famous engineering landmarks, such as the Shard, or the Cheesegrater.
The students also produce a written piece of work on an engineering project of there choice. This year projects such as cross rail, HS2, Thames tideway, HS1, GWML, were chosen. This all aids in the students understanding of the civil engineering profession.
The week culminates with the final testing. The students vote on the tower they believe to be the winner, before testing commences.
The towers have weights of up to 15kg stacked upon them before failure, leading to a lot of crashes and bangs which the children thoroughly enjoy. This year the maximum strength to weight ratio was 24:1, which was far short of last years 42:1.
Future Civil Engineers?
The children thoroughly enjoyed the engineering week, and many more of them are now actively considering careers in the civil engineering industry. We are ready planning and looking forward to next year.