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School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering

Wind turbine design challenge

A wind turbine made purely out of pasta and aluminium was built by students from the School, all in the name of competition.

The City Wind Turbine Design Challenge, sponsored by the development consultancy Mott MacDonald and hosted for a week in November, offered groups of first-year students the chance to create a device capable of lifting one litre of water 70cm high, all done in 12 miles per hour of strong wind.

Each team was responsible for creating either the base and tower component, the turbine rotor blades or the electronic transmission system used to power the device.

With an overall prize of £120 on offer, plus smaller prizes of £40 for the best component in each category, all the tasks gave students the opportunity to get a feel of how real engineering projects are delivered.

"The challenge taught me the fundamentals of working as an engineer," said Priya Talwar, now a second year mechanical engineering student. "I was responsible for designing and manufacturing the tower for the turbine, but I also worked on the blades of the turbine too."

Team work, good time management and communication skills were all needed to ensure the project was a success, and Talwar believes that the week-long event fuelled her passion for engineering.

"I have a more positive approach to group projects and would like to take part in future as much as I can. City, University of London is a great place for me to study engineering, since it has all the facilities, great engineering labs and also a great reputation," said Talwar.

The event was created to expose students at a very early stage to the technical challenges, creativity and team work involved in engineering.

Talwar said: "To me energy is a great concern and I definitely have interest in sustainable energy. This project did reinforce my understanding and gave me an insight into the responsibilities engineers must have towards the environment."

Dr Keith Pullen, creator and reader in energy systems, said: "The wind design challenge was designed to give first year students the experience to put their engineering science studies in perspective.

"Complementary aims of the project were to build on the relationships between fellow students, their personal tutors and technician staff, at the same time as using the key research facilities such as the industrial wind tunnel and workshops at an early point in their studies."

With similar projects scheduled to run, it appears the overall winners Farhan Ahmed, Eleuterio Benguela, Ed Burden, Benedict Delmaestro, Andrey Grinevich and Jonathan Hannaford could have stiff competition in future.

Written by Stefan Marseglia, final year BA (Hons) Journalism with Sociology student, City, University of London. Watch Dr Keith Pullen being interviewed by Stefan about the Wind Turbine Design Challenge.

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