Engineering students build bridges

University of Wolverhampton engineering students have been building bridges at the Telford Innovation Campus.

The first year Mechanical Engineering students have built three types of bridges to full scale after completing their scale models for their Design and Make module recently.

Martin Eason, Senior Lecturer in Engineering at the University, said: “Students are currently involved in designing and making scale model bridges as part of their course but I felt we could step this up to building bridges nearer full scale and particularly related to emergency bridges for disaster relief given recent problems in Africa.

“As part of the build process we discussed the academic engineering aspects as well as team working but also talked about how such structures could be useful in emergency as well as normal situations, in order to contextualise their learning.”

Different engineering functions often work in tandem and mechanical engineers in the context of transportation would often be involved in the analysis of structures alongside civil engineers who are traditionally linked to building bridges, tunnels, road, rail and other structures. The range of career options open to Mechanical Engineers is wide ranging and they can be found in commercial as well as industrial contexts. 

The students built three types of bridges on the campus - a rapid build “A” frame wooden structure capable of carrying foot traffic and light vehicles, a rope bridge with intermediate supports for wide river crossings for foot traffic and a suspended cableway where no intermediate support could be used, using a running pulley which can be used to transport goods and people.

One instant outcome from the day was a link up with staff working in the Emergency Management & Resilience Centre at Telford and the possibility of future joint events.

Andrew Nicholls, a student on the course, said: “Converting our computer-based designs to scale models allowed us to work in teams to investigate how our structures could work in practice.

“Upscaling these ideas gave us the chance to gain practical experience and problem-solving strategies to better understand how our studies relate to real case situations. Whilst there were fun elements it also brought home how critical communication and transport are in communities affected by emergency situations.”

Anyone interested in studying Mechanical Engineering should register for the next Open Day on Saturday 15th June 2019.

     

ENDS

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