The 2018 Design Challenge has seen Durham and Brunel Universities crowned as champions in their respective categories.
Run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the event saw more than 2,000 first and second-year engineering undergraduates taking part this year. Teams of up to five were tasked with designing, building, testing and presenting a mechanical device based on a predefined technical specification. This year’s final featured devices designed to climb autonomously up the inside of a pipe carrying an increasing load. Durham won the first-year category, with Brunel taking the top prize for second-year students.
“The experience was truly valuable,” said Sam Whelan, leader of the Durham University team. “We have become better engineers by learning to work to deadlines, the presentation and poster competition made us more ready for the corporate world.”
This year, the successful projects included a scissor design that moved up and down the tube in under four seconds, a design with caterpillar treads that worked on a timer to successfully stop at the correct point and also an exciting design propelled using canisters of carbon dioxide.
“We set up the Design Challenge to show students that their academic studies have real life application,” said Colin Brown, IMechE chief executive. “We want to build on their interest to study the subject and subsequently follow an engineering career. The students give us great confidence for the future of engineering in the UK.
For the universities, the competition also presents an opportunity to develop their creative and technical skills, while also providing their students with innovative challenges grounded in real-world problems.
“The Design Challenge provides an essential and stimulating professional-level engineering project through which students can benchmark themselves against not only other universities but, most importantly, the expectations of industry,” said Mark Atherton, Professor of Design Engineering at Brunel University London.