Two teams from our Sixth Form have this week taken part in a residential for the Engineering Education Scheme (EES). This year the residential was hosted by Teesside University in Middlesbrough.
The EES links teams of four Year 12 students and their teacher with local companies, to work on real scientific, engineering and technological problems.
The annual Engineering Education Scheme was launched last term, and our Sixth Form students have been having weekly meetings with their mentors, having been set their tasks for the scheme.
We have two teams of students who are working with mentors from LLWR and Sellafield.
The residential took place over two days, with the first day consisting of introductions, safety briefings and setting up of the laboratories. Then there was a formal dinner in the evening, hosted by the University which all the teams attended. The second day was then spent in the lab, with the teams working on their own specific projects.
Our LLWR team has a project entitled ‘Investigating potential toxic waste cap designs.’
The students took the opportunity to investigate how different thicknesses of clay would alter water transfer through soil.
They also built a cross-sectional model of their potential toxic waste cap design and used a shear box test machine to determine the shear strength of their various soil layers focussing mainly on the clay layer.
The team working with Sellafield’s project is entitled ‘Improving packing efficiency of waste graphite.’
The students undertook various tests and then used a soil compactor to compress graphite samples. They used a vibration plate to agitate the graphite and then built a model rig to compress graphite samples. This helped them determine how different methods affected the sizes of pieces of graphite produced.
Perhaps the most exciting part was being able to use a mass spectrometer to determine the chemical composition of their graphite sample before viewing their sample under a scanning electron microscope.
The students will now continue to work on their projects before submitting the reports for the 23rd March. Then on the 17th April the students will return to Middlesbrough for the Celebration of Achievement Day (CAD) where they will present their stand to many engineers, fellow students and teachers, before giving a presentation. The winner for the region will be announced on that day.
Mr James, Science Teacher at St Benedict’s, accompanied the teams. He commented:
“Both teams gathered valuable data towards their projects and thoroughly enjoyed their time away. They had the opportunity to converse with University technicians and some of the Doctors and Professors at the University also chatted at length with the students about their projects, some of whom were very interested and spent a lot of time helping and talking to the students. Their behaviour was fantastic and a credit to the school.”