Formula Student is go go go!

Formula student team University of Bristol

The world’s largest student engineering design competition is back. We spoke to Engineering student Harry White about the Formula Student project and being a part of the Bristol Electric Racing team

The team showing off the car at last’s year University Open Day

Formula Student is a long-running international competition where the best engineering students across the world design, manufacture and race open-wheeled single seater formula styled vehicles. The vehicles produced by some of the top teams are truly astounding feats of engineering, with some cars able to accelerate from 0-60 MPH in under 1.5 seconds! The big finale is the head-to-head race at Silverstone, where the teams battle it out to find the overall winner.

Chief Engineer, Harry White, explains the uniqueness of this project: “This competition is one of the best opportunities available to university students to experience a complex, real-life engineering problem that requires analytical thinking, design and team work.”

“It allows students to develop important skills that may be less focused on in a classical engineering degree, such as business, marketing and cost analysis.” He continues “We’ll be working hard towards developing our business and marketing case, with the goal of ranking amongst the top teams next year.”

The team’s workspace, in the shadow of a helicopter!

This year’s team are currently building their first car to compete at the 2019 competition. Harry updates us on their progress: “We have most of a rolling chassis, with only a few modifications still required to produce a product that fundamentally works. The next steps this year will be to develop the powertrain, which is no small task, and to continue developing the rolling chassis until the car can drive under its own power. From there the next task will be an extensive testing and commissioning stage. There’s a significant difference between a car that can move and a car that can race.”

One of the great benefits of the project is for the students to work equally as part of team, with all members having the opportunity to contribute significantly to the design. As Harry points out: “There’s a lot of design involved with creating a car from scratch, and this means that younger members of the team can contribute in a way that would be almost impossible in more established teams.”

Importantly, there’s the social aspect of the project: “Working as part of a dedicated team, all focused on achieving the same goal, leads to a tight-knit group of friends, between different years and courses; a social dynamic that is difficult to find elsewhere.”

As Harry sums up: “Formula student is an amazing opportunity that gives real engineering experience and is as rewarding as it is demanding; at Bristol Electric Racing there is the opportunity for anyone who is motivated enough to do great things.”

You can follow the team’s progress on Facebook. 

Technical Apprenticeships in Engineering

Our Technical Services team underpins all of the work that goes on in Engineering. They are the experts who run the labs,  make the components and work the cutting edge technology we use every day.

Every year we recruit and train new technical apprentices to support the team. Mictroy talks about his experience:

Find out more about Technical Apprenticeships at Bristol: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/staffdevelopment/professional-services/technical-staff/technical-apprenticeships/

360° tours of Engineering

We can’t always show people all of our cutting edge labs and facilities when they come to visit the Faculty of Engineering.

It’s impractical to take hundreds of people up on the roof to see our satellite antenna and our Robotics Lab is on another campus up in Filton. With this in mind we’ve made some 360° videos so that you can see the spaces from the comfort of your own computer.

New wing, new opportunities

The Faculty of Engineering has invested £19 million+ in a new wing and refurbishment of the Queen’s Building. Building work started in June 2016 and the space opened for teaching September 2017. Since the opening the space has been used extensively to support hands-on teaching, learning and research. It’s also been used to support our outreach and industrial engagement.

The new and improved facilities include:

The Bill Brown Design Suite (flexible 500sq m divisible flat-bed teaching space)
A student focused atrium
New 500 sqm general Engineering Teaching Lab Space,
Lab write up space
New Propulsion Laboratory
The Sonardyne Electrical and Electronic Teaching Laboratory
10 group and study rooms (6 to 25 capacity), Post Graduate office space, New Café and associated study space,
A new entrance and reception desk to help welcome visitors
New technician’s office
2 small meeting rooms
1 project laboratory
1 Thermodynamics research Lab,
1 refurbished UNDT research Lab and associated office space (including state of the art Faraday cage and laser suite)

Watch the new wing being built and see the final building: