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ACCIS CDT design, build and test project video

26 September 2017

This new video from the ACCIS CDT presents the work of the first year cohort as they undertake their ‘DBT’ project.

An important element of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Composites for Innovation and Science (ACCIS CDT) taught component is the Design, Build, and Test (DBT) group project. This year the students were challenged to produce a carbon fibre landing gear beam suitable for a smaller passenger airliner. The cohort was split into three teams comprising students with both engineering and chemistry backgrounds to provide a balance of skills, and named after figures from Greek mythology which also lend their names to aircraft - Athena, Hercules, and Vulcan.

The students started by sizing the beam within a series of size and performance constraints before refining the design with the aim of reducing both weight and cost. During the refinement stage careful consideration had to be given to the process used to manufacture the part, with each team opting for drastically different designs. Then when the beams were ready for testing the students devised and executed methods for measuring the performance of the beams, ultimately leading to their dramatic destruction!

With the help of Logan Wang (2014 cohort) the teams’ different design concepts and thoughts were captured along the way and collated into a short video.

The project provides an experience of practically using the theory, which is taught in parallel, in the development of a product from start to finish. As such it is not just the theoretical skills that are advanced; the manufacturing and testing of the beams requires practical hands on skills and shows the consequences of decisions made in the design. Additionally, other academic units ran in parallel requiring the students to manage their time between running a large project and keeping up with other deadlines.

Kilian Grübler, of Team Athena, said: “I think the DBT project is fun and a good opportunity for self-realisation. Besides some key requirements, you have a huge space to design and manufacture a structure for a real-world application. You have almost no limit to the scope of directions your design can take and you can really push yourself to the limit.”

Steve Grey, of Team Hercules, said: “I have really enjoyed the practical element to the project. During my undergraduate degree I learnt a lot of theory about design; however, getting my hands dirty and actually making something added an appreciation for how important it is to ensure the parts I design are manufacturable. I am sure that the skills I picked up will prove valuable to me during my PhD and beyond.”

Konstantina Kanari, of Team Vulcan, said: “Coming from a chemistry background, I was initially daunted by the project. However, it ended up being the best way to understand all the theory. You end up pushing yourself a bit harder because you can see the results of the decisions you made with your team, and of course you want to win in the end! Furthermore, you learn how to overcome the problems that arise, and to how to work as a team, where every member is equal.”

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