Get up to Speed with STEM

Get up to Speed with STEM is a free event, led by The Work-wise Foundation, which aims to showcase STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related careers to young people and offers the opportunity for businesses from across the country to engage with the next generation and each other. The event provides the chance for young people to see some of the UK’s most exciting STEM inventions and meet the people who design, build and operate them. The 2022 event was held on Wednesday 23 March at Magna Science Adventure Centre.

As part of our continuing educational outreach programme our team of VTST volunteers were in attendance to talk about the Vulcan and the technological achievements of the all British four-jet engine aircraft which was ahead of its time. Some original RAF training boards displaying the engineering systems of the aircraft were on show, and the flight simulator, which is always in high demand, was available for students to try landing a Vulcan.

Also on display was a Rolls Royce Olympus 202 turbojet engine to demonstrate how advanced the jet technology was in the 50s and 60s, and a bomb-bay fuel tank. Both items had once been installed in Vulcan XH558.

Naturally, exhibits of this size aren’t easily delivered to an event and some heavy lifting equipment was required to put them in place.

Did you know? The bomb-bay fuel tank weighs 800kg (about the same as a large cow or F1 race car).

The event was a perfect example of the power of Vulcan XH558 to inspire young engineers. Newfield Secondary School were set-up next to the bomb-bay fuel tank to show off their winning design for the fuel tank exhibit.

The team at Newfield School won the Operation Vulcan competition, which was created in partnership with Vulcan to the Sky Trust, The Work-wise Foundation and CBE+. The competition was for secondary schools to design an interactive exhibition to display an original bomb-bay fuel tank from Vulcan XH558.

Teams from Westfield School, Sheffield, Sheffield High School for Girls, Wales High School, Eckington School, Rossington All Saints (Delta Academies Trust), Doncaster UTC, Newfield School, Swinton Academy and Trinity Academy all entered designs and Newfield Secondary School was announced as the winner of the competition in December 2021.

The scoping design produced by the expert team.

Working with a team of experts who are partnered with The Work-wise Foundation, Newfield School students visited CBE+ in January to explore what was required to produce a model of their design, which would be constructed of custom-made 3D printed materials. The experts had pre-produced a small scale model to ensure they understood what Newfield’s student design team wanted.

The scale model of Newfield School’s winning design.

In March the students returned to build the scale model, making their design concept a reality. With guidance from the experts, the Newfield students constructed the model using the 3D printed components and working drawings that were prepared for them.

The working scale model of their design was proudly displayed at Get up to Speed along with the entries from other schools. The students from each school were on hand to talk visitors through their design ideas.

Dr Robert Pleming’s vision was that Vulcan XH558, her story and design, would inspire future generations into STEM roles. The amazing designs by the teams from all the schools that entered the Operation Vulcan competition is testimony that Vulcan XH558 can inspire and can be a catalyst for innovation.

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