Daniel Martinez (ESR12) and Loreto Manriquez (TRUSS PM) participated in an outreach activity hosted by UCD Civil Engineering School at 10.30 am on the 27th July 2017. The activity is part of a series of interactive workshops within the UCD High School Summer Program, that was managed by the postdoc researcher Abdollah Malekjafarian, who has collaborated in many of Daniel’s papers. It also counted with the collaboration of Charlie O’Donohue (UCD Summer High School Programme) and the following UCD postgraduate researchers: Peter McDonnell, Hamid Gharibi, Ehsan Moradabadi and Laura Egan-O’Brien. The Summer school lasts for 15 days, and it consists of an Irish studies course and a variety of field trips and social activities, with the next key features:
- For students entering 11th or 12th grade who are 16 or 17 years old
- Pre-college Program for academic and cultural enrichment
- Irish History and Culture course presented by UCD faculty
- Faculty-led immersion days in Business, Science, Engineering and Architecture
- Small course size – maximum enrolment is 50 students
- Certificate presented to students on completion of the program
- On-campus accommodation in your own room
- A variety of field trips, interactive workshops and social activities
- Students must be aged 16 or 17 at the time of the program
Further details about the programme can be found via the link below.
In relation to the interactive engineering practical workshop organised by the Civil Engineering School, it was titled “structural engineering challenge” and it attracted 22 students from USA. The participants were divided into 5 teams of 4 or 5 members each. The objective of each team was to design and construct an efficient scaled beam structure, from a limited supply of materials, to carry the highest load possible over a given span. The best structure had to make ingenious use of balsa wood to carry compressive loads and string to carry tensile loads. These concepts were first explained by Abdollah prior to the design and construction phases, and reinforced by the demonstrators while helping the teams. Once the structures were built, they were then loaded until collapse. The winning structure was the one achieving the highest ratio of mass carried to the mass of the structure itself (self-weight). Some constraints:
- The clear span, 500 mm approx., was longer than any of the material elements provided.
- The only materials available were 9 lengths of balsa wood, each 200 mm long, short lengths of sring and pins to make connections.
- A hook was used to attach loads to the structure during test. A valid load was recorded as logn as the structure did not break or collapse into the space between the supports. A short flat section on the top of bottom of the structure had to be allowed during construction for attaching the hook.
During the two and a half hours of duration of the activity, Daniel played a demonstration role. He used the expertise gained with his TRUSS research on bridges, to advise students about those structural forms best suited to bring the load from their point of application to the supports, and to help them optimizing the amount of material used in the structure to carry out this task with minimum cost. The video at the bottom of this post shows some of the action on the day.