Arijey Sura is currently a first year undergraduate reading MEng Mechanical Engineering at University College London. This personal statement was part of his successful application to UCL, University of Manchester and University of Bristol for Mechanical Engineering.
Speed. My love affair with engineering began with speed; the cutting edge technology of Formula 1 racing. The Kinetic Energy Recovering System, hitched my heart immediately. Kinetic energy recovered during braking is stored as electrical energy, then used to boost torque between the fly and drive wheels. Such sophistication ignited my curiosity to explore this field of mechanics leading me to spearhead the Robotics Initiative of my school. We designed and programmed robots with ultrasonic and light sensors, integrating data received to perform various tasks. By equipping solar panels to the motors, our robots raised the Malaysian flag when the Sun was up. Despite complications due to energy-load proportions, we achieved success by manipulating gear ratios, increasing total force.
Engineering however, isn’t limited to moving particles. Its versatility complements my profound yet diverse passions. The Physics A-Level course supplemented my interests. As a pianist I was curious as to how 88 piano keys produced various pitches. Deriving the standing wave equation relating tension and frequency, explained this. I investigated the piano further, noticing the thickness differential in the wire wound strings. The different materials used fascinated me; lower pitch wires were coated with copper to increase mass yet maintain string stiffness. Appreciating this detail, the length-mass-tension ratio, in producing seemingly asynchronous waves that formed perfect melody, made music more colourful. I admire the application of Maths and Physics in this manner and my achievement in the National Science Challenge, that tested proficiency of both fields, reflects this.
Studying Economics provided a new viewpoint of the engineering world as I learnt the cost benefit analysis that tests the practicality of projects. My internship with United Engineers of Malaysia (UEM) reinforced this as I engaged in discussions to migrate the mechanical systems of UEM towards green engineering. Ideas of equipping thermocouples to condenser units of air conditioners; using unwanted heat as an energy source, intrigued me. However its feasibility was questioned, when implementation costs outweighed benefits. I learnt of the financial truth behind engineering and how economics links a concept to its reality.
Engineering inspires. The philosophy of the small but powerful carbon nanotubes (CNTs) captivates me. Superficially, it’s just another allotrope, graphene; mere pencil lead, but under the lenses of engineering, endless possibilities unveil. Humble upbringings made me relate to this simple pencil. Yet, with positive pressure and support I received, as do CNTs through orbital hybridisation, I displayed strength. 2 years ago, a football injury left me on crutches. My inability to walk led me to empathise with amputees who suffer worse. I realised my passion of prosthetics through this and researched its future prospects. I read up on CNTs, an immensely light body with greater tensile strength than steel. Its ability to contract rapidly when connected to a significant voltage meant, CNTs could potentially be more efficient than organic muscles. The works of Easton LaChappelle inspired me. At 17, he started Unlimited Tomorrow, producing affordable prosthetics using 3D printers. Till now my passion remains. I aspire to further integrate CNTs in prosthetic development to reduce its cost and reading engineering would support this.
The two greatest days of a man’s life is the day he’s born, and the day he finds out why. Job shadowing an engineer highlighted the latter. Designing actuator valves in refrigerant flow cycles to increase its efficiency, prompted me of what I already knew – that second great day was when I realised, relating to a pencil was alright. My past brought rationality and flexibility to detect mistakes, quickly sketching new ideas. A trait valued in every field, especially engineering. That second great day, ignited my passion in engineering.
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