This personal statement was part of this student’s successful application to the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, UCL, University of Edinburgh and University of Bath for Mechanical Engineering.
In-depth analyses on how the Mars Helicopter is set to fly autonomously in a thin atmosphere and how the Bugatti Chiron reached 300mph mesmerise me. Applying the Physics and Maths that I love to such complex real-life challenges inspires me to become an engineer. McCarthy’s “Engineering: A Beginner’s Guide” helped me appreciate that engineering is a very diverse field and that I have the most affinity for Mechanical Engineering.
Organising the Oxbridge KTJ Engineering Workshop, I got a taste of what Mechanical Engineers do. My team and I trialled and tested the task: design a model crane to transport weights through a Microbit-controlled traffic light. With specified design constraints and limited materials, I analysed the objectives and limitations, and produced a sketch of my design. Over time we made, tested and improved our model’s design. A major difficulty was identifying the perfect balance between the inversely-related angle and length of the boom. Balancing the tension level in the boom and the overall centre of gravity gave the highest load capacity. It was stimulating developing my analytical, practical, design and communication skills.
For my EPQ on vehicle aerodynamics, I built an open-circuit subsonic wind tunnel. In doing so, I improved my research skills, undertaking a wide review of wind tunnels online before moving on to the design and building stages. Low-Speed Wind Tunnel Testing by Barlow et al, opened up the world of boundary layers, Reynolds number, laminar and turbulent flow, formation of wakes and flow separation above critical Angles of Attack (AOA) to me; using these in my own wind tunnel was immensely satisfying, as was building it with own hands using saws, drills, chisels and hammers. Using AutoCAD to create blueprints for my designs of the force balance enabled my imagination to bloom. The force balance was crucial for the testing of the Lift to Drag Ratio with respect to AOA of a 3D-printed Airbus A320neo model. I recorded the raw data using a datalogger and load cells. I sharpened my data analysis skills as I interpreted the readings and performed further calculations. Completing my EPQ has further sparked my thirst for knowledge of the game-changing advancements in the efficiency, safety and speed of aircraft. I hope to further explore and master advanced fluid dynamics at university.
Munroe’s Thing Explainer allowed me to appreciate engineering’s significance to humankind. It gave me a stronger grasp of the fundamental working principles behind mechanisms such as elevators, jet engines and the ISS. It also inspired me to think about engineered products around me like padlocks and cameras. The discovery and synthesis of new materials in the future will be key to technological advancements and J.E. Gordon’s ‘The New Science of Strong Materials’ underpinned my appreciation of this.
In my internship with the University of Malaya’s Faculty of Engineering, I visited the Advanced Cutting Process Lab. Independent research on computer-controlled machinery led me to discover more about CNC machines and 3D printing. I learnt that both methods are efficient for rapid prototyping in different ways, depending on the material and the geometric complexity of the parts. In a fortnight at the Renewable Energy and Green Tech Lab, I worked in 4 project groups and these opened my eyes to the creative integration of technologies under the principles of green engineering.
In my Shell work placement, I gained valuable insights into how the energy industry, specifically petroleum, works from the wells to the wheels. I understand that the ability to work in multidisciplinary teams is vital in engineering; attending the Pipelines Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) Workshop, I learnt from Front End, Project, and Material Corrosion and Inspection Engineers.
I am keen to study Mechanical Engineering and eager to make an impact, particularly in the disciplines of fluid mechanics, materials and renewable energy.
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