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A team's journey to the national Big Bang 2020

Our Journey to the Big Bang 2020

Our Journey started in October 2018 when we were chosen to participate in the Engineering education scheme. GE set us the challenge to come up with a method or to make a machine that would allow them to better measure the fillet radius on their steam turbine blades.

When steam flows through turbines it carries out a rotating motion which leads to the formation of vortex structures, these structures contribute to a series of aerodynamic losses. We were given this task due to the current lack of an accurate method for working out the fillet radius. Current methods are subjective to the engineer measuring the fillet radius and they carry a high percentage uncertainty. What engineers do at the moment is they get a series of circular objects and try fitting them to the fillet radius and they use this to approximate the size of the fillet radius.

We created a machine that converts light reflections from a laser to an LDR into a graph that shows how light intensity varies with distance travelled by the laser across the fillet radii.

On Thursday 2nd May we attended the celebration day, in Solihull, where we had to present our project to a panel of judges and also the other schools from our region who had taken part in the EES. We were all quite nervous for our presentations as we hadn’t practised delivering our speeches without notes, but once we were in the presentation room we all managed to keep our cool and we smashed our speeches. I think I can speak for all of us in saying that we thoroughly enjoyed being at the presentation day and seeing the other projects that our peers had been working on. It was definitely gratifying to see other students showing and interest in our projects and coming over to take a closer look.

We then decided to take our project to the regional heats of the Big Bang competition in July last year where we had to again present our project to two judges but in a less intense environment and we didn’t have to prepare a speech per say we just had to talk to the judges about our project. We were surprised to find that we won a prize for the Best Overall Project at the competition. We will be progressing to the National heats of the competition in March this year, and we look forward to being able to present our project again.


Samantha Katanda Year 13