Engineer Matthew wins prestigious UK award

Matthew Ardern with engineering award

Engineer Matthew Ardern will represent the UK in the world’s largest pre-university science competition in May.

Sixth form pupil Matthew will travel to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as one of two winners of the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers (WCSIM) young engineers award.

The National Physical Laboratory are mentoring Matthew ahead of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), where he will compete with 1,700 others for more than $5m in prizes.

Matthew’s project

Matthew devised his project while on work experience with Astrium after he saw how dust can clog up cooling fan filters on equipment like server racks.

According to the WCSIM website, his project involves a reversing air filter that uses two fans which change direction when the fan filters become clogged. A pressure switch flips the direction of the airflow, cleaning both filters – avoiding the need for manual cleaning or replacement of the filters.

Developing entrepreneurs

Senior warden of the WCSIM Christopher Sawyer told the organisation’s website:

We are delighted to sponsor Matthew and (runner-up) David to attend ISEF and we wish them every success. This prestigious event attracts entries from all over the world, and winners in the various categories are rewarded by top prizes and recognition.

All this helps, of course, with future job prospects and develops our entrepreneurs of the future.

Matthew has also been invited to become a WCSIM apprentice, meaning he’ll receive mentoring and financial support from the organisation throughout university.

Big Bang fair

Matthew presented his idea at the Big Bang young scientists and engineers fair as one of just 10 pupils from 2,000 applicants to appear in the WCSIM final.

Fellow sixth form pupil Richard Almond also appeared in the final with his solution for building lighter components for aircraft construction.

Richard explained his test rig – which measures and differentiates between composite sheets formed from varying laminar materials – to the dozens of visitors to his stand, including the Duke of York.

Both Matthew and Richard have worked on their projects since September, developing their ideas to form final working versions of their concepts.

Engineering Education Scheme team

Also at the Big Bang fair were our Engineering Education Scheme team Jessica Black, Animit Kulkarni, Nikesh Patel and Will Jones, who won the north-west Young Engineers award for engineering excellence in the summer.

Engineering pupils

The team designed a novel solution to joining aircraft ducting together using a simple vacuum to maintain the integrity of duct joints.

Engineering pupils talking to judges

They received praise from the link engineering company who set the problem – Senior Aerospace BWT – who are investigating how this solution might be engineered for inclusion in future designs.

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