Ross Jackson and Richard Smith – MEng Mechanical Engineering students at Oxford Brookes University

I’m Richard Smith and I came from Brooklands College and now I’m doing an MEng in Mechanical Engineering. Hi, I’m Ross, and I’m doing the same course we both came up from the same college and both do Mechanical Engineering. So Brooklands College, they basically are very closely connected with Brookes, they actually run a Foundation degree which then students can feed in and do one more year to finish their Bachelors at Oxford Brookes Brookes then supply them with things like old Formula Student cars and old race cars that we can then work on at Brooklands College so it really helps to bring some of the young students up to speed and ready to come to Brookes and do their degree. The Brooklands course is really good especially for motorsport as well, Richard and myself were mechanical, however there’s still a lot of very valuable stuff there that really helped us out, a very good college. Studying at Brooklands helped us, we can learn a lot of things in terms of practicality and it really set us up for a couple of modules for example, engines, modules like that I found really really helped especially some of the practical stuff in first year as well was really a benefit. Yeah, I agree there, in the first year we did a module where we did some machining and then we also did some work in the auto lab working on setting up race cars, and because of what we’d done before it was very easy for us, we were able to help a lot of the other students out with what we were doing and then in the classroom where we were maybe slightly less equipped, then everyone returned the favour, so it was really good and it helped almost bring people together. The practical experience that we got in first year, there’s a fantastic machine shop and then also some of the more practical modules so in first year and second year thermodynamics, we do some work in the engines lab, and then in materials we actually do some material testing, where tensile testing materials to failure which is very interesting to actually understand and learn about. I agree, Brookes as well has a lot of good facilities here. I’m doing a dissertation on an aero project as is Rich as well, and the wind tunnel here it’s very good facilities, helps us learn a lot of stuff. So one of the things that we do with the wind tunnel is we have a rapid prototype machine here at Brookes that we can actually 3D print out a profile that we’ve drawn in CAD and then we’re actually able to
mount this in the wind tunnel using the load cells in there, and then we can measure the aerodynamic drag, downforce and things like that, whatever we’re interested in, in the wind tunnel. So that’s actually part of my project, understanding how various geometry changes on a model will actually affect the aerodynamics and testing that in the wind tunnel and validating my computer-generated model that I’ve tested already, with the experimental results. I went into my placement as a as a design engineer and I was then put in charge of running the cooling system design for one of the new cars, the McLaren P1 and basically from there I was just doing as many different things as possible whilst I was there. I also got to go out and do a bit of testing in Spain all sorts really, and just trying to get into as many different things as possible. My placement at Cummins, it helped me learn a lot of things about diesel engines and manufacture; also a lot of problems. I visited a few customers, and sort of failure analysis and materials especially that I learnt here was really a big advantage. Hopefully when I graduate, I mean with the degree it’s a very broad range of options for myself. I’m looking at possibly going to engineering consulting so that might include working on new building projects, working out structural integrity, or possibly automotive industry as well got a big hobby in cars, so going into one of those sectors is something I’d be quite interested in doing. After my placement at McLaren Automotive, I’d be planning to go back there again. They’ve already expressed an interest in taking me back for some time and from there, see where it takes me.

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